Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, hosted the start of the 2018-2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour on 24 November (see report here). The European Cup event held at the O’Bloc Climbing Centre took place a little over six kilometres from the UIAA headquarters and marked the onset of the largest World Tour to date. Three World Championships, six World Cups and four European Cups make up the season. Competitions will take place on three continents and in ten countries. As of the 2018-2019 season, the World Tour is partnered by Outdoor Research.
“The new season offers a rich panorama of events,” explains Thomas Kähr, UIAA Executive Board Member and Head of Competition Sports. “Its geographical reach ensures the World Tour is increasingly global; the European Cup and World Youth Championships offer the next generation of ice climbers further opportunities to develop; a Combined World Championships will provide a competitive showcase for the strongest all round ice climbers; while the World Tour itself continues to evolve with well organised events, strong partnerships and an increasing number of athletes from different countries.”
While the main events are largely confined to the first quarter of 2019, there is still some significant action scheduled for the remaining weeks of 2018. Following on from the season opener in Bern, European Cup events will take place in Slovenia and Slovakia. From 14-16 December, one of the most intriguing facets of the new season will come to life – the Combined World Championships in Moscow represents innovation with the duel format of lead and speed competition rewarding athletes who excel in both disciplines. The event takes place within the Luzhniki Stadium complex, home to the opening and closing matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Moscow is one of three major cities to host competitions. The six-event World Cup Series will conclude with a first ever event in Denver, Colorado. The urban nature of these two events, as well as a World Cup in Beijing (China) will open up the sport to a much wider and more varied audience. Before embarking on the United States leg, athletes will take on diverse range of venues including established World Cup stops like Cheongsong (South Korea), Saas-Fee (Switzerland), Rabenstein (Italy) and Champagny-en-Vanoise (France). The defending World Tour champions are: Maxim Tomilov (RUS, men’s lead), Woonseon Shin (KOR, women’s lead), Nikolai Kuzovlev (RUS, men’s speed) and Ekaterina Koshcheeva (RUS, women’s speed).
Full Calendar: 2018-2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour
The season closes with the biennial World Championships. The renowned ice tower of Kirov, Russia will provide the setting for the most prestigious competition in the calendar. Defending their titles from Champagny two years ago are: HeeYong Park (KOR, men’s lead), Woonseon Shin (KOR, women’s lead), Vladimir Kartashev (RUS, men’s speed) and Maria Tolokonina (RUS, women’s speed).
A week before the Kirov showcase, Oulu in Finland will dually host the UIAA Ice Climbing World Youth Championships and the closing leg of the four-event European Tour.
“The UIAA is committed to making the 2018-2019 World Tour a huge success, building on the progress made last season,” explains UIAA Sports Events Coordinator Rob Adie. “Our approach is athletic-centric, ensuring events are consistent and place the athlete’s experience and interests first. Through our youth initiatives, international calendars and livestream, we are ensuring more and more people can get involved with ice climbing, whether competitively or recreationally.”
How to Follow the Action
As per the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the UIAA will provide livestream coverage from the semi-finals and finals of all World Cup and World Championships. Production coverage and distribution will be managed by QTV. Commentary will come from Liam Lonsdale. The livestream as well as features, highlights and medal climbs will be available on the UIAA Facebook and YouTube Channels as well as on partner channels including EXTREME, EPIC TV and The Olympic Channel.
Where to get event Information
The UIAA has created dedicated event pages for each competition. Please find the links below:
Please note final event schedules will be posted shortly.
Athletes are advised to download the latest Athlete’s Handbook for full logistical information including details on visas and event registration.
To find an ice climbing festival or event located near you check out the UIAA’s international calendar.
For a full record of competition results from 2002 please click here.
Media are invited to access a selection of hi-res photos for editorial use from the UIAA Flickr Channel.
The UIAA will provide previews and reviews of all World Cup and World Championship events. To subscribe to our ice climbing mailing list click here.
The UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour has been organised by the UIAA since 2002. To discover more about the UIAA click here.