The 2013 Ice World Cup season kicked off in South Korea without any representative from Team GB, but thanks to some help from the BMC and commitment from some keen climbers the rest of the series had at least 2 members of the team battling it out on a variety of structures.
Round 2 – Saas Fee (Switzerland), usually the busiest competition and one that I had been to before (2008) saw the competition debut for Simon Chevis, Scot Grosdanoff fresh from the Junior competition the previous weekend and the return of Stevie Johnstone after his strong season winning the Scottish Tooling Series.
The World Cup events are dominated by Russian competitors in both difficulty and speed and this round was no exception in the lead event with Maxim Tomilov and Maria Tolokonina taking the victories. The speed was a different matter with Dennis Van Hoek (NED) taking a surprise win for the men. From the British contingent the top finisher was Andy Turner in 37th, Simon Chevis in 56th, Stevie and Scott both in 60th.
UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour 2013 | Saas Fee Official from UIAA - Mountaineering & Climbing on Vimeo.
Round 3 – Rabenstein (Italy), this structure has a lot more ice than most of the others so I was looking forward to the prospect thinking that it would utilise some of my more traditional skills…..you can always hope! This time, Si and I were the only team GB competitors and despite the bronchitis I’d managed to pick up in Switzerland we were there to give it a go and learn more about the process.
This round also saw the retirement of Markus Bendler from competition climbing – a total legend of the sport and a shame to see him bow out. Once again the winner was Maxim Tomilov for the men and the women’s competiton saw a win from Italian climber Angelika Rainer. Back to form in the Speed competitions – Russian domination. Placing for the brits Andy Turner 47th and Si Chevis 54th
UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour 2013 | Rabenstein Official from UIAA - Mountaineering & Climbing on Vimeo.
Round 4 – Busteni (Romania) – still suffering the germs, zero training but learning from every event, the GB team swelled back up to 3 with Stevie coming along for this round. A slightly smaller field than the previous 2 rounds saw me make it to within a whisker of qualification for the semi-finals and improved performances from both Si and Stevie. Winners were Heeyong Park – the most consistent climber in the series and a first ever win for Lucie Hrozova (CZE) in the women’s. Speed – yes you guessed it Russians all the way! British competitors Andy Turner 23rd, Simon Chevis 26th and Steveie Johnstone 33rd.
UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour 2013 | Busteni Official from UIAA - Mountaineering & Climbing on Vimeo.
Round 5 – Kirov (Russia) – the series finale. Travelling on the trans-siberian railway across Russia this was always going to be an experience! This round was run slightly differently to all the previous rounds. Firstly you weren’t in isolation and could watch other people climb (after a demo for all at the beginning), secondly there were 2 routes for qualification and thirdly the time allowed to climb the routes was 2 minutes shorter at just 4 mins. I was just about coming out the other side of my illness for this round but still with no training I actually found myself climbing quite well and once again missed the semi-final by just a clip on one route, having been at the same place as those that qualified on the other route. Simon struggled a little with the reduction in time allowed but looked strong. The winners of this final round were Maxim Tomilov and WoonSeon Shin (Kor). Our positions were Andy Turner 26th and Simon Chevis 40th
UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour 2013 | Kirov Official from UIAA - Mountaineering & Climbing on Vimeo.
The final round meant that the overall winners were also crowned and it was close in both the Men’s and the Women’s competitions - Heeyong Park took the mens with his consistent perfomances and Maria Tolokonina just edged out Angelika Rainer to take the title.
Our overall places were Andy Turner 47th and Simon Chevis 56th
This season has been a huge learning curve for us all, from getting a feel for the whole competition process, working out how to get the best warm-up through to taking my own kettle along as the hotels don’t have them and living without cups of tea and a flask is pretty much impossible! I’d like to thank the BMC for their support in getting to the competitions, Mountain Equipment for sorting us out with some team kit and Lyon Equipment/Petzl for making sure I had the best tools available for the job. Training for next season has already begun……it starts in the USA in December.
Keep up to date with Andy's progress here.
Full results for all the competitions can be found here
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