Last weekend was the weekend of tooling – members of the GB Ice Climbing team were out in Bozeman, Montana competing at the first round of the UIAA Ice World Cup, whilst the rest of the team and other keen drytoolers were braving the floods in Keswick at the second round of the British Tooling Series.
In the highly-anticipated season opener in Bozeman, Montana, Russian athletes Maxim Tomilov and Maria Tolokonina earned the plaudits claiming gold medals in both Friday’s speed and Saturday’s lead competition. Dominating one competition is impressive enough, prevailing in both is an almost unprecedented achievement.
59 athletes from 12 countries took part in the weekend’s activities in front of a passionate and knowledgeable local crowd. The Bozeman ice climbing community had shown their solidarity in recent weeks helping rebuild the competition structure which was destroyed by hurricane force winds in mid November. The competitors were grateful for their efforts and delighted to get the 2016 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour up and running.
There were four Brits competing and Anna Wells climbed fantastically in the qualifiers to reach the semi-finals and finished in a very credible 12th place. Tom Ballard showed excellent early season form, but a little bit of competition inexperience – he topped both the qualifying routes with ease, but did not realise that competitors had to match the top hold with both of their ice axes on the first route which cost him a place in the semi-finals. Hopefully this will be a mistake he learns from and doesn't make it again and as this was his first time drytooling on plastic holds in competition, this was a great achievement.
Anna Wells – 12th
Tom Ballard – 20th
Scott Grosandoff – 24th
Will Woodhead – 30th
Despite the impressive weekend for Tomilov and Tolokonina the season is still young and competition will intensify at the next phase of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour presented by The North Face Korea which takes place in Cheongsong, Korea (16-17 January 2016).
British Tooling series – Round 2 – King Kong Climbing Centre
As the competition was going on in America, 12 competitors braved the snow and the floods to do battle on the fierce routes set at the King Kong Climbing Centre in Keswick. The team lead by Gnash Baxter did a fantastic job to run the comp. despite the fact that all but three of them had been flooded out of their homes the previous weekend.
There were some fantastic climbing on the weird and wacky routes up chains, blocks of wood and glittery fibreglass stalactites made specially for the event by King Kong Climbing Walls. Some great efforts by the younger climbers in the competition – Emma Powell and Adam Willison were borne out in the results.
Simon Ward – 1st
Joe Saunders – 2nd
Ramon Marin – 3rd
Emma Powell – 1st
Viki Harvey – 2nd
Full results can be found here.
Series rankings will follow in the near future.
Round 3 will be at The Leeds Wall – Date TBC
The British Tooling Series is sponsored by the BMC, Climbskin, DMM Climbing, EDELRID, Lyon Outdoor, Peak Holds, and Psychi.
Best of the action
Video highlights from the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup event in Bozeman will be available in the coming days from the UIAA website and YouTube channel.
A gallery of images from the second round of the British Tooling Series can be seen here soon.
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