For the third year running, Vail, Colorado, played host to an IFSC Bouldering World Cup (click here for full results). The event, the only of its kind in the United States, was again a part of the Teva Mountain Games, which brings together atheltes and enthusiasts from across the outdoor world for one weekend every year. The Bouldering World Cup was held alongside kayaking, mountain biking, trail running, fly fishing, and many other competitions, events, and clinics. (Petzl set up a booth in the climbing zone – we hope you got the chance to stop by and see us!)
The bouldering wall, built by Pyramide, was erected beneath a massive white shelter, to guard against the possibilty of rain. (Event organizers learned their lesson after a downpour soaked the wall and matts in 2008, delaying the competition.) The weather for the 2010 event, however, was splitter, with daytime temps in the 70s and 80s, bright sunshine, and mild winds. The audience had only to worry about sunburn as they watched from the open field at over 8,000 feet altitude.
On Friday, June 5, the qualifiers ran all day, winnowing a field of 91 competitors (from 20 countries) down to 36. Climber after climber navigated the wood-panel wall, which contained a variety of angles, from slab to horizontal and everything in between. To add variety to the problems and terrain, routesetters mounted massive features from a Motivation Volumes to the wall, one a big blue star, the other a black-and-red dome suspended on the underside of a horizontal roof. These volumes would factor into problems throughout the weekend. Petzl athletes Daniel Woods (USA), Sean McColl (CAN), Loïc Gaidioz (FRA), Akiyo Noguchi (JPN), and Maud Ansade (FRA) all advanced to semis.
Semifinals begin Saturday morning -- the 18 men and 18 women were faced with four problems each. On the women’s side, the Americans Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson came into semis in the top three. For the men, Americans Paul Robinson and Woods entered semis among the top three. As the climbers worked through the problems, things shifted, with the two Alexes dropping into fifth and sixth place and Robinson dropping to ninth. Woods moved into first place for the finals round. Worth mention during semis was the Slovenian climber Jernej Kruder, who climbed very dynamically and sported a hand shape shaved into his hair. He pumped his fist and screamed as he topped one problem after another, moving on to finals in second place.
Finals, with problems graded up to V11, started at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, and Woods climbed exceptionally well throughout, finishing two of the problems and reaching the final move of the other two. He was the only climber to reach the bonus hold on problem #4, which involved a horizontal dyno to a ring, followed by thin crimping on an overhang. The swings and falls generated by the dyno were impressive, if not a little scary to watch (see slideshow above). Last year’s winner, Kilian Fischhuber, of Austria, was aparently sick and climbing with an injured foot. He looked tired and a little frustrated by the problems. In the end, Woods walked away with the first win for an American male in World Cup Bouldering history. The Belgian climber Chloé Graftiaux took gold on the women's side, and Ansade and Noguchi came in sixth and seventh, respectively. Puccio and Johnson, both previous Vail Bouldering World Cups champs, just missed out on the podium this year.
Worth noting, Woods' win comes on the heels of a recent victory at the highly competitive Battle in the Bubble comp in Boulder, Colorado, and the first ascent of the what may be America’s hardest boulder problem, The Game (V16), in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. We’re psyched to see what’s next for this young crusher and all the other climbers who competed in the 2010 Bouldering World Cup. Oh, and Another Bouldering World Cup is slated for the 2011 Teva Games, so stay tuned.
Video from the comp is forthcoming. Check back at petzl.com and our facebook page, facebook.com/petzl.