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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Innsbruck World Cup Final

As promised, this is the second part of the Innsbruck World Cup post. The first one can be found here. After semi-finals, I had flashed all 4 problems and I knew 100% that I’d be in finals. I knew that as I was matching the final hold of the round, and was ecstatic. After grabbing my stuff and talking to some of the other competitors, when I had finished flashing the third one, I was already in finals. To make finals, you had to do 3 problems in 8 tries, and get all the bonuses. Anna Stöhr. and Kilian Fischhuber were also in finals, so we biked back to their house to eat some much needed past, and take a short nap. I didn’t actually take a nap, just rested a bit and drank a lot of water. At 6:00pm, we were on our way back to the venue, with isolation closing at 6:30. Because we were pretty much still warm from the previous round, you don’t really need to warm up so much. I did a few laps on jugs, a few on crimps, I tried a bunch of random dynos and I was ready! 7:30 was the presentation followed by the observation. For some reason, they decided to let us preview the routes in a very strange order; 1, 4, 2 and finally 3. I guess they were just stressing about the time it took the announcer to get everyone out in front of the crowd. After looking at the problems, I knew 1 and 4 were going to be interesting for me, and 2 and 3 looked very possible. [singlepic id=354 w=320 h=480 float=left] As I qualified first, I would climb last and I’ve seen so many mixed guesses on whether it helps or hinders the competitors. At the end of the day, you go out to climb your boulder. I find that after being in finals a few times, where you climb is irrelevant. I’ve qualified first after semis in Eindhoven 2010, where I finished 2nd. It’s easy to look at the results and say, “oh he didn’t do well because he had to climb last”. Realistically, if no one does the problem, you have a chance to scoop everyone by being the last. On the other hand, if a bunch of people have done the problem, you might say there’s pressure, but I’d say “at least I know the problem is even possible”. It’s just a game, and the position is pretty irrelevant. I’m sure everyone “prefers” a certain position, but that would be different to each competitor. The first boulder had an awkward start leading in an undercling. I flashed up until the bonus, and reached up into this big donut feature. We didn’t really know what to do on the problem and being last out, I knew it hadn’t been completed. Flashing to the bonus was my first goal, and then I’d figure the rest out. I spend the better part of 4 minutes pretty much flailing to get off the feature, and I wasn’t even close… I could hear from the crowd while Jakob Schubert and Kilian were climbing that they were probably at least hitting the hold, but I wasn’t even coming close. On my best try, I would guess that I was still half a foot away from the hold, and I was told after that even if you could touch it, the swing was very hard to hold. After the first problem, I was still in the lead by flashing bonus… [singlepic id=355 w=480 h=320 float=center]   The second problem was on the far right side of the wall, and had mostly features on it. There was a foothold near the end, and the last hold was an actual handhold. It went up a sort of corner using only volumes. Of the first 5 guys, only 1 person completed the problem, Kilian… Undeterred, I ran out and I knew it was possible. I jumped on and had a really good first run. I flashed up into the bonus and kept going. I was climbing for over a minute before getting up into the last move. I didn’t know how to navigate the last two volumes, from the ground; I thought I’d go double gaston (shoulder) while standing on the slopey foothold. When I got up there, that wasn’t so possible, so I went with what my instincts told me. I crossed up pretty high on the volume and started to press up. My right hand instinctively switched to a push with the palm but there was something lacking. Because I was up on triangle volumes, there was nothing for my left foot to push on to get my body weight to the right. I kept pushing up and up and finally brought my right hand into a non-existent undercling on the volume. My head was probably merely a foot away from the final hold, but I couldn’t let go of anything. I saw the tip of the volume down and left where my hand had been previously, and I knew if I could get my foot there, I was home free. I started bringing my left foot up the well when the unimaginable happened. My right foot had been on the slopey foothold too long, and must’ve pianoed off the good part, it slipped. As I came sailing down, I couldn’t believe it… So close, and I wondered if I could get up there again… I didn’t. I tried it another two times, but couldn’t execute the hard press up move at the beginning. [singlepic id=362 w=320 h=480 float=right] After going back to the tent, the last move proved deadly to Jakob as well, as he fell matching the final hold… I knew after two problems that I was still in second place, only to Kilian. The third problem was very straight forward, and probably the most powerful problem of them all. Out of the first 5 climbers, Rustam Gelmanov and Kilian went out and flashed it. The other didn’t sound extremely close, which meant it was hard again. I went out, flashed the bonus, and chose the wrong hand to go up with for the second to last move. I was so physically tired from the second, that when I went on my second try, and saw the high foothold out right, I knew it would be good to setup for the move after. Turns out that with your foot that high, the first move was too hard, so I fell again. My third try was almost as good as my first, but after doing the first few moves 3 times, I just couldn’t pull hard enough. After this boulder, I knew I was in 3rd, and not able to win the world cup. Unphased, the new goal was 2nd or 3rd. When the first few climbers were unable to do the 4th boulder, 3rd place was looking as the best option. With Rustam unable to do the boulder, I knew that if I flashed the last boulder, I’d come second, if I flashed the zone, I’d come 3rd, and if I couldn’t get zone, I’d be 4th-6th. When none of the first 5 climbers did the 4th, I was really focusing on flashing the zone. Just before going out, I asked Anna if she could win the competition. She replied very calmly “yes, but I have to flash the last one”… I replied “you can do it, good luck”. [singlepic id=356 w=480 h=320 float=center]   We ran out to the last boulder together, and I knew mine was straight forward. I grabbed the very high start holds, tagged up my feet and jumped for the first volume. It was a very long and hard move, but my left hand luckily and instinctively swapped into a semi undercling grip. As my feet came back in from the swing, I knew I was going to get zone. I loaded my heel just over my hand and engaged my core. I pulled up off my right hand, and the volume was much closer than I thought. I palmed the bottom just for the judge, and then latched onto the top. For a split second, I knew I was in third, but then my competition mind quickly took over. Need to top!!! I looked up, and I knew it was a sort of dyno. One or two hands. I did the best I could, jumped, but the hold was too far away, and I was falling. I hit the ground with a big smile on my face. I knew that I had come 3rd, and there was now no possible way to move up. Even if I did the boulder second try, I’d still come 3rd. As I was thinking about this, Anna was still on her flash attempt and a few moves away. They looked easy as she completed the last few moves of her final boulder, so I just watched in awe and started clapping. Anna had won the world cup in Innsbruck in front of her hometown crowd of thousands. She matched the finish, turned around with a big smile, waved and it was obvious she was delighted. After she had jumped down, it was just me, and my last boulder. For me, it was just pride now for the last. As I said before, I couldn’t move positions, but I could still do this boulder! I tried it another 4-5 times, but always fell at the same move. I also tried 2-3 other foot beta sequences, but none worked much better than the others. After trying it a few more times, my knee started to get sore, and with 10 seconds left on my timer, I just turned around, clapped my hands a few times and just waved at the crowd in Innsbruck. [singlepic id=357 w=480 h=320 float=center]   I was back on the podium, and beside two extraordinary climbers. Kilian had won, and Rustam was second. Full results of the men can be found here. On the women’s side, as I mentioned Anna had won. Shauna Coxsey of the UK was second with Melissa LaNeve from France taking third. Full results of the women can be found here as well.  

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Comments (5)

  • Avatar

    dkimber

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    Fantastic job Sean, thanks so much for the informative and detailed posts, they’re really appreciated!

    So just curious, how much is height a factor, really, in these bouldering WC’s?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      Thanks for the support! Height factor is mainly only a big factor when the route setters “screw up” and make a move that clearly too easy for taller competitors. It makes me very mad when it happens, but I guess it’s part of the game. I know that they don’t try to do it on purpose (I hope). I try to think that there’s maybe some moves that are easier when you’re shorter, although there are usually less.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        dkimber

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        Cool, thanks. I know it’s an extremely tough job, setting these high-level (or any for that matter) comps, given the many factors involved. Hopefully they make forerunning with people of varying heights a priority to ensure the integrity of the routes.

        Reply

  • Avatar

    Martin

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    Congratulations!
    And thanks for the little window to your minds within the comp!

    Reply

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