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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

The Last Boulder WC of 2013

The last Bouldering World Cup of 2013 was in Munich this past weekend; the competition would not only give a victory to yet another new athlete but also decide the overall rankings for 2013. I came straight from Vancouver on the 22nd and after a solid 10 hour flight I was in Munich at my hotel and prepping for the competition. I stayed in the official hotel mostly because there were free shuttles between that and the venue. Since I didn’t have a car this weekend, I was pretty stuck either at the competition or at the hotel. Throughout the weekend I actually got pretty lucky with people I knew from the competition giving me rides (most notably the Swiss Team, thanks!) [singlepic id=555 w=500 h=350 float=center] Joining me at the final stage of the season was fellow Canadians Sebastian Lazure, Marieta Akalski, Jelisa Dunbar and Thomasina Pidgeon. There was no shuttle for the technical meeting so I chilled in my room, tried to adjust with jet lag and finally slept for qualifiers. The men were in the morning with the women’s in the late afternoon. The qualifiers went very well for me. I “dropped” to 2nd in the World Ranking but since there were two groups I still went out first in one of the groups. It’s always a big strange going in the first 4-5 climbers in the groups. You never know if the boulders are going to be easy or hard. You just have to relax, climb well and hopefully top some boulders. I’ve seen qualifications in World Cups where 4 bonuses get you through the semis. On the opposite side, I’ve seen people do all 5 boulders and not advance. We all try not to think about this and just climb and have fun. I’ve by default hidden my qualifierse recap if you want to skip to semis! Click the “Show Me” to expand it. I qualified first in my group tied with Thomas. [singlepic id=558 w=500 h=350 float=center] In the afternoon, the girls went and they were all spaced by enough climbers that by the time Marieta got to the third problem, we had 3 Canadians all climbing at the same time! Jelisa even managed to top her first world cup problem finishing the best of our girls at 38th. Semifinals were the next morning and I did everything the same as the qualifiers. Pretty soon I was ready to do the first boulder. The first one was weird, a sideways traverse to a jump finish. It took me 5 tries to do the problem, but I eventually figured it out. What sucked is that a lot of climbers skipped every hold and just climbed up the corner from the start holds to the finish. That was a small mistake by the route setters. [singlepic id=560 w=300 h=450 float=right] The second boulder was straight slab. It didn’t look complicated but I didn’t figure it out in time. I spent some time trying to crimp the edge, my foot slipped a couple times and the one time I was close to doing the boulder, I was just too tired. I had to walk away from that one underachieved. It was also hard trying that boulder knowing that the climber just before me, Kilian Fischhuber, also couldn’t do it. Third boulder was the nicest of the round. My hands kind of dry fired on the second move and I sent it second go. Just before going back behind the wall, I checked the scoreboard and knew I had to top the last boulder to make finals. I thought only 1 or 2, or maybe no one had done the last boulder but in my mind I told myself it was possible. I had to! It turns out the 4th boulder was impossible. Well at least in 5 minutes for those 20 athletes… I tried very hard and I felt like I was close. It was a weird mantle with a jump finish. Another mistake by the route setters was the the “only” way to do the boulder was to crimp the edge of the volume and mantle like that. Unfortunate for me and as my time ran out, I knew I’d be finishing 8th. I thought about the incredible season that I’ve already had and the fact that I still loved competing. I was disappointed about missing finals, but happy to be here, doing what I love and competing. I waved at the crowd one last time, knowing the 2013 World Cup Season was coming to a close! Overall, the semis were hard; I made a couple small mistakes that cost me the finals but still finished 8th. [singlepic id=559 w=500 h=350 float=center] Not a bad round, not a good round, but just outside the finals once again! It’s a big frustrating when you know you’re out of finals, but I realized all this very quickly. When I checked the results closer, a lot of the very strong climbers who are normally in finals were also out. Kilian Fischhuber and Jakob Schubert from Austria finished 14th and 10th respectively. Cedric Lachat from Switzerland was 11th and German favourite Jan Hojer was 7th. The final round was very good (barring Men’s problem 1) and exciting all the way to the last competitor. After all the dust had settled, Anna Stohr had won her 7th World Cup of 2013 with Alex Puccio and Shauna Coxsey completing the podium. On the men’s side, underdog Rei Sugimoto had an amazing finals and took his first victory (and first podium) with Thomas Tauporn and Rustam Gelmanov completing the podium on that side. Mens Results HERE Womens Results HERE Between semifinals and finals, I had 4 hours so I crunched the numbers for the overall 2013 Bouldering World Cup. Everyone knew that Dimitrii had won even before the competition but 2nd and 3rd were up for grabs. When I finished 8th, I didn’t think I had a short anymore but most interestingly I was still in the race. The race before the competition started was between 6 different athletes (Me, Jakob, Guillaume, Jorg, Rustam and Kilian). All 6 of us had enough points to be 2nd or 3rd which was pretty exciting. Of those 6 people, 2 missed semis and another 3 missed finals. I crunched the numbers and found Jakob in second with me in third. The only one with an unknown number was Rustam! I had to check all 6 places for Rustam and what I found was pretty interesting. If Rustam was 1st, he’d come 2nd in the overall and for every place he went down in finals, he dropped one place in the overall. (To 5th place overall). Complicated, yes. I watched the finals without caring too much about how he was doing, but when I realized he was only able to be 3rd or 4th in the finals, I knew I had come 3rd in the overall rankings! [singlepic id=557 w=500 h=350 float=center] Mens Overall Rankings HERE Womens Overall Rankings HERE This is the overall podium for the women! [singlepic id=561 w=500 h=350 float=center] This was the first time I’ve been on the podium for one single event. I’ve finished in 2nd place (twice, 2011, 2012) in the Overall world cup rankings that take the top-5 finishes from Lead, Speed and Boulder but I’ve never been top-3 in one individually. I also end up missing one or two world cups every year in every discipline which usually makes the overall title hard for me to be competitive for. Even this year I didn’t go the first one of the year which means that would be the one that I got to drop. It’s never been much of a goal of mine to be on the overall podium but it was a really feeling regardless. It’s nice to have that personal achievement of 3rd place in the 2013 Bouldering circuit! After a pretty good after-party which included dinner and free beer, I traveled back to France where I get a nice rest for just over 10 days. I’ve been traveling for almost 30 days now including my trips to Colombia, Austria, Canada and then Munich! I’ll be heading to the Gorges Du Tarn this weekend once again to try a couple projects I spotted last time I was there!

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Comments (9)

  • 2013 Munich Bouldering World Cup – Finals

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    […] the men the overall ranking was already decided in the semis (according to Sean McColl, Rustam Gelmanov could have made podium), it is Sharafutdinov, Schubert and […]

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    Jack

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    Hi Sean, first of all, congratulations on your 3rd place overall finish. I’ve enjoyed following you through the competitions and your occasional training videos. I have a couple of questions:
    1. Have there been any discussions or debates about giving some weight to the qualification and semi-final round scores for advancing to the finals and your final score at each comp? It just seemed too bad that you dominated the quals and didn’t benefit from that at all when it came to making the finals. I know it could work both ways and there’s some simplicity to starting with a clean slate for each round. Also, given the scoring structure, it’s not a points system where you could just put a weighted multiplier to the tops, bonuses, and tries.
    2. Can you explain a little more what you thought were “mistakes” by the route setters on the 2 semis problems? For the first problem, it wasn’t clear to me from the commentators that it was a mistake. They just thought it was creative for some guys to stem and jump for the top, really, just an alternate way of doing the problem.

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      Sean McColl

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      1) With the two different groups in qualification, countback isn’t even possible. I’ve thought of many different scoring systems but none have turned out “obviously and documented better” than the current one. Even in the semis, if I would’ve had a “good” boulder 2, I would’ve advanced. It’s hard to say that it wasn’t partly or mostly my fault.

      2) The mistakes by the route setters in my opinion are the following: First mistake for the first problem is that it was easier to go straight up than to follow the intended method. I think the route setters should’ve seen that it was possible to go straight from start to finish and set it accordingly to make it a) harder with that method or b) just impossible. Second mistake is that the 4th problem was “impossible” thus making the semi finals out of 3 boulders.

      Remember, it’s my opinion. Some world cup climbers share these opinions, I’d say most even. I’m sure there are some that do not!

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    John Meget

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    I completely agree with Sean about the 1st problem in semis. A number of climbers skipped, or bypassed, nearly all the holds. They basically went from one move past the start straight to the finishing hold.

    Sean was one of the only climbers who was able to climb the route the way the setters intended. (Nearly all the guys who took the ‘direct’ route first tried the intended way, but couldn’t do it.)

    As for scoring, I have a few ideas/suggestions. The main one is that in place of bonuses, I think they should count total holds controlled. Too often the bonus, or zone, seems a bit arbitrary. I’ve often seen climbers get well beyond the zone, making hard moves, but not top out. They get no higher score than someone who makes zone but nothing else.

    If the IFSC used this system, scoring would go as follows:

    Tops
    Total # of holds
    Attempts on tops
    Countback

    Flashes don’t count as much with this system. Instead it rewards getting further on more problems. Of course, tops still count the most.

    I also think the IFSC should change the scoring for qualifications in lead. Don’t score by ranking. Score by total number of holds controlled. That rewards the climbers who get the highest overall.

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    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      It’s an interesting idea to use Point per Hold, similar to the US comps. I personally have never liked point per hold, I’ve seen it fail too many times.

      The biggest problem with point per hold is that if the first move is the hardest (crux) and then 10 easy moves. The person who does only one hard move gets 10 more “free” holds. That’s the problem. There is of course situations that cause problems in all formats, but I find the one we use is pretty good.

      In the Athletes Commission, we are constantly bringing up new systems and debating among the athletes!

      I find for Lead, the rankings system work perfectly well. It’s similar to the Bell Curve system used in University exams. Similar “problem” mentioned above.

      Thanks for the input, always good to see new ideas put forth.

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        John Meget

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        Sean, it seems to me the answer then is to not build boulder problems where the hardest move is only the first, with the rest a breeze.

        I can’t recall which WC comp it was. I think last year. You were the only one to get several holds past the zone. You came within a whisker of topping the problem. But you couldn’t quite stick the last move.

        You got way further than anyone else. But the zone was real low, and you got no more points, even though you climbed way better.

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    Dima

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    Bouldering format seems like the most fun from spectator point of view. Do you think there is a way to make Lead more interesting to watch maybe having 2-3 routes set in different styles(best part of watching bouldering is different styles of problems) to do instead of one? Or having shorter but much harder routes

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