Well another World Cup has come and passed. This one was in Hall, Austria. Hall is about 10km just outside of Innsbruck. The competition started with 78 men and 46 women. Because there were so many people registered in the competition, the organizers decided to run the climbers on two different sets of problems. They split the competitors in two different groups and ran them on different 5 qualifying problems. Some might argue that this is unfair because the best climbers could be in one group and it a way, they´re right. Although, the way they split the climbers is based on their WorldRanking, so every second person based on their WorldRanking would go in a group. If all the top 10 climbers were there 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 would be in one group and 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 would be in the other. All in all, they assume all the strong climbers will make it through to semi finals where the problems are usually a lot harder.
I had a World Ranking of 11 because of my competitions last year and the fact that I didn´t go to the world cup in Japan. I was in group B which I thought had more strong people in it, but really it just doesn´t matter. I was really nervous most of my warm up just because I hadn´t competed in a world cup for over 8 months. The last few world cups I have done were all lead in September. The last Boulder world cup I did was back in July in Montauban, France. I always warm up expecting the qualifyers to be the hardest problems I´ve ever tried. I mean, this is world cup right? Hardest problems in the world aren´t they? I figure it´s a pretty good mind set so when I am able to flash a few, it´s a great morale booster. For qualifyers, there´s always 5 problems and 5 minutes per problem with your 5 minute rest in between. I´ve done the format so many times it´s almost second nature to me.
I came out and my first problem was a nice little slab one… great. In fact, I quite enjoy doing slab problems, it´s so different than all the problems back in North America, it feels like even an easy slab problem is challenging for me. I flashed the first problem as well as the second problem which went up a little dihedrial and then made its way up a small prow. After flashing the first two problems, I felt pretty good, 3 problems left. I expected the last 3 problems to be pretty hard to make up for the first two being pretty.
When I saw the 3rd problem, I wasn´t sure what to do. It seemed pretty obvious until the bonus hold but from there, I wasn´t sure whether to make my way left to a bad yellow sloper and then throw to the corner, or just match on the bonus and go straight to the corner. I got on and fell trying to throw left to the yellow. On my second try, I tried to match the bonus hold which was a big sloper and my feet popped and I fell. Kind of annoyed, I rested for a good minute and a half and tried it again. When I went to match the sloper, my feet stayed miraculously and I drove up the corner, I kind of reverse cupped the corner hold and threw to the finish. It turns out that the 3rd problem was actually the hardest, followed closely by number 4. The 4th problem was just a plain and simple dyno. The hard part wasn´t the dyno itself but where the holds were placed. You set up for the dyno one move off the starting holds by doing a little cross over. The hard part was the fact that they put a big round volume right in front of the next hold so you couldn´t see it. Before dynoing, you had to pull back, spot where you going to go, then pull back and in and fire blindly. When you caught the hold, I think you were supposed to palm the round volume to control the swing, but it was very strange indeed. It took me 3 tries to stick the dyno and the last moves were extremely easy compared to what you had just done.
The 5th problem wasn´t super hard but really tricky. The first move looked painfully easy to read with a hard move up with your right hand, but when you got on the problem, it seemed impossible to go up with your right hand. Turns out, I always went up with my left and then had to match it by palming the other side of the hold. The 5th problem was mostly just figuring out how to get on top of an enourmous red feature. On my first try, I made it just before the zone and tried to jump to it. I barn doored really hard and almost stuck the zone but still fell. On my second try, I came at the zone hold from underneath instead of the right and send the problem. In total, I sent all 5 problems with a total of 10 tries. I was pretty sure it would be enough for semi finals and I was right. In my group, you had to do at least 4 problems in 5 tries, which meant you had to flash at least 3 problems if you could only complete 4 of them.
Semi finals was the next day. Fron qualifyers, they took the top 10 climbers in both groups to have 20 men and 20 women in semi finals. I woke up with my right tricep really sore. I spent the whole time during my warmup just massaging my arm trying to make it feel better. I figured with all the adreneline I´d have while competing, I wouldn´t even feel it. Semi finals is made up of 4 problems with 6 minutes climbing and resting time. When I came out, I felt pretty excited. The first problem was another slab, this time on the right side of the competition wall. Turns out, it wasn´t very hard and most of the competitors flashed it. The second problem looked much harder. The start had pretty much no feet for a few moves. On my first try, I spent so long trying to figure out where my feet were supposed to go for the first 3 moves.
Turns out, you just paste your feet on the wall and campus. I screwed around too long and unfortunately fell going for the bonus. On my second try however, I just campused the first 2 moves and sent the problem on that try. The 3rd problem was absolutely ridiculous. Just matching the second hold felt impossible. I spent 6 minutes doing 2 moves of climbing and on my last try I almost stuck the 3rd hold, which was the zone. I figured if I struggled so hard on this problem, it was surely not going to get done. The 4th problem was also really hard. The first two moves were really strange, having to perch on your left foot and grab a pinchy undercling and then fire your right hand into almost the same hold on the overhand. From there, you just set up and dynoed up and left over the lip. There were two holds about a foot apart just over the lip. While I was trying the problem, it felt so close every time I jumped. I must have tried the problem about 7 times and got to the jump 5 of those times. The jump was just too hard. I finished the round having only done 2 problems in 3 tries and not even getting the zone for problem 3 or 4.
After talking with Daniel Woods about the problems, he too had only done 2 of the problems but got the zone on all of them. Sadly, he took 3 tries to do problem 2 which put me just ahead of him by one attempt. Even more heart breaking was at the end of the round when I concluded that you had to flash 2 problems in make finals. Because of the way they divided the competitors for qualifyers, they aren´t allowed to do a countback. Gabrielle Moroni made finals by just flashing the first two finals and not getting zone on 3 and 4 either. That means that I missed finals by a try… If I had flashed the second problem intead of doing it second go, I would´ve made finals again… Oh well, maybe next time. After semi finals, I finished in 9th place. 7th place went to David Lama who also missed finals by a fall and 8th placed went to Cédric Lachat also in the same boat. Just after me in 10th place was Daniel Woods and in 11th place was Jorg Verhoeven.
Finals were of course awesome to watch. The biggest problem was that they didn´t have enough chairs and it was really hard to see. Another fun fact was that of the 6 guys who made finals, they all came from group B in qualifyers, which I was also in. In finals were Killian Fischhuber, Gabriele Moroni, Adam Ondra, Lucas Preti, Mykhaylo Shalagin and Guillaume Glairon-Mondet. The 6 finalist for women were Akiyo Noguchi, Anna Stohr, Yulia Abrabmchuk, Maud Ansade, Natalija Gros, Anna Galliamove and Angelica Lind. Because two women tied for 6th place in semis, they took 7 women to finals. Full results can be found on the IFSC Website. Finals were fun to watch but for the men, it turned out the it came down to the first two problems. No one did problem 3 and 4 and Killian won the competition. The women put on quite a different show. Akiyo from Japana and Anna from Austria had tied in semi finals for 6th place and was the results of 7 people in finals. During the finals, they both managed to flash all 4 problems which meant a superfinal. After tweaking mens problem 2, they both came out and previewed then climbed individually. Akiyo went first and flashed the problem, Anna was second and flashed it as well. The cheers from the crowd were crazy and it turns out that according to IFSC rules, if they both flash the superfinal, they just tie… It kind of sucks that they didn´t go to a super superfinal but it was still pretty awesome to watch.
After the comp was over, there was a big afterparty. They had a live band which played a lot of really funny songs. They start with Umbrella by Rihanna which they sung terribly. After that first song, they were a lot better. After a few hours, the party moved to a more Disco part of the venue which played really good music. The party ended at about 3am with the police trying to push everyone outside