Thursday, 23 January 2014


I'm pretty excited about the competition in Romania. I would have liked to have done better, but I'm content with how things worked out.
Climbing the prelims route. Photo:Alexandru Sava

Prelims Photo: Florian Raducanu
Prelims Photo: Stelian Pavalache

The Romania IWC is spread over three days with the semifinals on the second day.  The women's preliminary are the second day as well and run in the morning before the men's semifinal. For the semi finals the order in which we climb is based on the scoring from the preliminary round with the lowest score going first and the highest score going last. I had the second lowest  out of the 18 men and was expecting to climb second, but some how they messed up the start order and I was up first. Climbing first is a little tough because you don't get much time to prepare before you climb. After the route preview we returned to isolation just long enough to put on our boots before being called out to climb.

The semifinals route was much more difficult than the preliminary route. I preliminary there was only one person who didn't top out that moved on to semis. In semifinals there was only one person who topped out. The lower starting section of the semis route had very technical moves. In order to do the moves you had to hook the hold correctly while maintaining the correct body position. Without the right body position your pick will just skate off the hold. I was able hit most of the lower section okay except for one hold. I ended up wasting a lot of time and energy figuring out the correct way to take it. After reaching the top of the first panel the wall got steeper and the moves got bigger but less technical. At the end of the second panel was an ice barrel. Just after reaching the ice my following tool popped of the hold. This caused my feet to come off the wall. I was able to hang on for a little bit longer, but when I went for the next hole in the ice and missed, I was too tired to make a recovery as my body fell back down. My hand opened up and I fell off. Overall I ended up 16th for the competition, which is my best finish yet.
Semifinals Photo: Alexandru Sava

Saturday was the speed climbing competition and I climbed in that as well. The weather had been extemely warm and the ice wall was not in great shape. The women climbed first and after they were done the wall was showing lots of wear. After the men did the preliminary round there were large pieces of ice missing from the wall. The ice was more like snow and heavier climbers had a lot of problems with their picks shearing thru the ice. I made it to the top of the wall both times I climbed, but didn't do so fast enogh to move onto the next round. In the end, the mens speed comp was called off because the wall had lost too much ice for the comp to continue.

At the end of the third day is the closing ceremony. After the awards the Romanians go all out and have a fireworks display that rivals most I've seen in N.America.

I'm back in Ontario now for a couple weeks. This weekend I'm teaching a beginners mixed climbing class with the Toronto Section of the Alpine Club of Canada which should be fun. The weekend after I get to do a little bit of climbing in Ontario before flying back to Europe to compete in Italy (Feb.6-8), after Italy I'll be in Russia for the second half of the Olympics where ice climbing is a cultural event and then to the final IWC competition in Ufa (Feb.28-Mar.2).

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