In the past I had always taken the bus from Seoul to Cheongsong, but this year I rode with friends and got to Cheongsong a bit early and got to look around a little before all the competition stuff started.
Once again the men were split into two groups with each group climbing on either the left or right side of the wall for the preliminary round. We were given 5 minutes to climb the route. Last year was the first time that I didn't fall off the route and finished by timing out. This year I timed out again, but climbed three holds from the top, which was more than enough to get into semifinals.
Things were looking good for the semi final. I went into that round ranked fifth in my group. I climbed 11th out of 19, which put me in the middle of the semifinal pack overall. I was hoping to finish semis somewhere in the middle and maybe be close to finals. Things didn't work out that way. At the top of the beginning section of ice I hooked a hole that seemed okay and probably would have been, had my foot not ripped thru the ice as I was reaching for the first drytool hold. When my foot slipped the pick of my ice axe took more weight and it ripped thru the crappy ice. Ending my climb in the semifinal before it really even began. There were a lot of big upsets in Cheongsong this year. Some competitors that normally make finals didn't even make semis and some that have won World Cup didn't make finals. The penalty for mistakes was quite high and a minor slip or bad judgement often meant you were flying thru the air, your attempt finished.
Moving on to the next one…… I'm in Europe now and the next competition is in Saas Fee, Switzerland.