Gijón Climbing World Championship – Ondra Triumphs

Once again the best men and women won, such is the nature of competitions but there was much more to it at a tense, exciting and inspirational climbing IFSC World Championship held in Gijón in northern Spain last weekend. And although a partisan crowd on Sunday didn´t see their favourite, the diminutive powerhouse Ramonet, win, an equally vociferous (though smaller crowd) on Saturday did see their new hero, Urko Carmona, crowned world champion in his para-climbing class as the last act of a long and inspiring day.  

Urko Carmona on his way to a win. Ph Richie Patterson

Urko Carmona on his way to a win. Ph Richie Patterson

The World Championships which were in Asturias in northern Spain for the 2nd time featured Speed Climbing, Para-Climbing and Lead Climbing were well attended throughout. And although some felt there was a slight lack of competitors in the main categories due to scheduling between boulder comps there was strong field and the finals had most of the big names.

Interestingly, the Speed climbing, though it was the first time it had been in Spain was over with early on with the Para Climbing taking pride of place on the weekend. Speed climbing was on Friday and this was the first time any Speed Climbing had been seen in Spain meaning that mouths hung open as the crowd realised what speed in climbing actually meant. The world record, recently broken, fell again in the men´s final as the Ukranian, Danylo Boldyrev, overcame the Russian challenge (things to come?) to take 1st. The womens’ went to form with the strong Russian Alina Gaidamakina beating two Poles and keeping it pretty much an eastern Bloc muscle –fest!

See the speed here http://bit.ly/WorldCup_Speed

The GB Para Team

The GB Para Team

So Saturday instead was Para-Climbing and the British team did superbly. A big team went and managed to claim  6 top three placings – a testament not only to their dedication but to the work put in by the BMC in making sure their cause is pushed so that para-climbing gets the same status and ‘game-time’ as the able bodied version.

In many ways the para day proved the highlight of the competition especially because the large mainly Spanish crowd got the see their man win. A long and tiring day in hot conditions took it out of the climbers but the reaction and size of the crowd made it an event to remember for most and there were several stand-out performances that really raised the bar (and roof).  Fran Brown cemented her place at the top table with a very close win, adding a world masters to her current world champion status on the last hold; Koichiro Kobayashi the Japanese climbing brilliantly in the B1 category (visually impaired); and Urko sealing an emotional day with his top out in the amputee class.

Urko’s win provided the proof that Para Climbing can sit of the same stage and be equally thrilling as any other category. Hearing the crowd chanting Urko’s name signalled that they were 100% in accord with the competition and not in a way that suggested platitudes: this was a climbing comp and they wanted to be part of his win!!

This was a very well-attended event, with para-climbers from as far afield as Iran, Japan and the USA, being exciting and inspirational in equal measure. In the end the full British team results were: Alex & Phil 6th & Adam 7th,  Dave 4th , Fran 1st , Sianagh 3rd, Nick 2nd , John 3rd , Esme 3rd  & Reanne 2nd. A brilliant set of results and Wild Country is very proud to have been able to support this talented bunch.

You can relive the finals here: http://bit.ly/WorldCup_ParaClimb

Finally came the lead comp and a big crowd braved an enormous thunderstorm to pack the pavilion. The women’s competition seemed close at first as height was gained incrementally, climber by climber, but no-one seemed to have the key to the 8b climb. But then out strode Jain Kim, the final competitor,  and with a precision, fluidity and strength unseen so far she simply blew everyone else out of the water; topping out in a style that had everyone in the crowd on their feet.

Jain Kim takes the title

 

Jain Kim takes the title

Jain Kim takes the title

In the Men’s final it seemed as though everyone was waiting for the stars and although the competition was fierce it wasn’t until the last two appeared that things really hotted up. A partisan crowd were obviously all for Ramonet but this didn’t mean they were exactly anti-Ondra and his smooth ascent past Scahi Ammi’s high-point to latch-and-leap from the penultimate hold brought cheers from the crowd. Cheers which then turned to roars as Ramonet stepped up.  His contrasting ‘locky’ style seemed initially at odds with the route yet as he edged higher the unbelievable athleticism of the tiny figure became obvious and, making it look easier than anyone, he looked destined for the triumph the event fervently wished for.

Ondra takes the penultimate hold…

 

Ondra takes the penultimate hold...

Ondra takes the penultimate hold…

Yet at the same high point as Ondra his trajectory changed, and unlike the formers leap to claim his ‘plus’ the Spaniard found himself on the end of the rope without having persuaded the judges he had the same control as Ondra, leaving an emotional Adam as double world champion!

http://bit.ly/WorldCupMen_Women

Overall this was a solid rather spectacular World Championship with a smaller field in the main event due to scheduling. However, Urko’s triumph will be remembered by everyone who was there and para-climbing getting the Saturday spot and almost equal billing proved to be a great idea.

The highlight for me, however wasn’t the climbing, but what the climbing did. It was brilliant listening and talking to climbers who were exiting the para event, quite obviously inspired, and hearing them discuss training and how they could try to utilise the skills of para climbers to learn to climb better (training with one arm, one leg, blindfolded) rather than mouthing platitudes of sympathy or a ‘oh didn´t they do well’ attitude.

Climbers inspiring climbers – the true meaning of a World Championship!

 

Roca Verde features in Climb Magazine

Roca Verde features in Climb magazine in the Uk this month with a 6 page feature on the area published in the October issue which should hit the shops around the 13th of the month.

Green Kingdom is the title of the article about Asturias...

Green Kingdom is the title of the article about Asturias…

You can get the magazine in all good stores, or order through their website www.climbmagazine.com

 

Casa Quirós – our holiday cottage under the crag

We have just opened Casa Quirós – a picture-book pretty, traditional stone-built Asturian house that has been recently renovated to a high standard.

A great spot for climbers, Casa Quirós is just underneath one of the best crags in Asturias, Quirós, which has nearly 300 sports routes spread over 22 sectors. Teverga, another huge climbing area, with nearly 500 routes, is only 15 minutes drive.

The view from Casa Quirós on a summer morning...

The view from Casa Quirós on a summer morning…

The south facing house sleeps four and is situated in Aciera, a picturesque traditional Asturian village, in the heart of the parque natural de Las Ubiñas-La Mesa. Surrounded by beautiful peaks and passes the area is perfect for all types of outdoor activity including; climbing, road biking, mountain biking, trail running, hiking, fishing and birdwatching

If climbing’s not your thing (or your partner’s) then not to worry because the area has loads more to offer. The road and mountain biking, straight from the house, are both awesome. For littler legs the 45km long, mostly flat, Senda del Oso (bear path – yes, we even have bears!) wends its way along the foot of the valley beneath the village. There’s even kayaking on the reservoir just below the house.

See more about Casa Quirós here…

Quiros – Sector Eclipse new, old and ignored…#1

There are some places I just love to climb and Sector Eclipse at Quiros is one of them. Now I don’t understand why but this is a sector ignored by most and I have  never seen anyone there. However, for me it has a great mix of routes, there’s a decent spread of grades and possibly the best 6c+ in Asturias. (Controversial!!!)

Oh, and one more thing I should mention, it also gets into the shade at around 1.30, a blessing for a keen climber in the summer months. Returning there after a break was a treat for me for a number of reasons; firstly I completed my project, secondly I warmed up on a route which felt pumpy as hell on the last visit and finally I had the same feeling repeating a route as the first time – which is rare.

Amanita, 6c+, a really good route with a bit of everything...and OK at the grade!

Amanita, 6c+, a really good route with a bit of everything…and OK at the grade!

First visit, with the ever patient Den (who seems to get stuck with me in project mode) I warmed up on Amanita 6c+, a really good (and long) route which takes a burly crack for fully 35 metres. Certainly easier the second time there’s big moves, finger jams and intricate slabs and was happy that I felt solid all the way. Reason being I’d returned to finish a route I’d bolted about two years ago.

Called Chorrera Negra I’d tentatively graded it 7a and put it in the guide even though I’d not had time to complete it. I’d had the time after bolting to top rope it and although very tired had just about done it in one go. So feeling good I thought I’d just whip up it quickly and get it ticked.

Pumped in mind body and legs with a long wa y to go!!

Pumped in mind body and legs with a long wa y to go!!

However, I hadn’t counted on the fact that A. I hadn’t cleaned it brilliantly and the intervening 1.5 years would leave it worse. And B. it was pretty badly bolted with spaced bolts meaning you had to do hard moves above them and C. it was bloody hard!!!

Starting up an existing route, El loco de la colina, it zips straight up the wall above the start via a series of pockets, flakes and some very small and indistinct holds to join the belay of Luz de alba (another very good route).  Almost immediately after leaving the start of the first route I was stumped – I’d put the first bolt on my route high to avoid any conflict and instantly it was a nervous clip. Then again after clipping things didn’t get much better as teh crux seemed desperate, above the bolt and with a ‘gripper clipper’ for the next one.

Up, down, up down, I got pumped and more pumped. – feet on nothing much, dirty hand holds and fear keeping me down. Finally I committed and managed to push on – brutal – but a decent crimp got me clipped and a carried on. Phew, crux done! I didn’t remember anything else hard until the last few feet so felt a bit happier. But, I was once again subject to memory failings as almost isntantly the territory became thin, precarious and very, very unobvious. Sketch by sketch I advanced and slowly but surely i was going to be mine. By the end I was totally pumped with cramping feet and it was will power nothing more (and the threat of having to come back) which got me up it.

Very relieved I snagged the belay and lowered off pleased as punch but damn tired.  I was very proud of my route and my determined effort, whilst acknowledging it’s failings and vowing to come back and clean and add a bolt or two to my ordeal.

On the very thin crux of Chorerra Negra now a healthy 7a+

On the very thin crux of Chorerra Negra now a healthy 7a+

So overall, maybe my first new route on the Queen of Asturian crags isn’t the greatest but it’s intricate and fun (in an old school way). I upgraded Chorrera Negra to 7a+, I am going back soon to ‘sort it out’.