23 July 2011

Another Update from Arco

With the bouldering competition long since finished and the week nearly over, the World Championships are soon coming to an end.

A few nights ago the Arco Rock Legends Awards took place, with idols such as Lynn Hill and Yuji Hirayama making guest appearances. Up for the Rock Award, given to nominations who had an outstanding performance in outdoor rock climbing in the past year, were Frenchman Enzo Oddo, Adam Ondra and two Americans Sasha DiGiulian and Chris Sharma. This award, not surprisingly, was given to Adam Ondra.

The Competition award, given for outstanding competition results, was up for grabs with nominations being Spaniard Ramon Julian Puigblanque, Adam Ondra again, and Korean Ja-In Kim. I had expected Kim to be the recipient due to her incredible last year of competing, winning every single Lead World Cup in 2010 except in Chamonix when she was disqualified for missing a clip. It's unheard of so far for anyone to completely sweep a World Cup Season, and had she won in Chamonix, she would have gone down in history for sure. Alas, the award was giving to the equally deserving Ramon Julian.

Yesterday brought the women's lead competition to an end, with the semi-finals in the afternoon and finals in the evening. As Greenday would put it, our "Last of the American Girls" Sasha DiGiulian continued her domination of the World Championships and qualified for yet another finals.

Watching the finals was... incredibly frustrating, not only from a spectator's point of view, but also from a competitor and a climber. The women's finals route had a big dyno to a slopey jug three-quarters of the way up, and seven of the eight finalists fell attempting this dyno. Needless to day, it was very disappointing and anti-climactic to witness this, and the final results for second through eighth had to count back to the semi-final round, which is heartbreaking for the competitors who expected to go into finals with a clean slate.

Single-handedly saving the finals was Austrian comp queen Angela Eiter who, after countless exhausting minutes of debating how to get past the slaughtering dyno, ended up ninja kicking her foot up to the slopey jug and continued upwards feet first. Had she not succeeded in this sequence it would have been the most disappointing World Cup finals ever. Maybe it still was. A seven-way tie for second sounds just as ridiculous as it was to watch, and I know many people left the venue with an unsatisfied feeling. It was heard that the intended sequence was not the way Eiter managed, but in fact the dyno, and in that case, in my opinion, it means route setting failure. The eight best lead climbers in the world were in this final, half of whom can also be dubbed some of the best boulderers in the world. (Meaning they are also powerful dynamic climbers.) If not a single one of them could complete the dyno, it shouldn't have been there.

Another frustrating aspect of watching the finals was the event commentator. The same speaker has been announcing for the past week, and it can only be described as constant, ear-splitting noise. It was impossible to cheer for the athletes over the aggrivating, unstoppable sound of this woman's voice blasting nonsense out of the speakers, and although her attempt at broken-English commentating is appreciated, many of the climbers explained that it was overbearing, annoying and distracting to them while they were on the wall. When we head to the event to watch the men's lead finals tonight I will be bringing ear plugs.

Today will round out the overall competition for me, finishing on the third discipline: speed climbing. The bouldering and lead branches were fun for me and right now I'm just looking forward to being done. :)


  1. You made the attempts on the terrrryyybbbble parta witha readya steadya goooooa come back with terrrrrifyyying accuracy......kannn sheeea doooo it? Where was the Count from Sesame Street? Did he come back in the form of the female announcer at Arco?

  2. Thx Alex - the commentator was so annoying.. "Come onee you can do itaaa".. i was nearly happy when i went home..

  3. I definitely agree for both the semifinal and the speaker...plus...as an italian, i would like to apologize with all the foreigners for her english...also a little girl from the elementary school of Arco could speak better...it's a shame that she was given the possibility to split everyone's ears. (However i was funny to hear all the disappointed comments from the people around, someone called for a sniper :P )