|All youve ever wanted to do with ice axes but never dared!
In mid-February, a strange, contorted construction greeted the visitors to Cortina dAmpezzo, in the Dolomites. Comprised of turrets, small roofs & stalactites and spray painted with red and blue lines, this "castle ", made of ice and 10 meters high, was to be the scene of the first ice bouldering competition in the world.
The rules were simple each boulder could be tried for 6 minutes only, before resting for another 6 minutes. Speed was of the essence, too, as this separated contestants with equal points. And so the participants competed over a period of three days, fighting their way through the Open and the Semi-final to reach Sundays Final.
The contestants showed great strength and determination, but above all, skill. Foot hooks, knee-bars, high steps and other sports climbing moves proved that ice climbing is by no means monotonous and mundane to the delight of the crowd and organisers. In the end, the strong French mens challenge proved unbeatable, as Jacques Perrier walked off with the title, while the womens event was won by the stylish Hungarian Ildi Kiss.
|A quick word with the winner
Jacques Perrier, winner of the mens event, was highly enthusiastic about the competition and the way it was structured, adding that it was bound to take off in France, too.
Both he and Christophe Moulin agreed that the final boulder problems were the hardest thing theyve ever done on ice. They felt that a definitive grade could probably have been put forward by Stevie Haston (who has climbed IX and X) but he was absent unfortunately due to a car crash.
(Above - the smiling winner Jacques Perrier
Below the technical director Maurizio Gallo at work, sculpting the boulder problems. It was mainly thanks to him that this event could be staged.
- photo F. Tremolada )