|Ice World Cup, Cortina
Saturday 29 January. The Semi-finals of the Cortina Ice Boulder, the third event in the Ice World Cup 2000, are to be held today. Behind the Rifugio Faloria the Mountain Guides of Cortina, with the help of the route setters Roberto Mantovani, Manu Ibarra and the competition director Maurizio Gallo, add their finishing touches after having worked until 1.00am the night before. This hard work has brought its rewards, for their ice structure is a small jewel of caverns, towers, three wooden boards for technical drytooling and long, steep overhangs.
Thirteen women start the day off, contending for 8 places in the Final. Immediately put to the test by three highly technical and physical boulders, it soon becomes clear who is "in charge"; Kim Csismazia, demonstrating a clear superiority, is the only athlete to top out on all three problems. She is followed by the Hungarian Ildi Kiss and, much to her own surprise, the local Mountain Guide Nadia Dima, making her debut in ice climbing competitions. She is followed by the other finalists, Rina Ryznenicova, Marg Kolodkina, Lidia Frolova, Alenka Jerola and M. Pierre Dufrene.
The men's problems, long, steep and spectacular, are obviously very hard indeed. The Canadian Will Gadd, fired up and super charged, is the first to climb all three boulders and his feat is repeated only by François Lombard who, almost impassively, cruises through the problems. The other athletes to qualify for Sunday's Final are Dimitri Bytchokow, Mauro Bole, Daniel Dulac, Massimo Da Pozzo, Stephan Husson and Bruno Rudisser.
Unfortunately the day was marred by an unfortunate incident: an athlete, upon failing to hook the final hole after having previously been stopped by the jury for a boundary infringement, hurled his ice axe down in anger, unintentionally striking one of the officials. Luckily he needed only 10 stitches to his head, but what happened must surely to be condemned, and the athlete himself, visible shocked, is the first to acknowledge this.
Sunday 30 January. Although it's snowing heavily the athletes don't seem bothered in the slightest. Perhaps because they're used to these sorts of conditions, or perhaps because they've got other, far more important thoughts on their minds.
As usual the women start off the day, and as usual there are three boulders to climb. The first is easy and five athletes top out, so all attention shifts to the decisive final two problems. The second problem eliminates all but Csismazia, Kiss and Dimai, but in the end Kim Csismazia demonstrates her class and ability by being the only athlete to complete the final problem. An excellent Nadia Dimai finishes a close second, followed by Ildi Kiss third.
After a short break it's the men's turn and, needless to say, the problems are hard. Will Gadd's shout and jubilant smile at the top of drytooling boulder No. 2 shows how intense the competition is, but the final problem has yet to be climbed, and the final athlete, François Lombard, has yet to climb. By topping out on this overhanging column, which leads via a suspended traverse to the highest point on the wall, he could clinch the competition. He gives it his all, fighting his way high to just before the top, but then falls.
And so it is Will Gadd who snatches victory and now leads the World Cup ranking. Second place goes to Daniel Dulac, author of a technically perfect second boulder problem, while François Lombard places third and thus moves into second place overall. The Italian Mauro Bole, who in recent weeks has made a name for himself for hard onsights, places fourth.
Thanks and congratulations go to the organisers and creators of this bouldering competition in Cortina which, for the second year running, is the only competition of its kind. Once again this formula has proved to be highly successful, for athletes and spectators alike were highly enthusiastic about the event. An event which shows just how fast this sport is evolving, and to what levels.
|From top to bottom: the competition wall - Simone Moro during the Open - Bubu Bole during the Open - Daniel Dulac in the Final.|