Results and calendar

'98 - '00
Ice World Cup Cortina - Dolomiti
Interview with Will Gadd, Max Berger, founder and organiser of the Ice World Cup

Why did you decide to make a World Cup circuit?

    I started to compete three yeas ago and there were different competitions in different countries and the rules were not the same. The idea of having five or six competitions that formed a World Cup circuit had been in the back of my mind for a long time.

How difficult was it to find organisers and sponsors?

    Finding organisers was not difficult as ice climbers are like members of a large family – everybody likes to work together. It is as if everyone had a similar idea, but needed someone to connect them all together.
    Sponsorship though is not easy. The budget this year is very small, but we are already working very hard for next year. The problem is finding a sponsor for the entire circuit, and also that the public knows very little about ice climbing, people don’t really understand the minimum. This first year is dedicated to educating them about ice climbing.
    After Pilztal we were in a really good mood, because we featured on 20 international channels, from Eurosport to the BBC. The IWC is something new and the media like it. Not only the TV, but also print media – big newspapers! So the start is good

Is this first year in some ways experimental?

    In one way, yes, to see how people react and how the rules work. But for me its not an experiment. It is something which has started and will continue – because I can see the climbers’ and spectators’ big interest. I plan to continue.

There are six stages in this year’s World Cup. Are there plans to add more stages to the circuit?

    Yes. We have an offer to stage a competition in Quebec, which is obviously very important for N. America. We wanted to hold an event there this year, but it proved impossible, because of the distance and lack of contacts. Now though it looks like we should be OK for next year. We also have the British proposal of holding a competition on chalk and this would be really fantastic!This could be a good start to the next season.

This is the World Cup. Have you thought about holding a World Championship?

    We have already thought about this, and next year we want to make one of the competitions the World Championships. The idea is to move the World Championships to an established venue every second year.

What are your thoughts on the boulder formula here in Cortina?

    This is quite clearly the future. Absolutely. Boulders are good for the spectators because there’s so much going on, and they are very interesting for the climbers, too.
    Big competition walls like in sports climbing are not possible because of the lack of money and I feel that towers are old fashioned: they are a lot of work and can never be made very steep. So next year in Pilztal we still plan to have the 25m tower, but with boulder structures around it.

There is some debate about the validity of some of the IWC rules. Can you comment on this?

    Well, we’ve had the leash/not leash discussion. We have now reached the third competition – everyone can see that this was the perfect decision.
    At the moment the lines are being debated. If we had lots of money we could make an enormous structure and not need lines at all, but this just isn’t the case.

Some people were upset about rule concerning touching outside the line, for example with the elbow.

    I think the rules are very clear and easy to understand. Don’t touch outside the line and you’re fine. The idea of “useful movement” would generate far more discussion. What is useful? What isn’t? And so on.
    I’ve seen that 98% of all climbers accept the rules, are really happy with the competitions and they know now not to step on the lines.

Ice axe design has changed rapidly, especially as a result of the no leash rule. Many competitors have grips that lock the fingers in place. Can you comment on this?

    Well, I have to say that we are not the Formula One, where there are strict rules for everything. We let some things pass; we do not want to impose a limit of 1 or 2 cm for fingerlocks, but at some point, like with the leashes, we have to say stop.

Will the IWC have to deal with this in the future?

    I think that all manufacturers are looking into good solutions to improve the grip. We will probably accept what the manufacturers produce.
    A final thing I would like to add - recently there have been many repeats of hard mixed routes without leashes – and this is the growing trend. I personally feel that climbing mixed routes with leashes is like aid climbing!

Thanks alot and good luck with the rest of the tour.

Comments and results
Will Gadd
Daniel Dulac
François Lombard
Maurizio Gallo
Max Berger

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