|Interview with François Lombard before the Cortina Ice Boulder Final, third leg of the Ice World Cup 2000
Why did you decide to take part in ice climbing competitions?
I started by chance about 2 years ago by climbing some icefalls with Antoine Lamiche. I then took part in the selections for the French National Team and was chosen. I won in Pilztal and am obviously very pleased with this result, but I have no idea about how the World Cup will develop and whether I'll climb well.
Are ice climbing competitions easier for you than sports climbing competitions?
They are two different things entirely. I've taken part in many competitions and I'm sure that, compared to the other athletes, it's easier for me to get used to the rules and also to climb well during the actual competition. Precisely because of this long competition experience that I have.
Athletically speaking, what is the difference between sports climbing and ice climbing?
There's still a big difference between the best ice climbers and the best sports climbers, and the top level in sports climbing is a lot harder. But I think the gap is getting narrower, especially because there are more and more people specialising in dry tooling. It's still something new at the moment.
Did you train specifically for these ice climbing competitions?
No, apart from doing some icefalls I've continued to climb on rock, even though I don't know if this helps me for ice climbing... c'est tout.
What do you think about dry tooling?
I haven't done many routes but I see it as something positive which is neither just rock climbing nor just ice climbing. It's new and very interesting.
Will it be possible for athletes to compete in both climbing and ice climbing competitions?
It's possible, it's just a question of being motivated enough. They aren't incompatible, and I think that ice climbing is good training to start off the sports climbing season - ice routes tend to be very physical and pumpy, meaning that you get in shape earlier on in the season.
Will we see you again in sports climbing competitions?
Maybe, but not as often as in the past. Perhaps I'll take part in really motivating competitions such as the Rockmaster in Arco, but I think I'm a bit ... too old to do the entire World Cup.
What do you think of the Ice Boulder in Cortina?
"Super". It's really something different - you have to do new moves and climb in a completely different way. You have to be really concentrated because it's not easy to climb well on this type of structure. You're forced to do things you've never done on ice before, things that I'd never thought of when I first started ice climbing.