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Rock Master 2012, Boulder
Photo by Giulio Malfer
Rock Master 2012, Boulder
Photo by Giulio Malfer
Rock Master 2012, Boulder
Photo by Giulio Malfer
Rock Master 2012, Lucas Preti
Photo by Giulio Malfer
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Dmitrii Sharafutdinov and Alex Puccio win Rock Master Boulder 2012


2/09/2012. At the Arco Climbing Stadium Alex Pucciogtom America won the Rock Master Boulder 2012, beating Melissa Le Neve (Fra) and Katharina Saurwein (Aut). Russia's Dmitrii Sharafutdinov won the men's event by beating his teammateRustam Gelmanov and Slovenia's Klemen Becan.

Rock Master Boulder - women's event
First out was Juliane Wurm who seemed to send the first problem with ease, and while this proved a good warm-up for Melissa Le Neve and Alex Puccio, Katharina Saurwein struggled a bit but then sent it, too. Next out were the three who had made their way from Friday’s Open and along came the first little surprise: Olga Iakovleva who had done so well in the qualification failed on her first attempt. As did Valey Kremer and Annalisa De Marco. So the battle was now on between these last three. Ikovleva rescued herself by sending the problem second go, Kremer then climbed high while De Marco fell low: she was the first to be eliminated. Yes, evidently this first problem was set well: two small volumes which needed to be dominated to then grab the two black holds which led to the top… “easy” for the first 4 but a significant test for the others.

Things changed on problem #2. Became far more complicated, more acrobatic. The menu included getting established on the star-shaped volume to reach two completely smooth, parallel volumes and then dyno to the top. Everyone tried and tried again but no one managed to unlock the problem. The last move was that dyno into nothing, and ensuing landing onto the mattress, which Melissa Le Neve hit face on, though thankfully without serious consequences. Yes, here the going got tough, to reach the last hold the athletes really needed to fly. And while Puccio and Kremer failed to even get set for the dyno on their first attempt, Iakovleva was suddenly inspired and discovered how to shuffle her feet upwards. A great move and fantastic idea since the dyno was shorter and the top… hers! This was Iakovleva at her best, the one we’d become accustomed to during the Open. And this happened to also be the only top, forcing Kremer to leave the stage.

Problem #3 was about pure power. A battle past large volumes, matching hand and feet, pinches and deep lock-offs. Katharina Saurwein and Alex Puccio had no trouble whatsoever and sent this straight off, demonstrating that where raw power is needed they can be of help. Le Neve for her part got close to the top but although she failed to send it, she forced Wurm and Iakovleva to take a bow and exit.

Final problem. The decisive boulder. With only three athletes left. Le Neve, Puccio and Saurwein. This problem proved even stiffer still, combining raw power with a double-dyno. Which Alex Puccio dealt witheffortlessly, reaching the top in a blink of an eye and demonstrating winning grit and power. This is how things would then end: Melissa Le Neve and Katharina Saurwein, now under pressure, failed to send the problem, with Le Neve climbing highest to finish second, while Katharina Saurwein placed third. So Alex Puccio from Texas, 23-years-old and sixth in the world ranking, is the winner of Rock Master Boulder 2012. Or, as some commented, the first of these “flying boulder probelms”.

Rock Master Boulder - men's event
Place 11 climbers in front of 5 really difficult bouldes. Allow them to work the problems. Then throw them into a competition with the KO System: at every problem the worst climber is eliminated. 3 attempts are allowed for each problem and the sheet is wiped clean at every new step of the way, up to the final problem where a mere three athletes remain. A formula which is almost cruel, just like a K.O.

This was the closing competition of the Rock Master Festival and 11 athletes had risen to the occasion. Jure Becan (Slo), Stefan Scarperi (Ita), Mauricio Huerta (Mex) and Jernej Kruder (Slo) had earned their place after coming all the way from the Open, and they were in good company in the form of reigning bouldering champion and vice champion Dmitrii Sharafutdinov and Rustam Gelmanov. And also Jakob Schubert (Aut), who had just untied as the winner of the Lead Duel after an authentic vertical marathon of two fantastic Lead performances (which netted him 2nd overall). And of course there was one of Italy’s best, Lucas Preti, “veteran” Klemen Becan (elder brother of Jure), Lukas Ennemoser (Aut) and Nicky de Leeuw (Ned).

The comp got underway with of a sort of test of power applied to balance. A start which was not particularly devastating, but nevertheless everyone knew: even the slightest mistake could cost dearly and result in immediate exclusion. This first problem would filter three competitors and Gelmanov, Schubert, Preti, Jure Becan and Huerta played safe by topping out first go. Sharafutdinov and Klemen Becan sent this second go, while Ennemoser just managed the send on his third attempt. Despite climbing high Scarperi, de Leeuw and Kruder saw their hopes dashed and were eliminated.

Problem #2 was for masters of balance and suppleness, breaching the enormous round yellow volume was a real test. But not for Sharafutdinov who flashed it, and neither for Gelmanov and Jure Becan who managed to send it second go. Klemen Becan, Jakob Schubert and Lucas Preti held their nerve and topped out on their last go. Total suspense, a fantastic show. To which Scarperi bid his farewell despite climbing high.

Now it was time for problem #3. Only 6 climbers remained. The theme at this station was balancing up the smooth, parallel volumes followed by some powerful lock-offs and a great finishing dyno. This was immediately interpreted perfectly by the usual suspects, namely Sharafutdinov, Gelmanov and Schubert. For their part, Klemen Becan and Preti managed to climb past the dodgy moves but missed out on the top and finished joint equal on the same hold. So 5 climbers qualified for the next problem and they all waved goodbye to only Jure Becan who had reached the same height in 3 attempts, instead of their 2.

Boulder #4 required magic combined with special, bear-like strength to get through the compression start. These were just the ingredients which an inspired Gelmanov managed to pull out of the hat on his second attempt. The crowd responded with a standing ovation. Klemen Becan managed the start, continued up high but fell just short of the top. Sharafutdinov didn’t manage the send, and fared only slightly better than Schubert and Preti to qualify for the 5th problem. Which meant that Preti and Schubert, unfortunately, were out of the running.

Problem #5 was spectacular and impossible. A dyno of which dreams are made of. In this case the crux was a long double-dyno leftwards; load like a spring, leap, “bounce” off the smooth intermediate volume and then land on the next volume which, obviously, is extremely difficult to stick at speed. A great problem, in the truest sense of the word. Sharafutdinov, Becan and Gelmanov gave it all they had but their three attempts netted them nothing: a flight, a slight touch of the hold and… an abrupt landing on the mattress down below. Then came the turning point. After having changed the hold slightly the climbers could now battle it out to the bitter end. And Sharafutdinov, finally, stuck the hold. Despite not climbing much higher, he had done more than enough: he won the Rock Master Boulder 2012, while Rustam Gelmanov and Klemen Becan placed joint 2nd.

Results women Rock Master Boulder 2012
1 Alex Puccio USA
2 Melissa Le Neve FRA
3 Katharina Saurwein AUT
4 Juliane Wurm GER
5 Olga Iakovleva RUS
6 Valery Kremer ISR
7 Annalisa De Marco ITA

Results men Rock Master Boulder
1 Dmitrii Sharafutdinov RUS
2 Rustam Gelmanov RUS
2 Klemen Becan SLO
4 Jakob Schubert AUT
2 Lucas Preti ITA
6 Jure Becan SLO
7 Lukas Ennemoser AUT
8 Mauricio Huerta MEX
9 Stefan Scarperi ITA
10 Nicky de Leeuw NED
11 Jernej Kruder SLO






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