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Ramon Julien Puigblanque
Photo by Giulio Malfer
Jain Kim
Photo by Giulio Malfer
Cédric Lachat
Photo by Giulio Malfer
Anna Stöhr
Photo by Giulio Malfer

Rock Master 2010 - all the competitions in the run up to the Climbing World Championship 2011


Puigblanque (ESP) and Kim (KOR) won the 25th Rock Master Lead in Arco. Lachat (SUI) and Stöhr (AUT) were victorious in the Bouldering competition, while the Speed gold medal went to Hroza (CZE) and He (CHN) and Team Spedwas won by China. The Lead Duel was won by Ondra (CZE) and Posch (AUT) while Graftiaux (BEL) and McColl (CAN) won the Combined event. Jenny Lavarda and Stefano Ghisolfi the best Italians in 2nd place in the Combined.

Three days like these are a record. For the number of different discipline (5 in total: Lead, Boulder Speed, Lead Duel and the novelty Team Speed) but also for the number of competition stages (27, counting both the men and the women). And also for the scorching temperatures in the Climbing Stadium, which made the athletes - in particular the boulderers - and the spectators themselves the true heroes. Talking of which, the number of people who came to watch the Lead finals on Saturday evening was outstanding. And it proved to be a fantastic event! Also because the Climbing Stadium, in it's pre-World Championship best, presented itself with a new covered bouldering wall and a new wall for the Team Speed. And there are of course many other novelties in store for the IFSC World Championship 2011. For all the results of this special Rock Master which welcomed a huge number of athletes (240) and which was brought forward to July in order to prepare as best possible for next year's schedule, check out the reports of the Finals published below.

All the information regarding the various competition stages, videos and photos can be found on www.arco2011.it, the official website of the Climbing World Championship run by us, the editors of Planetmountain.

Lead Final Men and Women - Rock Master 2010
The great Lead Final soirée exalted the Arco Rock Master to the max. And its heroes are Ramon Julian Puigblanque from Spain and Jain Kim from Korea. It all happened on Saturday night in a Climbing Stadium filled to the brim, fever-pitch and ready to go on a memorable journey. Because it seemed as if everyone was really there, on the immense wall, side by side with the athletes. To defy the law of gravity. To overcome those incredible difficulties which barred the way to the sky, to the end of the route. Wow!
The evening began with the women’s final. The route was long, a massacre, difficult. It explored with wise twists and turns the massive wall on the left before exiting through the large roof to reach the top. Caroline Civaldini, the first out, climbed high. But one thing was clear from the outset: the journey through that roof was going to be a long one. Excellent Christine Schranz from Austria immediately explored the next section. Then it was Frenchwoman Alizée Dufraisse’s turn, but she was halted just beneath the highpoint. Not even Mina Markovic from Slovenia managed to do better. The crowd tried to understand, wanted to explore those holds hitherto untouched. Expectations were high and palpable. Like the desire to see beyond, past the immense roof. So when the surprising Austrian Katharina Posch climbed high, higher than all the rest, it was like an act of liberation. But there was no time to rest as Angela Eiter was ready at the starting block, roaring to go. A miracle was expected of the 4 times Rock Master winner. And Eiter proved magical, climbing at her very limit, fighting to the max, in true Eiter style. She climbed high, past the rest, then battled hard and gave more than she had: magnificent, but Posch still led the field by a hair’s breadth. This provisional result remained unchanged even after Alexandra Eyer. The Swisswoman was on great form and when she was up there, just benath the highpoint, everyone was convinced that she’d climb higher. But things turned out differently, the route took no prisoners, all that was needed was the slightest of distractions and Alexandra fell down. Posch remained provisional first, followed by Eiter… The competition was now in its final stage, only Jain Kim was still to come after having produced the best result in the Semifinal, after having achieved the only top. Everyone hoped for another miracle. The crowd believed. And Jain believed in it too, climbing effortlessly, weightlessly upwards. Past all the rest and onwards, upwards. The crowd spurred her on and then, when she fell just beneath the top, it exploded with joy. Great Jain Kim! What a spectacle! The Korean won the 24th Rock Master, ahead of Katharina Posch and Angela Eiter.
There was no time for the excitement to ebb as the men’s final began in earnest. With the reigning World Champion Patxi Usobiaga. And, immediately, a first surprise. The Basque climber fell extremely low, at the first filter. These things happen. But when Canadian Sean McColl fell even lower, and then, in rapid succession, both Romain Desgranges from France and Cédric Lachat from Switzerland fell at Usobiaga’s highpoint, the stadium no longer knew what to think. Was the route set badly? Perhaps Lachat and McColl were feeling the effects of the double-whammy bouldering + lead? All doubts were whisked aside when Sachi Amma from Japan climbed in perfect style past that terrible section. And he then continued his journey upwards, to the start of the roof, before falling. The crowd went wild: they’d understood that the adventure would continue and that the journey would go the full distance. Jakob Schubert immediately showed the way. The 20-year-old Austrian climbed perfectly and ever upwards, past Amma’s highpoint and the lip of the route. Fantastic. The crowd dreamt of a top and now believed it was in the climber’s grasp. Also because next up was Adam Ondra, the 17-year-old monster who had produced a miracle top in the Semifinal. Adam lived up to expectations and climbed rapidly past the first crux, like a train in motion. Almost too fast though, because all of sudden he fell, lower than Schubert. But once again there was no time to stop and think, next in line was Ramón Julian Puigblanque, the king of Rock Master and an absolute ace of Lead competitions. And he proved spectacular right from hold one. An incredible spectacle, as Ramonet sent one move after the next with impressive ease. Leaving no hope for the others as he climbed past the rest. And then, just as the Climbing Stadium seemed to erupt, he started a magnificent battle for the final holds, stroking the top with a desperate dyno. Before falling down, in free flight, while the crowd offered him a standing ovation for this 5th Rock Master victory. Puigblanque finished first, ahead of Jakob Schubert and Adam Ondra. What a beautiful journey. One to be remembered for a long time to come!

Bouldering Final Men - Rock Master 2010
When the boulders get tough, the tough get going! And Cédric Lachat proved to be a true champion in this extremely difficult final. Determination and incredible power were needed today, and the Swissman certainly gave it all he had, like a real fighter. After the tour du force of these 3 days, which saw him qualify and compete in both the Bouldering and Lead disciplines, this morning Lachat produced a miracle, winning the Rock Master Boulder 2010 with two tops. He was followed in second place, with just one top, by the extremely strong Russian Rustam Gelmanov. Third place, with one top but two more attempts, went to Tsukuru Hori from Japan, another one of those athletes who arrived in Arco in splendid form.
Lachat, the man who never gives up, won by topping out on #2 in 5 attempts and clinching #4 in 4 attempts. Those two problems, like the others, were beautiful, difficult and… impossible. In some respects a paradigm of the bouldering game, where what is fascinating is the fact that these seem to be riddles without solutions. All of the finalist gave it everything they had to solve these “mysteries”. And the crowd never stopped supporting them and never ceased to be amazed by the inventions and their efforts. Today the athletes pulled out all the tricks possible and imaginable from the bouldering hat.
All athletes were amazing this morning. Lachat for the determination which drove him to his physical limit, and beyond it! Rustam Gelmanov for his power and certain incredible moves. Tsukuru Hori for his intensity. Frenchamn Francois Kaiser for his age (a mere 17) and the regularity and power which resulted in his top on #2 in 5 attempts, which netted him 4th overall. Kilian Fischhuber and Klemen Becan were just as impressive and applauded just as much. The Austrian finished 5th, while the Slovenian placed 6th – he too failed to top out but his horizontal position on #3 was nothing short of incredible. Kilian repeatedly got to a hair’s breadth from the top but every time this eluded him… But this is what bouldering is about. But above all, this was the day of incredible and unreachable Cédric Lachat!

Bouldering Final Women - Rock Master 2010
It all boiled down to the final problem. This has never been truer than in the grand female bouldering final. It went down to the wire, on the 4th and last problem, and it was an impeccable, superb Anna Stöhr who came up trumps. It comes as no surprise that the Austrian has won the bouldering event here in Arco three times previously, and today proved to be a thrilling head-to-head against the strong Ukranian Olga Shalagina and the magnificent Japanese Akiyo Noguchi, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. But it was also a head-to-head against Russian Olga Bibik who just missed out on not only the podium, but also overall victory. Yes because all four athletes sent 2 of the 4 problems, and were only separated by the number of attempts needed.
Stöhr’s competition was magnificent and victory came after an impressive comeback, since while she failed on problems #1 and #2, Olga Bibik started with all guns blazing, sending problem #1 – the only athlete to manage this feat. This was a true lesson of balance, flexibility and total concentration, so much so that the Russian asked the spectators for silence… fantastic.
Bibik was the one to watch out for on problem #2 with her top 4th go. Only Olga Shalagina, another veteran of the world cup circuit did better than her by topping out 2nd go. All the others failed to top out. But then came problem #3 and the tides turned. Bibik failed to make headway, Stöhr on the other hand waltzed up first attempt, just like Shalagina. This problem was also sent by Noguchi (2nd attempt) and Chloé Graftiaux (3 attempt), while Mina Markovic from Slovenia remained empty handed.
This all paved the way for the grand finale. The last problem required pure power but also a great dose of flexibility and technique to stick the final moves and reach the top. Excellent footwork was needed to place them high into a “terrible compression”, while finding just the right position to balance the body. Neither Graftiaux nor Shalagina nor Markovic managed to solve the riddle. Above all though, nor did Bibik, who also injured her shoulder during one of the numerous attempts to stick the starting dyno.
At this point Stöhr had the chance for victory, if she sent the problem first go she’d win. With in-born class Stöhr did just this, the “game” was solved with disarming ease. It was now Noguchi’s turn to battle for a podium position and the Japanese champion didn’t wait to be asked twice. After asking for the crowd’s support she sent the problem 3rd go, winning bronze. Beautiful!

Speed - Rock Master 2010
The first day of the Rock Master concluded with the lightening fast sprinters. World class lightening strikes in the form of Czech climber Libor Hroza in the men's comp, and Cuilian He from China in the women's event.
In the final duel, the one which decided the winner, Hroza beat Russian counterpart Stanislav Kokorin in 6”71. While in the battle for third place Qixin Zhong won bronze in 7”29, beating his teammate Ning Zhang who finished in 11'56.
In the women's final He gave her adversaries no hope of victory, and Olga Morozkina topped out in 11”75, compared to He's 10”96. The battle for third and fourth place was won by Lucelia Blanco from Venezuela who finished in 11”90 while Edyta Ropek didn't conclude her race after slipping on her way up. Italy's colours were defended by Arco local Sara Morandi who not only placed 8th but also set a new Italian record.

Duel - Rock Master 2010
The last waltz of Rock Master 2010, which acted as the prologue to the IFSC World Championship 2011 in Arco, was all about the great Lead Duel. A final swing, one against the other, at full speed with the magnificent 8 +8 finalists of the Rock Master Lead. The excruciating race up the massive Climbing Stadium wall was won by a lightening fast Adam Ondra, while the women’s event was won by another youngster, Katharina Posch from Austria, one of the best surprises of this Rock Master.
In the battle for first place Ondra beat Sean McColl from Canada, who won silver, while in the duel for bronze Jakob Schubert from Austria beat Frenchman Romain Desgranges. Katharina Posch won gold by beating the Korean Jain Kim, while Alexandra Eyer from Switzerland beat Alizée Dufraisse in the battle for third place.
This is how the special 2010 Rock Master came to an end. It proved to be an impressive dress rehearsal for next year’s World Championship. The date for Arco is 15 to 24 July 2011, for 9 days of world-class climbing!

Videos and photos can be found on www.arco2011.it





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