1 September 2006, Arco Casinò festival hall. Josune Bereziartu from Spain's Basque country and Angela Eiter from Austria have been awarded, respectively, the first Salewa Rock Award "to the climber who distinguished him/herself most on bolted sports routes. Both the performance and how he/she managed to influence the style and ethics of sports climbing during the two years preceding the Award will be taken into account" and the La Sportiva Competition Award "to the athlete who distinguished him/herself in competition climbing (Lead, Boulder or Speed) during 2004/2005".
The Jury - comprised of representatives of the most important climbing magazines worldwide and presided by Fabrizio Miori (Academic of the Italian Mountaineering Club (CAI) and Arco Town councellor for Sport & Tourism) - had no easy task as the list of candidates was truly superb. So much so that they need no introduction, other than their names: Daniel Andrada and Josune Bereziartu from Spain, Yuji Hirayama from Japan, Chris Sharma from the USA and Maurizio “Manolo” Zanolla from Italy for the Salewa Rock Award and Angela Eiter from Austria, Flavio Crespi from Italy and Tomasz Mrazek from the Czech Republic for the La Sportiva Competition Award. All are undoubtedly exceptional climbers, all could have won the prize. But as everyone knows, Awards are like this... after deliberating for 5 hours (considered extremely interesting both for the quality and level of the themes discussed) the Jury finally stated its verdict.
So two women take first place in the Arco Rock Legends Hall of Fame. Perhaps it didn't come about by chance therefore that this first Oscar evening was presented by Kay Rush, the famous journalist, radio and TV presenter and, above all, keen and active sports climber. Yes because, if the enthusiasm and applause for the winners and all other nominees of the Salewa Rock Award and the La Sportiva Competition Award is anything to go by, then it is the passion for climbing which unites all, without distinction, of this great vertical game that counts for more than anything else.
Complete report and photos on rockmaster.com
Arco Rock Legends 2006 - ph Giulio Malfer