The Bouldering World Cup 2011 was held at Cliffhanger in Sheffield again. Spanning two days with the men’s and women’s qualifiers held on the Saturday, with the Semi-Finals and Finals held on the Sunday. The event held at Cliffhanger is one of 7 events held worldwide seeing approximately 120 of the world’s leading boulderers battle it out for the £13,000 prize fund.
The event was housed inside a marquee sheltering the competitors from the baking sun of the weekend and still allowing a cooling breeze, providing an optimum environment for climbing. The climbing walls are set upon a raised stage area with the obligatory matting and 8 walls set at varied inclines and some with added overhangs. The routes for each wall were set with what can be described as extensively varied sets of holds.
The routes pushed the athletes to extremes of dexterity and endurance with many moves involving obscene heel hooks (seriously peoples feet should not point in some of these directions naturally) and Egyptians so compressed that would cripple most people with severe cramps. The walls had some particularly troublesome routes as in some cases no competitors or in some cases could complete them.
The finals wall took on a space theme having massive planet styled spherical volumes, with a big nod to Star Wars. A running dyno launching off what appeared to be Endor and catching a seemingly, impossibly distant Deathstar volume set at least 6-8 feet away from the launch pad for the men’s route. For the women’s a mounted dyno on one of the walls with the steepest incline. The route setter is a monster.
The finals whittled down the entrants and all the Brits, although not for a lack of trying. I thought that Shawna Coxley and Diane Merrick were both showing strong promise for the finals. It would have been good to see them content more directly with the likes of Akiyo Noguchi and Alex Puccio.
In the men’s category and now familiar Cedric Lachat gave an outstanding performance almost making the routes look too easy. Cedric also featured in the Chamonix world climbing Championships this year but didn’t perform quite as well. I would put this down to the climbers having to climb in torrential rain and wind.
I’m glad I got a firsthand chance to see both events. Not only did I come away having seen an excellent show, I got to see some world class technique in action. It’s worth while checking out other climbers climbing technique in order to get a differing angle on how it is done; this is especially applicable when you are watching top end climbers.
For regular updates on the world championships including various footage from competitions, visit the Cliffhanger and IFSC sites.