UPDATE – more details added in places and auto-correct for words like cruxes (changed to cruxes) and dyno (changed to dyne) are fixed, I hope!
Qualifiers were held on the fairly hot day of Friday, June 1st. The venue was moved this year from basically the center of town to a soccer field parking lot a mile or so east. This lead to some grumbling, but the crowd still came out, with a constantly fluctuating number of enthusiastic spectators for qualifiers. The wall was in what I think was its best construction yet, with an interesting bent slab-to-headwall on the far right and a tall just-off-vertical slab with a kicked out section at the bottom on the far left. They had the excellent weather-protecting tent over the whole gig, meaning the wall stayed relatively shaded from the heat of the day (and later from the rain). Here is a picture:
(This picture, and all the rest in these Vail World Cup posts unless otherwise noted, was taken by and is property of Jackie Hueftle. You’re welcome to use them in online articles or forward post, just please link back to The Spot Setting Blog.)
I missed part of women’s qualifiers but came in with enough time to watch most of Team USA’s women compete. I also watched the entire men’s field, which started a couple of hours after women’s ended. Here are some notes on the men’s qualifier problems. Women’s will come tomorrow.
There were 48 male competitors.
Men’s Qualifier 1
This problem was the farthest from where I was sitting, but it was pretty easy to tell what was going on. Competitors started on the wall to the left on a white sloper volume, moved right to a big blue triangle volume, kicked feet out right to another big blue triangle volume as they matched it (for the shorter guys anyways), rocked up to stand on that volume, and mostly got stuck in a corner. Those that figured out how to extract themselves moved right to another white sloper, then used the arete and a high foot on the sloper to stand up to the finish. Some excellent competitors and decent slab climbers completely failed to do this problem. Daniel Woods is one competitor who didn’t get through it, in fact starting wrong his first try by grabbing the bonus hold. Sean McColl flashed but it took him quite a while to get out of the corner. Between the 2nd move and the volume rock out of the corner this problem seemed a little more difficult for shorter climbers than for taller ones.
Men’s Qualifier 2
This problem was quite pretty and involved starting on a huge white round volume, using technique and balance to match on a couple of neon orange myorcean features from e-grips, jumping to a tenisony stick of a large myorcean tufa pinch (the bonus), a move up and right to the giant myorcean tufa pinch, hopefully getting the foot up as a left heel or right toe and matching the giant myorcean tufa pinch (this was a crux for many as they matched with low feet and were screwed) and then getting out to the arete and then moving up to the finish or, as Carlo did, matching the giant pinch and then jumping to the finish. He is quite good at pulling a hold from over his head to his hip, and he did the move here easily that others cruxed out on. People fell from every move of this problem – a sign that it was well set.
Men’s Qualifier 3
This problem seemed to be the most difficult of the men’s qualifiers. It started low on a hand-foot match jug and a slightly higher undercling, then moved up the overhanging right arete of the central face of the wall. The crux seemed to be moving to, sticking, and then moving off the bonus. Climbers had to heel hook around the arete right, then cross right hand to the sloping bonus hold–a blue brick protruding from a volume on an overhanging face. Sticking seemed difficult, as often the right heel would blow mid move or just as they hit the hold. Matching the bonus hold was often a campus affair, and even though it looked like an easy hold for climbers of this caliber, something about the angle and lack of feet gave a lot of people trouble, and it looked difficult for even the strongest climbers. From there it was left hand to the gaston, grab the arete with right, stand tall and jump to the top. Many competitors failed on this move.
Two notable moments on this problem were when Matty Hong got his wrong hand on the gaston, and then just stepped high on bonus and casually cross-dynoed to the finish. Some of the route setters expressed surprise at that one. Matt Wilder also made a good show of it, as he got the gaston with his left (correct) and the arete with his right, and then kept somehow moving his body up until he was able to get his left foot up on the bonus hold and drop knee, moving nearly statically to the finish hold. He lurched, but it was not the dyno others had to use.
Men’s Qualifier 4
The funniest moment from Q4 to me was when Michael Bautista started wrong, twice. If you look at the start holds below you will see that the tape is a bit confusing (due to new taping rules). Michael started with his left hand on the lowest left hold (two green stripes) and with his right hand on the lowest taped hold out right. He either smear-jumped or hand-foot match-jumped or campused? (don’t remember) and hit the 2nd start hold–the highest white hold with a single strip of bright green on it. Now he was in the start that the setters intended. He was about to move to the next hold when he was called off. He got back on matched on the left hand hold (with 2 strips of tape on it) and then moved up to the high right hold (again, back to the real start) and was called down again. Third go he got on in the “right” place and quickly hiked the problem to the screams of his friends. I guess it’s the rules, but as it seems on the first and second tries he started below the actual start, then climbed into the actual start, he should have been allowed to keep going, as he’d done more work to no advantage. But rules are rules, I guess.
Men’s Qualifier 5
This problem was set by Spot Setter Jonny Hork. The problem emphasized Jonny’s style of difficult body-tension technique and hand strength. After a challenging start on an arete, the climbers hand to balance out right to an undercling and do a powerful cross off a smear rt foot and a good left dropknee to grab a small crimp on the volume. From there a difficult foot-smear match or huge step out right, then rock up right hand to the bonus hold (hidden under Andy’s hip in the below pic). From there left hand flip to tiny undercling and foot smear on the big undercling to float up to the sloper Andy is on below. Match hands, float foot, figure out the finish. You can see the full problem in the bottom of these 3 pictures.
Canadian Sean McColl was the only climber to flash all the qualifiers, so he went to semis in 1st place. Jakob Schubert did all 5 problems in 6 tries (he fell once on Q2) so he came in 2nd. Kilian came 3rd with 2 falls on problem 3 for 5 tops in 7 tries. Tyler Landman climbed absolutely last but put on a great show, flashing 1, 4, and 5 and doing prob 2 2nd try and prob 3 3rd try. Only these 4 finished all 5 problems in men’s qualifiers.
The highest placing American in quails was Matty Hong, who didn’t finish the 1st boulder but did the other 4 problems in 5 tries and got bonus on #1 his first try. It took him 2 tries to do #3.
Daniel Woods was right behind him in 8th with the same scores on probs 2-5 and 3 tries to bonus on #1. Daniel started problem 1 in the wrong place his first try, as the bonus hold was grabbable from the ground and seemed an obvious start. He was corrected by the judge and then fell again before getting to the bonus. He didn’t finish the problem, but he kept his head together for a great performance on the rest.
Men’s Full Qualifiers Results: IFSC – International Federation of Sport Climbing: Resultlist Qualification M E N bouldering
Girls quails and all semis and finals coming soon…
You probably already know this, but here are the podiums:
1. Anna Stöhr (AUT)
2. Shauna Coxsey (GBR)
3. Juliane Wurm (GER)
4. Alex Johnson (USA)
5. Alex Puccio (USA)
6. Mélanie Sandoz (FRA)
1. Kilian Fischhuber (AUT)
2. Sean McColl (CAN)
3. Jan Hojer (GER)
4. Guillaume Glairon Mondet (FRA)
5. Jakob Schubert (AUT)
6. Rei Sugimoto (JPN)
There is a lot to say about this World Cup. 8a.nu suggests it was the best World Cup so far this season.
Even if you know who won already, watching the “how” is definitely exciting. Luckily someone has captured the entire 1.5 hr live feed, with commentary, and uploaded to youtube.
Got some time? Enjoy!
More coming here soon.