Ice Climbing at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

 

Ice Climbing at the Sochi Winter Olympics from UIAA - Mountaineering & Climbing on Vimeo.

Ice Climbing Festival | Highlights from UIAA - Mountaineering & Climbing on Vimeo.

The dream of the UIAA – International Mountaineering and Climbing to one day have ice climbing as part of the Winter Olympics received a huge boost when the sport was featured at Olympic Park during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Part of the Ice Climbing Festival, it included a Speed wall and a Lead structure, built with the generous support of sponsor Sberbank, which saw thousands of visitors witness ice climbing and dry tooling for the first time.

At the centre of it all was a group of international and Russian climbers from the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup who wowed spectators with their abilities.

The format was a dual lead route with two athletes climbing similar routes at the same time. The same was the case for the Speed wall. Two people competing against each, the first one to reach the top wins.

UIAA president Frits Virjlandt who took a crack at climbing the ice wall said it was a thrill to see ice climbing being demonstrated at Olympic Park and watch the crowds of visitors who enjoyed the spectacle.

"We have our own Olympic ambition,” said Frits Vrijlandt, adding any exposure of ice climbing to the world raises the profile of the sport. "What happened in Sochi can only be good for us."

Reaching for the top in Sochi (Photo: Lukasz Warzecha for UIAA)

The UIAA contingent gathers around the Olympic rings in Sochi (Photo: Lukasz Warzecha for UIAA)

The 2014 UIAA Ice Climbing World takes place in six countries: Cheongsong (Korea), Busteni (Romania), Saas Fee (Switzerland), Champagny-en-Vanoise (France) and Ufa (Russia).

Winners are declared at each stage of the competition and overall champions based on a cumulative point system are announced at the end of the season.

The recent addition of an inaugural UIAA-styled event in Bozeman, Montana is an encouraging sign for the possible inclusion of the U.S. event in the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Tour.

The UIAA also organises the World Youth Ice Climbing Championships. An inaugural completion was held in 2013 in Saas Grund, Switzerland while the 2014 event took place in Champagny-en-Vanoise, France.
 
Archive of stories from Sochi:

Olympic officials praise UIAA for role in display of ice climbing at Winter Olympics (8 April 2014)

Para-iceclimbing makes its debut in Ufa, Russia (7 March 2014)

Ice climbing draws attention in Sochi (25 February 2014)

Canadians soar in what could be new Olympic sport (23 February 2014)

NBC reporter Blake Essig challenges Ivan Spitsin to a friendly ice climbing duel (19 February 2014)

Marc Beverly and Alexey Tomilov demonstrate Lead in Sochi
(12 February 2014)

Olympic Blog: Amercian reporter challenges Russia's Ivan Spitsin on the wall, CTV News covers Nathan, Jen and Gord and other updates from Sochi (7 February - 20 February 2014)