The third IFSC Lead World Cup in as many weeks took us down to Briançon, the sleepy capital of the southern Alps. The town will be familiar to most mountain people because it's surrounded by a seemingly endless array of climbs and ski tours. La Grave, the granite slabs of Ailefroide and the ice climbing mecca Freissinières are all less than 45 minutes away and the high peaks of the Écrins are on the doorstep. The road biking is apparently pretty good too but my one time trying that sport was plenty for me. Basically, it's a great place for lovers of the outdoors, and everyone involved with the IFSC seems to enjoy visiting.
I think Sean McColl's scream was releasing the adrenaline of not being able to make the clip, then climbing past it to the limits of what is allowed and safe in an ifsc comp before taking a massive whipper.... I'm pretty sure I'd have been pretty ramped up in his situation too!
Good write-up, Charlie. Thanks.
> I'm sure the same is true in all high level sports, and it feels like climbing has some way to go on that front. We might not all like the brutality of win-at-all-costs sport, but if we're going to be a professional sport, that's the reality of it; no consistently popular and successful sport is anything other than competitive and ruthless at its core.
You sound as if you think that might be in some way a healthy and desirable direction for climbing to go. Perhaps not an entirely uncontroversial position?
It's not so much that I think it's desirable, more a reality of all high-level, professional sports. If climbing is to become one of those sports, I think "total competition" (as Ross Brawn calls it in F1) is inevitable.
Although I accept that it's a controversial position!
what I felt was "missing" from climbing right now and I said that it was the universal desire to win.
Bit of a contradiction? If its universal how can it be missing? Anyway I am glad it is missing, but I do think it will become more present as the sport 'develops'. The outcome of becoming an Olympic event where national prestige and individual glory often seem to rule.
On a separate note I was surprised Janja was the oldest female in the finals at the grand old age of 20!!
Is the average age of male pro competition climbers higher than that for women? I see Adam Ondra and Alex Megos are 26 and Sean McColl is 32!!
> We might not all like the brutality of win-at-all-costs sport, but if we're going to be a professional sport, that's the reality of it; no consistently popular and successful sport is anything other than competitive and ruthless at its core.
...very sobering comments and it seems inevitable. My bet is that the first top-level doping case in climbing will be in the next couple of years
Probably should have worded that better. I meant that the desperate desire to win is only present in some climbers but is not universal.