The 2015 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup has come to an end after six rounds in the USA, Korea, Switzerland, Italy, France and Russia. The GB Ice Climbing Team finished off the series with some promising results and great progress overall as a team, including two semi-final placings in Italy and one in Switzerland.
The final round took place in Kirov, Russia. Anna Wells placed 24th, Harry Holmes 38th, Scott Grosdanoff 44th and Dave Bowes 48th. Anna and Harry were 21st and 47th overall in the series respectively.
Anna described what sounded like a tiring journey to Kirov:
"After arriving at the airport in Moscow, we navigated the metro network to travel across the city and then joined many of the other competitors for a 14 hour journey on the Trans Siberian railway – wow!
"Qualifiers began just four hours after our train arrived in Kirov. The structure was impressive, built underneath a ski-jump. Here we had two qualifying climbs, the same for men and women, and no isolation. I found the climbs very difficult, both physically and technically, and finished 24th in a field of 34. The qualifiers continued well beyond midnight! "
Harry Holmes commented on his performance in the series: "I achieved my goal of reaching the semi finals but I hoped I would have been a bit more consistent. I've learned so much again and hope to take it into next year's competition. I will focus on rock climbing and running for the next few months."
Reflecting on the series as a whole and on her future plans, Anna added:
"Competing in the world cups over the past three months has been a phenomenal experience. I am satisfied with my overall world ranking of 21st (out of 61) but a little disappointed with my pattern of results, which went in order: 11th, 19th, 21st and 24th! Of course, I have learned so much from these experiences, and most of all I feel incredibly motivated to get much stronger for next year.
"What’s next: I study medicine at university and I have my final exams in a few months – I now have a lot of extra work to do after so much time playing! Until the summer, I will focus on running and bouldering, planning to enter the BBCs in July. I am also hoping to get in a couple of weekends of Scottish winter climbing before all the snow has melted!"
Special mention must also be made of Emma Powell, who achieved 6th place in the UIAA World Youth Ice Climbing Championships in January.
Full results and rankings can be found here.