The Rab CWIF 2017: The Line Up

The annual Rab Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF) takes place this weekend on 18-19th March. An all-star line-up is promised as usual, with a few surprises and names to watch out for. Bouldering World Cup Champion Jongwon Chon of Korea leads the pack, joined by previous CWIF champions Alex Megos, Sean McColl and Jernej Kruder. The women's event will see a new CWIF Champion crowned in the absence of Shauna 'Miss CWIF' Coxsey. Petra Klingler and Melissa Le Nevé lead a strong female field.

Michaela Tracy pulling hard at the Rab CWIF 2016, 96 kb
Michaela Tracy pulling hard at the Rab CWIF 2016
© Band of Birds

No male CWIF Champion has ever retained his title. Will it happen in 2017?

The Rab CWIF traditionally announces the start of the IFSC Bouldering World Cup season, providing viewers a chance to hedge their bets leading up to the start of the season. The Rab CWIF also presents athletes the opportunity to have additional competition practice under World Cup rules. 2016 World Cup Champion and 5-time CWIF Champion Shauna Coxsey has chosen to miss the event in favour of fully recuperating before the 2017 season, following her shoulder injury and surgery late last year.

In typical CWIF style, the problems will be creatively set by a highly experienced routesetting team headed up by IFSC Chief routesetter, Percy Bishton. He will also be joined by two more IFSC Chief routesetters (Jamie Cassidy & Manu Hassler) so be sure to expect the unexpected, such as THAT move performed by Rustam Gelmanov last year:

To find out more about each athlete and who is competing, follow The Climbing Works on instagram, Facebook or Twitter, for unique content in the run-up to the event.

As usual, however, the Rab CWIF is not just for the WADS (the strong ones). The event offers a unique qualification format on the Saturday that allows punters everyday climbers the chance to compete amongst athletes at the top of the sport. 450 competitors are split into 3 qualification sessions that then get whittled down to 20 Semi-Finalists. During the qualification sessions all climbers attempt the same problems, meaning regular weekend warriors can climb at the same time and challenge themselves on the same problems as the climbing elite. For those who don't want to take it too seriously, there is a fancy dress competition and special off-piste problems during the 3rd session only for those who want to wait until darkness falls to show off their costumes.

Fancy Dress at the CWIF: A tradition, 180 kb
Fancy Dress at the CWIF: A tradition
© Band of Birds

The Semis and the Finals will be livestreamed on Sunday 19th March (at noon & 18:10 respectively) on The Climbing Works' YouTube channel and on The Climbing Works Facebook page.

Sam Whittaker, the CWIF Festival Director says:

"Every year The CWIF has got bigger and better and for our 10th year the partnership with Rab brought it to another level. It was hard to imagine at first how we could top that but we've worked hard to put together another top competitor list and we are excited at hosting another wonderful CWIF."

Check out the CWIF trailer and some of the short videos introducing the stars of this year's CWIF below:

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