This weekend, the first of six events in the 2019 Ice Climbing World Cup tour took place in Cheongsong, South Korea. Ice climbers competed in speed and lead, and although the podiums were dominated by Russian and Korean athletes, the Americans Kevin Lindlau and Kendra Stritch turned in excellent performances
Stritch came in eighth in somen’s speed and 27th in women’s lead. She made history in 2015 by becoming the first American to win gold in a UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup in women’s speed in Bozeman, Montana. This year, she lost in the quarter finals to Ekaterina Koshcheeva, who clocked the fastest women’s time in the competition at 7.87 seconds. Koshcheeva went on to compete in the finals with fellow Russian, Maria Tolokonina, who ultimately brought home the gold with final times of 8.03 and 8.48, for a 16.51 total time. Two climbs take place each round, with two athletes racing each time. Each athlete’s time is recorded and combined for their final time in each round. Maryam Filippova came in third with a cumulative time of 18.96 seconds in her two laps, making for an all-Russian podium.
Tolokonina snatched a second gold in the women’s lead category, followed by Wooneson Shin of Korea, and Han Na Rai Song, also of Korea.
Kevin Lindlau of Durango, Colorado, also held his own in the men’s lead finals where he was the only athlete not from South Korea or Russia. Lindlau coaches a youth team back home, and won the North American Climbing Championships/Great Lakes Mixed Comp in March 2018 in Fenton, Michigan.
Nikolai Kuzovlev of Russia won gold, while HeeYong Park and Younggeon Lee, both from Korea, took home silver and bronze, respectively.
Anton Nemov of Russia won the gold in Men’s Speed from the defending world champion, Kuzovlev, who claimed second, with a combined final speed of 12.83. Vladislav Lurlov, also of Russia, took bronze.
The next Ice Climbing World Cup will be held in Beijing from January 18 to 20.