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Coloradans Dominate at 2018 North American Ice Climbing Championships

Warm conditions put an interesting spin on the speed comp, but the 32 athletes at the Championships made the most of it.

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Rebecca Lewis of Canada on the lead finals route. Lewis won gold in the event. Photo: Carter Stritch/USA Ice Climbing.

At the same time that Claire Buhrfeind was sweeping the gold medals at USA Climbing’s 2018 Sport and Speed Climbing Nationals this past weekend, Kevin Lindlau, out of Durango, Colorado, was doing the same at the 2018 UIAA North American Ice Climbing Championships in Fenton, Michigan.

There were 32 athletes competing in the speed and lead events at the Championships. Lindlau took first in both the men’s competitions, while his fellow Coloradan, Catalina Shirley, won the women’s speed competition. At the 2017 Championships, Lindlau finished in second in lead. Shirley recently competed at the 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing World Youth Championships, where she competed in both speed and lead, finishing in 6th and 11th places, respectively. Rebecca Lewis claimed Canada’s only gold of the Championships with her first place finish in the women’s lead competition.

Two of Shirley’s USA Youth teammates, Liam Foster and Georgia Witchel, also from Durango, turned in a strong showings as well. Foster finished in second for the men in both disciplines behind Lindlau, while Witchel finished second in women’s speed and third in women’s lead.

David Bouffard on the semi-finals route in the men’s lead comp. Bouffard, a Canadian, won bronze in both lead and speed. Photo: Carter Stritch/USA Ice Climbing.

Unseasonably warm weather put an interesting spin on the speed competition, as the defining feature—ice—was too difficult for the event’s organizers to farm safely. “Due to the warm weather leading up to the competition, the speed competition took place on vertical 10m wood towers instead of ice towers,” reads a press release from USA Ice Climbing.

The lead competition was full of the acrobatics and wild contortions that spectators have come to expect of modern ice climbing. The qualifying round featured a format more similar to that of modern bouldering comps than sport climbing comps. Competitors were given four minutes on each of five different routes, with five minutes of rest in between each. The semi-finals and finals in lead saw the athletes climb wooden towers comprised of wildly overhanging panels necessitating the full bag of tricks—figure-4s, figure-9s and the like.


RESULTS, 2018 North American Ice Climbing Championships

Women’s Speed

  1. Catalina Shirley (USA)
  2. Georgia Witchel (USA)
  3. Angela Limbach (USA)

Men’s Speed

  1. Kevin Lindlau (USA)
  2. Liam Foster (USA)
  3. David Bouffard (CAN)

Women’s Lead

  1. Rebecca Lewis (CAN)
  2. Angela Limbach (USA)
  3. Georgia Witchell (USA)

Men’s Lead

  1. Kevin Lindlau (USA)
  2. Liam Foster (USA)
  3. David Bouffard (CAN)

Full Results can be found at https://www.usaiceclimbing.org/results-2018-north-american-championships/


Also read U.S. Team Performs at the 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing World Youth Championships