The GoPro Mountain Games return this summer to Vail, Colorado, from June 7-10. The Mountain Games, billed as the country’s “largest celebration of adventure sports, art and music,” includes events in rafting, kayaking, slacklining, biking, climbing and other sports, as well as concerts and art exhibitions.
For the past ten years, the Mountain Games has hosted the only IFSC Bouldering World Cup stop on U.S. soil. This year is no different: the qualifying rounds begin Friday, June 8, and the finals take place Saturday, June 9. Over $17,000 in cash prizes will be given away at this year’s competition.
The Japanese dominated the men’s category last year, taking seven of the top ten spots, but first place went to Korean Jongwon Chon. Chon, currently ranked sixth in the IFSC bouldering rankings after a fourth place finish in Hachioji, Japan last weekend, is returning this year as the sole male competitor representing South Korea (Whether or not Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un will attend to represent North Korea is unknown, though his Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports he regularly boulders V15 and is on track to tag several V16s in his home country). Other competitors to watch out for in the men’s category include the Italian Gabriele Moroni, who took home first prize in the most recent leg of the World Cup, in Hachioji, as well as current IFSC first and second place holders, the Slovenian Jernej Kruder and the Japanese Tomoa Narasaki, the latter of whom took home second place in Hachioji.
Shauna Coxsey, who took last year’s gold in the women’s category, is coming back to compete again after a bad finger injury in January. The British climber noted on Instagram, “I’ve had multiple finger injuries during my climbing career. However, my most recent finger injury is the worst I’ve had yet. I have ruptured about 80% of the A2 pulley on my right ring finger.” Still, she’s been climbing strong in recent months, and is likely to be a force to be reckoned with again this year. The Japanese climbers Akiyo Noguchi (silver medalist last year, with 21 World Cup wins under her belt and currently on a three-in-a-row winning streak) and Miho Nonaka are dominating in the rankings currently, leading at 430 and 420 points respectively, ahead of nearest competitor Fanny Gilbert, of France, at 250. Some women on the U.S. team to watch include Sierra Blair-Coyle, Margo Hayes and Alex Puccio, who placed fourth in last year’s Cup and has previously won gold. -Owen Clarke
The schedule and prizes for the Vail IFSC Cup are below.
FRIDAY, JUNE 8
Male Qualifier – 9am
Female Qualifier – 3pm
SATURDAY, JUNE 9
Semi-Finals (Male & Female) – 9:30am
Athlete Intros & Finals Route Previews – 2:45pm
Male Finals – 3:00-4:30pm
Female Finals – 4:45-6:15pm
Awards – 6:30pm
TOTAL PRIZE PURSE: $17,875
|1st – $3,713 (3,300 EU) + TUDOR Watch||1st – $3,713 (3,300 EU) + TUDOR Watch|
|2nd – $2,306 (2,050 EU)||2nd – $2,306 (2,050 EU)|
|3rd – $1,350 (1,200 EU)||3rd – $1,350 (1,200 EU)|
|4th – $731 (650 EU)||4th – $731 (650 EU)|
|5th – $450 (400 EU)||5th – $450 (400 EU)|
|6th – $338 (300 EU)||6th – $338 (300 EU)|
To see the bouldering semi-finals and finals live, come on back to this article for a live stream. In addition, for plebs like you and me, the Mountain Games is hosting a “Citizen Climbing Competition” on Sunday, June 10. So, if you’re going to be in Vail and want to strut your stuff, head over to the Mountain Games website and sign up. Wave 1 is full up already, but there are still open spots for Wave 2. Registration for closes Saturday, June 9, at 6:00 pm.