The UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup is coming to the Front Range in Colorado in 2019! The lone U.S.-based event on the UIAA’s world tour has hopped around over the past several years—it relocated to Durango, Colorado, in 2016, after a successful stint in Bozeman, Montana—and now Denver will be the new host, from February 23 to 24. And it won’t be just any ice climbing world cup: it will be the 2019 finals, the last chance for athletes to improve their standings for the season.
The American Alpine Club announced the news in a press release on June 26. Phil Powers, CEO of the AAC, was quoted in the press release, “We are proud to support our U.S. ice climbing athletes and bring this impressive event to downtown Denver. Competitive ice climbing is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever watched; the stamina, skill, and seeming impossibiilty of it all makes for an outstanding spectator experience. They’re up there doing crazy moves, wielding sharp tools and they hang on forever.”
The competition will take place in the Civic Center Park and will be free to attend. The event will bring together some 200 athletes from 26 different countries, and will be the climactic finish of the six-stop 2019 World Cup tour. The preceding events will take place (in order) in Cheongsong, South Korea; Hengshui City, Hebei Province, China; Saas-Fee, Switzerland; Rabenstein, Italy; and Champagny-en-Vanoise, France
Ice climbing remains shut out of the Olympics for the moment, but the associations and individuals behind the sport hope to change that in the near future and secure it a spot alongside rock climbing, which will debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Marcus Garcia, head coach for the U.S.A. youth mixed climbing team, was the driving force behind bringing the World Cup to Durango in 2016 and told Rock and Ice at the time that such events are critical for “pursuing the Olympic dream.” The AAC press release notes that “the sport is currently being considered for full-scale Olympic inclusion in the 2022 [Beijing] Winter Games.”
UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup, Denver February 23-24, 2019
Saturday, Feb 23
Sunday, Feb 24
After Party (hosted by the American Alpine Club)