The Austrian and Slovenian climbers Jessica Pilz and Janja Garnbret traded gold and silver in the last two women’s lead cups, and in Briancon Garnbret again came out on top. She was joined by Pilz and Anak Verhoeven of Belgium on the podium. In the men’s lead category, Alex Megos took his first IFSC gold, followed by the Frenchman Romain Desgranges and the Slovenian Domen Skofic.
Garnbret, who won gold in 2018’s first lead cup in Villars and took silver in Chamonix, also made the podium in two women’s bouldering events this year, in Moscow and Meiringen. She went into the women’s finals along with three fellow Slovenians—Mina Markovic, Vita Lukan and Mia Krampl. Nolwenn Arc of France, Ashima Shiraishi of the United States, Verhoeven and Pilz rounded out the finalists.
Though she managed to touch the top hold, Verhoeven couldn’t stick it, taking bronze. Pilz, who has made eleven World Cup podiums, blasted her way through the crux and topped the route. Unfortunately for her, Garnbret also managed to top the final route, and because Garnbret also placed first in the semifinals, this top gave her the gold.
The outdoor wunderkind Megos was accompanied into finals by Desgranges, Skofic, Villars winner Jakob Schubert, Chamonix winner Stefano Ghisolfi, Thomas Joannes of France, Sascha Lehmann of Switzerland and Hiroto Shimizu of Japan.
Skofic, who went into finals ranked first, fell from a left-handed crimp just a few moves shy of top. Desgranges made the move Skofic fell from, but popped off just before the top. Megos made it to the final move and lunged out left for the finishing hold, but slipped off as well. Still, his performance was enough to earn him his first gold medal and third IFSC podium. “I finally can tick another box off my bucket list, by winning a World Cup,” said Megos in an IFSC interview post-comp. “The thirty seconds when I realized that I probably won were surreal.”
Paraclimbing made its 2018 debut in Briancon last week as well, with ten categories based on disability-type. The Brits came out strong, with Abigail Robinson winning the women’s B2 category (visual impairment) by making the only top of the wall, and Matt Phillips securing a win in AU-2 (forearm amputee). Hannah Baldwin, last year’s season champion, also of Great Britain, took gold in women’s RP2 (limited range, power or stability) with a top. Thierry Delarue of France took gold in AL-2 (leg amputee) for the men, and Frenchwoman Lucie Jarrige did the same in the RP3 category for the women. Three Italian men, Matteo Stefani (B1), Guilio Cevenini (B2) and Alessandro Neri (RP3) managed high points, winning their respective categories, as did Behnam Khalaji of Iran (Men’s RP2) and Korbinian Franck of Germany (Men’s RP1). Decreasing numbers in a given category signify decreasing severity. For example, B2 signifies “Competitors having a visual acuity of up to 2/60 and/or a visual field of less than 5%” while B1 is made up of fully blind competitors.
Lead and sport climbing will return in Arco, Italy this weekend, and bouldering in Munich, Germany on August 17. -Owen Clarke
Men’s Lead Finals
Women’s Lead Finals
For full results including paraclimbing, visit the IFSC’s website
All photos of the Briancon World Cup are provided by photographer Eddie Fowke. To support Fowke and ensure he can continue to provide coverage of these events please consider donating to his GoFundMe campaign here.