The 5 Biggest Stories In Climbing This Week (22-28/06/15)

5. Marvel's Most Fitting Superhero Finally Made His Debut On The Climbing Scene

Czech speed climber Jan Kříž is always finding new ways to spice up the sport for casual viewers and he couldn’t have timed his latest stunt any better. Just as the Internet was being flooded with Spiderman casting news, he posted this video of himself making a speed run while dressed as the web-slinging superhero. To keep up to date with all of Jan’s antics, you can follow him on Instagram and to learn more about why he’s so passionate about speed climbing, you can check out our interview with him here.

4. Irish Trad Climbing Made The Headlines

Northern Ireland is home to some phenomenal trad climbing venues but doesn't always receive the attention it deserves.. Even its near neighbours in the rest of the UK tend to overlook the region. Not so this week however. In the Mourne Mountains on Northern Ireland's Eastern coast, Ryan Pasquill and James McHaffie both made ground up ascents of John Dunne’s classic route ‘Divided Years’ (E8/9), with local strongman Ricky Bell on hand for some encouragement and occasional beta. From a relatively safe route to a guaranteed leg-shaker and at Fairhead, also in Northern Ireland, Pete Whittaker made an onsight ascent of ‘The Complete Scream’ (E7/8). While not a technically difficult climb, the route has no real protection other than skyhooks and a hidden nut placement. Having missed the nut slot, Pete climbed the route with just the hooks for protection, securing them in place using a mix of gaffer tape and Blu-tack. A bold ascent if ever we’ve seen one!

3. Sean McColl Put In A Dominant Performance In Chongqing

The IFSC Boulder World Cup resumed last weekend for its third round of the season, this time in Chongqing, China. The men’s event once again threw up some surprise results with current front-runners Adam Ondra and Nathaniel Coleman both missing out on finals. Taking first in the men’s event was Sean McColl who topped all four problems in the final. Finishing off the podium for the men were Jongwon Chon of South Korea and Tsukuru Hori of Japan in 2nd and 3rd respectively. There were fewer surprises on the women's side of the draw, and other than the absence of some of the bigger names through a combination of injury and academic commitments, most of the regulars made finals. Last year’s overall World Cup winner Akiyo Noguchi topped the podium, with fellow Team Japan member Miho Nonaka in second. British climber Shauna Coxsey completed the podium in third. With so many Japanese and Korean climbers making the final and the podium, perhaps the China leg of the tour is providing something of a local advantage to competitors from surrounding countries. 


2. Climbing's Olympic Dreams Were Rekindled

Competition climbing stayed on the agenda this week as climbing was shortlisted to appear at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s up against bowling, squash, surfing, karate, rollersports, wushu and baseball/softball. Whether climbing makes it into the games or not, you can be sure the prospect will remain a divisive subject amongst climbers in the coming months of Olympic deliberation. One major bone of contention appears to be the proposed format, a combined lead, speed and bouldering event that could well see the overall winners decided by which top-level performance climber can get best at speed climbing.

El Cap Street View

1. El Capitan Got The Google Street View Treatment

The biggest story this week however was Google’s foray into the world of big wall climbing. The search engine come tech conglomerate partnered up with the Yosemite Park authority who brought onboard Tommy Caldwell, Lynn Hill and Alex Honnold to produce a ‘Vertical Street View’ of the world’s most famous rockface. The three Yosemite pioneers are featured in the street view doing everything from camping out on ledges to climbing the Texas Flake. A full tour of ‘The Nose,’ captured by Alex Honnold and Sender Film’s Brett Lowell, is also available as part of the feature.

While many are thrilled to see climbing getting so much attention, the project has irked some who feel digital tours like this only serve to detract from the adventurous nature of the sport. Climbing brand Mammut faced similar criticism last year when they released a digital tour of the Eiger North Face. What’s your take on digital route mapping? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and as always check back next week for all of the biggest news from the vertical world!

Image © Google

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