The American Alpine Club (AAC), America’s oldest and largest non-profit organization for climbers, announced that UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing is coming to Denver, CO, February 23-24, 2019.
The new North American tour stop will serve as the 2018/2019 World Cup Ice Climbing Finals, in which over 200 athletes from 26 countries around the world will compete for the overall World Cup in both Lead and Speed categories.
The 2019 event is the first time the Ice Climbing World Tour has come to Denver. The weekend event will be held in Denver’s Civic Center Park and will be free to the public. The ice climbing competition will take place over two days with qualifying rounds on Sat, Feb. 23, and semi-finals and overall finals on Sun, Feb. 24.
“We are proud to support our U.S. ice climbing athletes and bring this impressive event to downtown Denver,” said American Alpine Club CEO Phil Powers. “Competitive ice climbing is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever watched; the stamina, skill and seeming impossibility of it all makes for an outstanding spectator experience. They’re up there doing crazy moves, wielding sharp tools and they hang on forever.”
Competition ice climbing combines formidable over-hanging walls of ice with artful technique and sheer power. In the lead discipline, ice climbers require great technique, tactical mastery and nerves of steel to ascend seemingly improbable icy pillars dozens of feet above the ground. The speed discipline is most closely akin to all-out vertical sprint using ice axes and crampons. In 2014, competitive ice climbing debuted as an exhibition sport at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The sport is currently being considered for full-scale Olympic inclusion in the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry and event partner, also commented, “Ice climbing has a strong presence in the culture of outdoor recreation in Colorado. From our world class ice park in Ouray, to our iconic routes in Vail and Rocky Mountain National Park, this is a sport whose time has come. We are thrilled to welcome the World Cup event to Denver in February to highlight just how special ice climbing is and share that feeling with the rest of the country watching!”
The 2019 Denver World Cup Ice Climbing Competition is being hosted by the Golden, CO-based American Alpine Club in partnership with the UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation and tour organizer), the Civic Center Conservancy, Denver Sports Commission, Visit Denver, Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry and the Denver Office of Special Events.
“We’re thrilled to help host this exciting international event in Denver’s historic Civic Center Park and expose this amazing sport to a larger population than ever in North America,” said Scott Robson, executive director of the non-profit Civic Center Conservancy, “Civic Center Park is the heart of Denver and has hosted iconic events for over a century. Hosting the 2019 World Cup Ice Climbing finale in such an urban setting will not only make this competition accessible to multitudes of new fans, but will also be visually stunning to watch.”
U.S. athletes who wish to compete at the 2019 Denver World Cup will be able to earn entry at qualifying competitions.