Russia: Third stage of Russian Ice Climbing Cup kicks off in Primorsky region

The third stage of the sport climbing competition started in the Primorsky region on Saturday. The competition takes place on the natural ice of array Przewalski, which has been flooded with water for a month to form a track.

30 athletes from seven regions of Russia came to fight for the title of the strongest climber in the country. The races took place over a distance of 15 metres. The participants competed in two disciplines – ‘difficulty’ and ‘speed’.

In the first category, athletes cannot go beyond the boundary line, and in the fast race, the stopwatch determines the winner.

“Ice climbing has moved to a more sporty format, and almost all competitions are already held on plywood, on dry-tooling. Consequently, natural terrain is now a rarity for us. It is interesting, it brings us back to the origins of ice climbing. That is, we use both ice and rock during climbing,” current European ice climbing champion Maria Tolokonina shared.

The athletes note that the competition takes place in an atmosphere of like-mindedness, with experienced ice climbers helping younger colleagues.

“Not only do they watch, but they also tell you what to do. The ice climbing team in Russia is quite friendly. And when you do something wrong, they can come up to you and tell you how to do it right,” first-class climber Yulia Shitova noted.

The second day of the competition was held on Sunday in the Shtykovskiye Ponds art park, where a nine-metre climbing structure has been installed for the difficulty category.

Ice climbing is a young extreme sport that has separated from mountaineering. Athletes use special equipment – ice climbing crampons and ice hooks – to hold their bodies firmly in place while climbing. The first Soviet Union-level ice climbing competition was held in the Caucasus in 1981.

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