Monday, December 21, 2009

Ice Climbing World Championships in Saas-Fee

The world's finest ice climbers will again gather in the glacier village of Saas-Fee from 15 to 23 January 2010. In a new development this year, one whole week will be entirely devoted to ice climbing: from presentations by Ueli Steck and Ines Papert about the European Ice Climbing Youth Championships (the competition will take place in Saas-Grund), right down to the annual World Cup and the Swiss Masters.
The Ice Climbing World Championships in Saas-Fee’s multi-storey car park are a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with top class athletes and experience the exuberant atmosphere of the ice climbing scene. The competitions take place in a unique location that is very unlikely to be replicated elsewhere.
The 10-storey car park in Saas-Fee can also be used as a venue for staging the competitions in bad weather. Its round tower acts as a spectacular grandstand for spectators. So every year a good 2,000 spectators can follow all the action live and up close from each storey of the spiralling ramp in the car park. At the same time the first guests can already step out onto the dance floor deep down in the party zone and celebrate the dazzling performances of the athletes to the full. The competitions will be relayed live on a big screen in the party zone throughout the evening, with the best scenes being shown again at the end. On both days there will also be a live band providing musical entertainment.
This year the organisers are once again expecting a good 100 athletes from 14 nations who will take part in the UIAA World Cup and the Swiss Masters in ice climbing. As last year, 2010 will begin with both "lead" and "speed" disciplines. "Lead" involves a long, taxing climb with a safety rope during which climbers can reach a height of up to 35 metres. The victor is the person who can cover the greatest distance in the allotted time. Amongst other things, a tally is made of the number of carbines into which the climber has been able to hook the rope. "Speed" climbing, as the name suggests, involves climbing as quickly as possible up an approx. 15 metre vertical ice wall. Top athletes can climb it in around 13 seconds.