The car-free alpine village of Saas Fee with its unique competition wall inside a circular car park at the edge of town is set against the spectacular backdrop of the towering Swiss Alps. It is also one of the oldest and liveliest stops on the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup.
From next Saturday, ice-climbing freaks from across the globe will once again flock to Saas-Fee. A programme of action-packed sporting events and legendary ice-climbing parties in the multi-storey car park.
The ice climbing competitions in the park of Saas-Fee are an excellent opportunity national and international athletes and the lively atmosphere of the ice climbing scene to witness first hand! The competitions will take place in a special, unique location, so surely there is no more second time. The 10-storey car park in Saas-Fee, where the competitions can take place regardless of weather, with its roundabout provides a great backdrop audience.
The disciplines: Lead and Speed
In Lead climbing, competitors have to master a long, difficult and unfamiliar route in a given amount of time. Routes can be anything up to 35 meters in height. Besides the ice wall itself, climbers must contend with obstacles such as overhangs, hanging ice blocks and tricky rock sections. Ice climbers consider this discipline the ultimate challenge. The winner is the competitor who covers the greatest distance in the allotted time. One way of measuring this is by counting the number of carabiners that the climbers manage to clip the rope through.
As its name suggests, the competition’s second discipline is all about speed. As soon as the starting barrier falls, the competitors leap onto the 15-meter vertical wall of ice and scramble to the top at a breath-taking pace – just like Spiderman! Top athletes can complete the course in an incredible 13 seconds. Since 2012 this discipline is run in parallel.