Innsbruck IFSC World Championship 2018
After Paris 2016, this was the second time I had the opportunity to be a chief route setter on IFSC World Championship. It is amazing to watch how fast is climbing growing as a sport since the Tokio 2020 Olympics were announced. The events are bigger and more complicated every year. The game is changing also for the route setters.
New rules to follow, new toys play with, new people to judge our job and also new spectators we have to satisfy. Too many news are fighting for our attention. There are only two ways how this can end. You get crazy, or you find solution how to create in the middle of this chaos your little bubble of creativity.
So who was it?
We met at Kletterzentrum Innsbruck six days before the start of the competition. For lead we were four.
Gen Hiroshima from Japan, Reini Fichtinger and Flo Murnig from Austria and myself as a chief. We went to check the holds. For this comp were most of the holds rented. We entered the indoor skatepark and for the first time in my life I had feeling, we have too many holds and volumes to play with.
On one hand we felt like in the candy shop, on the other hand we wished to increase the capacity of our brains.
More hold you have, more combinations you have. But we need the best one... It took us nearly whole day to transport the holds to Olympia halle.
The following two days we spent on setting and testing of the final routes. It was a great honour for us, when Anna Stohr and Kilian Fischhuber came and help us with some last minute adjustments.
After this we had to mark the routes, and took them of.
It was a hard decision to make, because we knew it wouldn't enough time to do any more changes or try the routes again after semifinals, when we will have more information about the shape of the athletes.
But the comp was starting in three days and we still had to work on two semifinal routes and eight qualification routes.
To speed up the process we split into two teams, so we could work on semifinal routes and quialifications at the same time.
It looked like a good idea, female qualies went well.
But during the men's round we learned, the hard way, that slitting the team means splitting the focus. The day started with one red volume we forgot to move after female qualification.
Before we realized our mistake, three climbers had already attemted the route.
We had to make really hard decision really quickly. We will keep silent and watch following sixty lead climbers, boulder by the fourth quickdraw, or we fix the error and let them to compete on real route.
With respect to their training and to the sport, we asked for little bit of time and put the volume back on place where it belonged.
But the day was not over yet.
Black Diamond sign we kept on the wall after female qualification caused, that Romain Desgranges and Sean McColl, two extremely strong and talented climbers, could not continue in the competition. I could write many excuses, why this happened.
But the only think that is important right now, is jut to say I'm sorry.
After this crazy emotional day we drove to Innsbruck's Olympiahalle where we had to put on the female semifinal route.
We just finished our eight day of work without rest day and all team was getting really tired.
Our finger tips were red, covered with little white blisters.
During the testing everything felt really hard, but seeing four female on the top made us realize, how tired we really were.
After the semies he had to put on the finals and had some ten minutes to do changes,
that would make the route hard enough to split the top female.
Compare to the final route we set at Villars, this route felt harder.
But this was a World Championship, for many climbers the most im
portant comp of the year.
There were too many questions in our heads: How will they climb under the pressure of the big final? Will they understand the sequence? Will anyone make a mistake?
Well... now we have the answers.
Two of them climbed perfectly. Congratulations to Jessy and Janja for the great show.
Spectators left the venue and we had to replace the female final route with the mens semifinal.
Another long night. Because of the limited time and the choice to split, this was the first time I had the chance to see the route.
The style for the route was very bouldery. I tried the route and we all had really good feeling about it.
Comp started well, but in the gym was getting really hot and the top climbers, starting near the end of the field,had a really hard time fighting on the sloppy route.
Another quick change of routes and quick adjustment. Mens final was a great show. People at Innsbrusk were great.
When it finished with Jacob Schubert winning the gold, we where ready to go to celebrate... and sleep :)
But we had only two days to prepare the combine. Ufff... so let's leave all the emotions behind, croll into our bubble of creativity (this was the best recepy I found, to escape from the chaos) and start setting again.
The hardest part was to answer the question: how should do routes look like? It was still toearly to know the names of the athletes who will make the top six. Also we didn't know how tired they will be after the speed and bouldering part.
We tried to focus on setting routes, that would be a little less bouldery and little more pumpy in compare to a lead World cup final.
The comp started and for the first time in two weeks I felt, like all the pressure, that was building on my shoulders left. I was excited during watching the speed, after I was super proud of the boulder setters, doing amazing job during the bouldering. And the lead? For me this was a nice way how to say goodbye and thank you to this fantastic event.