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UIAA ICE CLIMBING WORLD TOUR: ADAPTING TO THE NEW NORMAL

At the beginning of the summer the UIAA Ice Climbing Commission published a very exciting provisional 2021 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour calendar. When the calendar was released, the Commission also added an advisory that the feasibility of events taking place was dependent on the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now some three months on, the Commission – with the support of the UIAA Executive Board and Office – has considered the current situation and the potential developments over the coming months in great detail and due to the general uncertainty and ongoing international restrictions in place has made the decision to postpone the World Tour (World Cups, World Championships and associated rankings) until the 2022 season.

One of the principal reasons behind this decision is that any event which is run and sanctioned by the UIAA should represent the worldwide community of athletes. Due to the travel and quarantine restrictions that are in place in many of the host countries and also in athletes’ home countries, organising international competitions is not practical. Furthermore, following the advice of the UIAA Covid-19 Crisis Consultation Taskforce, the UIAA continues to conduct all business online and does not recommend non-essential international travel at the current time. Further details can be found here.

However the UIAA does plan on running regional events where the UIAA Ice Climbing Commission can work together with local organisers, athletes and other stakeholders to guarantee the hosting of competitions in a safe manner. Details on the current proposal can be found below.

Photo: UIAA/Patrick Schwienbacher

UIAA ICE CLIMBING 2020/21 EVENTS – EUROPEAN CUP & TOUR DES ALPES SERIES

The UIAA is hoping to work with all of its World Cup organisers to host either national or regional events and encourage the development of athletes for the return of a full season of UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour events in 2022. The UIAA hopes that all its European Cup Series events will run as originally scheduled on the calendar.

The intention is to run a series of three competitions spread over a two-week period – the UIAA Ice Climbing Tour des Alpes. Registered athletes will come together at the first event (after providing a negative Covid-19 test) and will remain together for the whole of the ‘Tour des Alpes’, which will comprise three competition events and four days of mid-week ice climbing in some of the best ice venues that the European Alps has to offer from 22 January to 7 February 2021.

All the events sanctioned by the UIAA in 2021 are open to all athletes and are not restricted by continent i.e. should travel rules allow, non-Europeans can enter any of the events in the Tour des Alpes for example. Events will be subject to stringent Covid-19 protocols (see below).

Timeline for the UIAA Ice Climbing Tour des Alpes

22-24 January 2021 – UIAA Ice Climbing European Championships – Lead & Speed – Champagny-en-Vanoise, France – rankings from this event will also be used for the UIAA Tour des Alpes overall series results

26-27 January 2021 – UIAA Ice Climbing Community days – ice climbing and drytooling in and around the Écrins Massif

29-30 January 2021 – UIAA Ice Climbing European Cup – Lead & Speed – Saas-Fee, Switzerland – rankings from this event will also be used for the UIAA Tour des Alpes overall series results

2-3 February 2021 – UIAA Ice Climbing Community days – ice climbing and drytooling in and around Saas-Fee or Kandersteg, Switzerland

5-7 February 2021 – UIAA Ice Climbing European Cup – Lead & Speed – Malbun, Lichtenstein – rankings from this event will also be used for the UIAA Tour des Alpes overall series results

Competition ice climbing returns to Champagny-en-Vanoise. Photo: UIAA/Nils Paillard/alpy.io

UIAA Ice Climbing Tour des Alpes Series

The rankings from each of the three competition events detailed above will be cumulated into an overall ranking for the UIAA Tour des Alpes series. Also the first event in France will also act as the standalone European Championships for 2021. The second and third events will also be part of the UIAA European Cups Series 2020/21 which will now total seven events.

Event Safety & Rules

All athletes must provide a negative Covid-19 test at the beginning of the ‘Tour des Alpes’ and this must be provided at registration for the first event and must be no more than 72 hours old. Athletes must provide a further negative Covid-19 test that is no more than 72 hours at the registration at each of the subsequent events. The UIAA Office will aim to provide information on where these tests can be taken close to the various event locations.

The UIAA Ice Climbing Commission has developed an addendum to the 2021 UIAA Ice Climbing Regulations document which will be published on the UIAA website shortly including details on the rules and regulations that will be enforced to ensure safe events for everybody involved.

Other Scheduled UIAA Ice Climbing Events

The UIAA Ice Climbing Commission has decided to delay the decision on what will happen with the World Cup and the World Youth Championships originally scheduled for the end of February/beginning of March in Russia. This decision will now be made at the beginning of January to allow the situation in Russia some time to improve. These two events may still go ahead.

The UIAA is also still hoping that some of the other events originally scheduled for this coming season in Canada and Korea may still go ahead as regional events.

Event Entry

Entry to all the 2020/21 UIAA sanctioned events will open as usual on the 1 November. Entry to all three Tour des Alpes events must be submitted through the athlete’s  national federation and will require a UIAA Ice Climbing License – details regarding registration for these events will be sent directly to the national federations. Registration for the European Cup Series events can either be done through the national federation or the athlete can self-register – full information on this will be found on the UIAA website shortly.

More Information

The UIAA will bring you all the live action from the UIAA Tour des Alpes events through its social media platforms (live on YouTube and Facebook) along with some fantastic content from the UIAA Ice Climbing community days as the world’s best ice climbers take on some of the most iconic ice and drytooling routes in Europe. There will be behind the scenes footage of how athletes train, prepare for the competitions and what they like to do for fun in-between the competitions.

Main photo: UIAA/Kaspar Kellerhals

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