UIAA Ice Climbing World CupHigh risk of avalanches: “With a heavy heart” Rabenstein cancels the Ice Climbing World Cup cancelled due to bad weather
Rabenstein, 4 February 2014 – Due the severe risk of avalanches at warning level four and without any hopes for a change in the weather over the coming days the club Verein Eisturm was forced on Tuesday afternoon to cancel the fifth stage of the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup. This coming Saturday and Sunday Angelika Rainer & Co. should have battled for World Cup points at this final test before the World Championships, but a “winter of the century” makes this impossible.
The last few days Rabenstein and surroundings have seen more than 2 metres of fresh snow. Because of the resulting severe risk of avalanches the country road to Rabenstein has been closed since the early hours of Friday, 31 January. On Tuesday the link road to the tiny village with 230 inhabitants at the foot of the Timmelsjoch pass had to remain closed for the fifth consecutive day.
“Two metres of snow fell around the ice tower. We tried what we could in the last few days to clear the facility of snow and to ensure that the ice tower is ready for the competition. And we succeeded: The routes are prepared, all ice blocks are in place. If it was just down to us we could go ahead”, says visibly distressed head of the organising committee, Reinhard Graf. If it wasn’t for the huge amounts of snow which only occur in Rabenstein once every hundred years.
Over the last few days the Organising Committee liaised constantly with the country’s weather service, talked with the responsible officials of the municipality and consulted the experts from the avalanche commission. A dramatic improvement in the weather is not likely. On the contrary: “More snowfalls are expected on Friday afternoon and during the night into Saturday. Further snowfalls are forecast from Saturday into Sunday. The long term prognosis is not much better, and so it has not been possible to postpone the World Cup for a short time. Naturally, we did consider this alternative”, says Florian Lanthaler, founder member of the club Verein Eisturm Rabenstein.
Because of the severe risk of avalanches it is not possible to guarantee the safety of the athletes and the fans. Because of this, and only because of this, the ice climbing World Cup has to be cancelled. “The situation is also dangerous for the club, because despite the closed roads and the ever present risk of avalanches we have worked ceaselessly and done everything we could to ensure that the ice tower is ready for the competition. But it was in vain: There is nothing we can do in the face of a winter of the century”, says Graf.
For the time being the Eisturm Rabenstein is therefore also inaccessible for all other ice climbers who want to pursue their hobby on the most beautiful ice climbing facility in the world. Only after it has finally stopped snowing will it be possible to say when the roads might be re-opened.
Rabenstein/Passeiertal, 8 January 2014 – In exactly one month, from 7 to 9 February, the best ice climbers in the world will be gathering again in the Passeiertal valley in South Tyrol. For two days they compete on the ice tower Eisturm Rabenstein, one of Europe’s most beautiful and demanding artificial climbing structures, in the disciplines of Lead (difficulty) and Speed, hoping to gain important points towards the overall ranking.
After its debut last year the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup comes to Rabenstein for the second time, from 7 to 9 February. The event is also the final rehearsal for the World Championships 2015 which the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation UIAA has allocated to the Club Eisturm Rabenstein. The elite of ice climbers will find even better conditions at the World Cup in February than last year. At the end of December the new club house with modern changing rooms, a meeting room, a bar and many other facilities was officially opened.
“Thanks to our new infrastructure the conditions are ideal. Everyone who has a part in ensuring the success of the World Cup can now work in excellent conditions. This was also necessary with a view to the Word Championships 2015”, said the President of the Organizing Committee Reinhard Graf of Club Eisturm Rabenstein.
The organisers are strongly supported in their efforts by the Association Alpenverein Südtirol and together they return to tried and tested concepts for the second Ice Climbing World Cup here. The big sporting event will be opened on Friday 7 February at the Thermenplatz in Merano. As part of the early evening opening ceremony there will again be the mobile ice tower where all visitors have the opportunity to have a climb and to discover just how difficult ice climbing is.
130 ice climbers from 20 nations expected
The competitions in Rabenstein on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 February in which over 130 athletes from 20 countries participate, will again be a magnet for some 2000 visitors to the Passeiertal valley. Saturday daytime is given over to the qualifications for the speed competition, the speed climbing finals will take place from 8 pm in the evening. Sunday is the day of the semi-finals (8:30 am) and the final round for victory in the difficulty climbing (1 pm).
Last year all the winners at the ice tower in Rabenstein had been the favourites. In the men’s difficulty climbing the Russian Maxim Tomilov won ahead of the Korean overall World Cup winner Hee Yong Park and Maxim’s brother, Alexey Tomilov, the current World Ice Climbing champion. The women’s competition was won by local resident Angelika Rainer from Merano, who had just previously won the third World Championships title in the series and had come to Rabenstein as the new champion. Rainer won ahead of the South Korean Woon Seon Shin and the Russian Maria Tolokonina who went on to become the overall World Cup winner.
The speed climbing was a Russian only affair. In the men’s competition the winner was Pavel Gulyaev, in the women’s the day was carried by Maria Krasavina.
Perfect conditions on our ice tower! Come to visit us, because we have open only till march 3rd.