The sport climbing Oscars return to Arco on Aug. 25 with the 12th edition of Arco Rock Legends, celebrated during the 31st Rock Master.

Mike Kosterlitz © Ken Wilson

The candidates for the Wild Country Rock Award are Stefano Ghisolfi (Ita), Margo Hayes (USA) and Adam Ondra (Cze), while the La Sportiva Competition Award nominees are Shauna Coxsey (GB), Janja Garnbret (Slo) and Domen Škofič (Slo).

The prestigious Dryarn Climbing Ambassador will be awarded to Scottish climber and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate Mike Kosterlitz.

This, in brief, is the impressive list of special guests who will take to the stage of the Arco Rock Legends 2017 awards during the traditional Arco Rock Master Festival.

There’s not just one award, but three different prizes: the Wild Country Rock Award for the climber who distinguished him or herself most on rock; the La Sportiva Competition Award for the climber who left his or her mark in the last competition season; the Dryarn Climbing Ambassador for the person who has contributed to the culture of climbing worldwide.

Stefano Ghisolfi © Matteo-Pavana The Vertical Eye

As previously announced, this third prize will be awarded to 74-year-old Scotsman Mike Kosterlitz, the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics and legendary climber from the 1970s who left an indelible mark in the Italian climbing culture.

Wild Country Rock Award Sport climbing at the crag and bouldering, this is the “playing field” taken into consideration by the jury which, in a preliminary session, chose three standout names: America’s Margo Hayes, Italy’s Stefano Ghisolfi and Adam Ondra from the Czech Republic who happens to have won this award four times already.

Margo Hayes © Jon Cardwell

Hayes homes in on Arco with an amazing climb, namely her ascent of the 5.15a La Rambla at Siurana in Spain. Put in other words: in February the 19-year-old completed the hardest climb ever by a woman. A historic achievement that couldn’t be ignored.

Just as impossible to ignore as Stefano Ghisolfi, who has increasingly become a driving force in the climbing world. During his continuous climbing trips he managed to repeat Margalef’s First Round, First Minute, at 5.15b one of the hardest sport climbs in the world. And in addition to onsighting 5.14c (a feat very few have achieved) he made a number of fast first ascents up to 5.15a.

It proved impossible not to consider him and the spirit with which he shares, in the “social” climbing era, all his challenges. And what can possibly be said about a climber who sends two 5.15bs in two days? Almost the absolute maximum in sport climbing, achieved not just once but twice in a mere 48 hours.

Domen Skofic © Giulio Malfer

La Sportiva Competition Award With an eye towards the first Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020, this prize provides an indication about the direction competitions are taking and how they are evolving.

It comes as no surprise therefore that the three candidates this year are all extremely young and, at the same time, superb champions in their own right which a bright future ahead of them: 24-year-old Shauna Coxsey from Britain, 18-year-old Janja Garnbret from Slovenia and her 23-year-old team member Domen Škofič.

Coxsey left her mark last season by winning the extremely tough Boulder World Cup in an absolutely convincing manner: four wins out of seven stages indicate an impressive domination in a sport that is, by definition, very difficult to dominate. Young Garnbret, for her part, made a devastating debut in the senior World Cup and last season it seemed as if she had no rivals.

Shauna Coxsey © Eddie Fowke – IFSC

The Slovenian was crowned Lead World Champion, won the Lead World Cup and Combined (that takes into account Lead, Boulder and Speed), as well winning as the 30th Rock Master and victories in her youth category… all that needs mentioning is that the rising start of sports climbing was nominated for this award last year.

Who, like Coxsey, has never been nominated for this award previously is Domen Škofič and last season, after years at the top, he finally crowned his difficult dream of winning the Lead World Cup thanks to three splendid victories in seven events. He rounded off the season by placing fourth at the Lead World Championship in Paris.

Adam Ondra © Petr Piechowicz

Those who will try to make sense of this great Arco Rock Legends 2017 enigma are the 13 Jury members representing eight different nations who will meet at Arco on Aug. 25 to select the winners for the two awards.

Salewa Rock Award: Josune Bereziartu (2006), Patxi Usobiaga (2007), Adam Ondra (2008), Chris Sharma (2009), Adam Ondra (2010), Adam Ondra (2011), Sasha DiGiulian (2012), Adam Ondra (2013), Muriel Sarkany (2014), Alexander Megos (2015), Wild Country Rock Award Daniel Andrada (2016)

La Sportiva Competition Award: Angela Eiter (2006), David Lama (2007), Maja Vidmar (2008), Kilian Fischhuber (2009), Akiyo Noguchi (2010), Ramon Julien Puigblanque (2011), Anna Stöhr (2012), Mina Markovič (2013), Urko Carmona Barandiaran (2014), Adam Ondra (2015), Mina Markovič (2016)

Mike Kosterlitz


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