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Munich Bouldering WC: Surprise for the Men, No Surprise for the Women

“Janja Garnbret always wins in Munich,” said Charlie Bosco as the 20-yr-old Slovenian superstar topped the fourth Finals problem and secured her 5th win in a row of the boulder World Cups this season, as well as her 3rd consecutive win at the annual Munich event.

At this stage in the game, this kind of dominance is not surprising from Garnbret, and with a number of top female competitors missing (e.g., Akiyo Noguchi, Miho Nonaka, Shauna Coxsey), many would’ve predicted a win from her today. But Fanny Gibert climbed exceptionally well and came about as close as you can get to winning without doing so. Like Garnbret, Gibert finished with 4 tops. Separating them was three attempts.

Without all the usual suspects in Women’s Finals, spectators saw some new faces and new climbing styles. A lesser-known Slovenian, Mia Krampl, gave quite the performance. She fought her way tooth and nail throughout the round with an obviously painful knee injury. The wincing in her face during boulder four was enough to have everyone in the crowd willing her up the wall. Her send was a feat on many counts.

Julia Chanourdie also impressed everyone on the last problem with an ascent that took almost 3 minutes, and almost every last drop of gas she had in the metaphorical tank. Chanourdie ended up with 2 tops and 4th place, followed by Levgeniia Kazbekova and Katja Kadic with one top in 5th and 6th respectively.

For the men, on the other hand, the tables turned at the last minute, leaving everyone – including the competitors – surprised by Jakob Schubert’s victory over the favourite-to-win Adam Ondra. Ondra had swept the first three boulders with three flashes. His flash – and the only top – of boulder one was particularly remarkable. Even Schubert admitted in a post-competition interview that Ondra climbed the strongest, “but he messed up problem four, which is part of bouldering.” So it is, and so it was.

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What a day πŸ˜±πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ First place πŸ₯‡ here in Munich in front of an amazing crowd! My 3rd bouldering Worldcup victory, with the last one back in 2013. @adam.ondra climbed fantastically in Finals flashing the first three boulders but he failed to reach the zone on B4 and I took my chance to β€šstealβ€˜ his win. My buddy @janhojer completed the podium πŸ™ŒπŸ’ͺ🏿 Congrats as well to @janja_garnbret who won her 5th!!! consecutive Bouldering Worldcup this season πŸ˜±πŸ‘πŸΌ β€’ Photo by @wilhelmheiko from the top that I had to work very hard for. A (for me) hard slab with a big one arm jump finisher 2nd Photo: celebrating the top of B4 β€’ #ifscwc #bouldering #victory #whataday #iwillneverforget #climbing #climber #myinnsbruck @mammut_swiss1862 @raiffeisen @heeressportzentrum @lasportivagram @innsbrucktourism @gloryfy @thecrag_worldwide

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Ondra didn’t adjust his beta on the last boulder and was unable to secure a zone. That left Schubert with three tops to match Ondra’s, plus one important zone, which made the number of attempts to tops irrelevant. The surprise in this is that Ondra failed on the final boulder of a round that he appeared to have in the bag.

To be clear, it is not a surprise that Jakob Schubert won. The Austrian earned his win with strength and smarts. And he has been among the highest ranked competitors in both bouldering and lead for years. Perhaps the only surprising thing is that this was only his third bouldering World Cup win.

Though Jan Hojer couldn’t repeat his win from last year, he still earned himself a podium spot, in third place, after an impressive flash on the same boulder problem that shut Ondra down.

As for the Canadians, Sean McColl missed Semi-Finals by one heartbreaking spot (21st), Lucas Uchida qualified with a personal best (27th), and Jason Holowach did not have his best day. “Well…not the outcome I was looking for. Chin up, on to the next,” he wrote on social media.

The next event is in Vail, Colorado, in three weeks.

If you didn’t see the final round live or watched the replay yet, it’s well worth your time – even knowing the results. The boulders were superbly set and the climbers gave a spectacular effort.

Final Results Women / Men

1. Janja Garnbret (SLO) / Jakob Schubert (AUT)
2. Fanny Gibert (FRA) / Adam Ondra (CZE)
3. Mia Kampl (SLO) / Jan Hojer (GER)
4. Julia Chanourdie (FRA) / Aleksey Rubtsov (RUS)
5. Levgeniia Kazbekova (UKR) / Anze Peharc (SLO)
6. Katja Kadic (SLO) / Jonwong Chon (KOR)