The sixth and final leg of the 2019 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup season. For the first time Denver, Colorado will host a competition.

One of the defining features of this event is its urban setting. Located at the Civic Center Park, large numbers of spectators will be able to take in the competition and many will discover ice climbing for the first time. The event is organised by the American Alpine Club.

The nine Canadians heading down are: Rebecca Lewis, Lyndsay Houston, Gord McArthur, Greg Ashcroft, David Bouffard, Nathan Kutcher, Matt Westlake, Nicholaus Vietra and Ian MacNairn. Full list of comp climbers and schedule here.

Women’s Lead: Four gold medals from five World Cups gives Maria Tolokonina an almost unassailable lead at the top of the rankings. The Russian athlete leads South Korea’s Woonseon Shin by 76 points. Shin has also enjoyed a remarkable season claiming one gold and four silver medals. Shin’s teammate Hannarai Song – currently in third – is not expected to compete which provides the likes of Ireland’s Eimir McSwiggan, Finland’s Enni Bertling and Sina Goetz of Switzerland an opportunity to scale the rankings. Overall Standings.

Women’s Speed: Five different gold medal winners from as many World Cups have made the speed competition the most wide open. World Tour leader Ekaterina Koshcheeva (380 points) is not expected to take compete in Denver so her advantage could well be overturned by Tolokonina (326). A tantalising opportunity for the current World Champion in speed to win both the lead and speed events. Gold medallist last time out in Champagny, Natalia Savitskaia (also on 326) is also not competing in Denver which means Ekaterina Feoktistova (284) is likely to contest the title with Tolokonina. Feoktistova’s position would be even healthier had illness to disrupted the early part of her season. Overall Standings.

Men’s Lead: Leading by 153 points, Nikolai Kuzovlev has sealed the title and will compete in Denver. Like Tolokonina he has taken four gold medals from five events. Lying second is defending World Champion Heeyong Park. Following three silver medals, is this his turn to shine? Park will seek to make a statement ahead of defending his world title in Kirov, Russia in early March. The other lead gold medallist from the 2018-2019 season is Switzerland’s Yannick Glatthard who together with Nathan Clair, of France, and Russia’s Alexey Dengin will be among the contenders. Overall Standings.

Men’s Speed: The top three athletes including the runaway leader Anton Nemov (455) – four gold medals from five events – will not compete in Denver. The best placed athlete registered for Denver is Nikolai Kuzovlev (316) who will seek to take a first speed gold of the season and in turn potentially finish the rankings in second place. He could well battle gold out with compatriot Dmitriy Grebennikov – seventh overall. The best placed non-Russian athlete among the Denver entries is Canada’s David Bouffard, tenth. An open competition affords a number of athletes the chance to think big. Overall Standings.

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