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Adam Ondra and Janja Garnbret Win Legendary Rock Master Comp

The classic Lead Duel event in Arco, Italy was as exciting as ever, with the sport's biggest names racing for gold

Yesterday, the famous Rock Master competition took place in Arco, Italy. The prestigious comp has been held each year since 1987 and has seen many of climbing’s best stand atop the podium. The event marked Ondra’s seventh and Garnbret’s third Rock Master victories. Jakob Schubert and Brooke Raboutou took home silver, Michael Piccolruaz and Jessica Pilz, bronze.

At this year’s Rock Master, climbers competed in an a style of climbing called ‘Lead Duel’. This tournament style format combines elements of both the traditional Lead and Speed competition formats. In each race, two athletes climb on identical, parallel routes, gunning for the top as fast as they can – you won’t see any shaking out or chalking up mid-route. The athlete that climbs the highest or reaches the top the fastest moves onto the next round of races. Compared to the classic Speed route found in IFSC or Olympic competition, the Lead Duel routes are much more difficult – this year was 5.13b for the women and 5.13d for the men. As the name suggests, the Lead Duel routes are also climbed on lead rather than autobelay.

Eight women and eight men faced off in tournaments for each gender category. In women’s, Janja Garnbret, Brooke Raboutou, and Jessica Pilz looked like the competitors to beat, all three putting up lightning times in the quarter final. In the semis, Raboutou and Pilz faced off and it was a close race. Raboutou had a solid lead until she had a tough time clipping a long draw entering the giant roof. After finally making the clip, she blasted through the steep section and hit the top before Pilz. Garnbret easily made it through the semis, leading to showdown between her and Raboutou in the final. It was a very tight race all the way to the top, but Garnbret remained slighting ahead by a hold or two the whole way, besting Raboutou and winning gold.

In the men’s semi-final round, Ondra and Jakob Schubert dusted both of their competitors, setting them up for a final showdown. Their race was neck-and-neck, but it was Ondra who climbing more fluidly through the roof to secure the victory with a mind-blowing time of 1:01.

“Today I took my seventh victory in the legendary Rock Master here in Arco,” said Ondra after earning the top spot. “This year the crowd was just amazing – it was packed. In the final round against my very usual opponent and friend, Jakob Schubert from Austria, we both did a really good run. I didn’t [make] that many mistakes. Jakob made a few and in the end I was a little more lucky. With the time of one minute, one second, I could take the victory which I’m pretty happy about. It was an exciting comp and it makes it really special for me to climb in front of the Italian crowd because I think the Italians quite like me and I feel really good in this place. We don’t normally [come] here for competitions but I spend a lot of time at the neighbouring crags sport climbing on real rock.”

Women’s Results

  1. Janja Garnbret (SLO)
  2. Brooke Raboutou (USA)
  3. Jessica Pilz (AUT)
  4. Hanna Meul (GER)
  5. Laura Rogora (ITA)
  6. Vita Lukan (SLO)
  7. Camilla Moroni (ITA)
  8. Natsuki Tanii (JPN)

Men’s Results

  1. Adam Ondra (CZE)
  2. Jakob Schubert (AUT)
  3. Michael Piccolruaz (ITA)
  4. Jesse Grupper (USA)
  5. Stefan Scherz (AUT)
  6. Stefano Ghisolfi (ITA)
  7. Taisei Homma (JPN)
  8. Toby Roberts (GBR)

Rock Master 2023 Livestream Replay