Over the course of this last week, the world began to ease into what has been popularly described as the “new normal.” Though the pandemic will likely persist for the foreseeable future, the efforts that the international community has made to “flatten the curve” appear to have had an impact on the virus.
For climbers, this means that crags are beginning to reopen. As professional athletes and recreational climbers return to these areas, questions regarding competition and indoor climbing have become more prevalent.
Unfortunately, it would appear that the return of plastic-based climbing is still a thought for the future. On May 7, the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC), in conjunction with the Swiss Alpine Club, published a press release “to definitely cancel the two IFSC World Cup competitions scheduled to be held in Switzerland in 2020.”
The first of these competitions was to be held in Meiringen from April 3 to 4, while the second was to take place in Villars from July 2 to 4. The IFSC said, “The decision (to cancel) comes as a direct consequence of the ongoing situation caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, along with the restricting measures taken by the Swiss Government.”
It is important to note that these competitions have been cancelled and not postponed. As the Meiringen World Cup was supposed to mark the beginning of the 2020 IFSC World Cup Series, the decision to cancel might imply that more cancellations are on the way.
This possibility is supported by the cancellation of the Villars World Cup scheduled two months from now. Such a call would suggest that there will still be a legitimate risk to athletes in the future. Considering the fact that the curve has been flattened in Switzerland to a great degree, it would appear that countries struggling to combat the virus might cancel their competitions as well.
It is important to note that the Swiss Government has decided to open or allow, from June 8 onward, Mountain Transport Services and Professional Sports Fixtures Without Spectators.