The last bouldering World Cup of 2019 kicks off this Friday June 7, in Vail, Colorado. This event is known to be a competitor favourite because it takes place as part of the action-packed GoPro Mountain Games and the outdoor wall is surrounded by the spectacular panoramas of the mountain town.

Vail WC 2018. Photo courtesy of IFSC.

There is only one climbing World Cup in North America so not all international athletes opt to make the trip, especially if they’re trying to conserve energy in light of a demanding competition schedule. As a result, the event in Vail is relatively small; there are 148 registered athletes, compared with 269 in Munich and 398 in Wujiang. That said, the running order is still stacked, as you would expect, with many of the circuit’s top athletes, including Japan’s superstars, who did not compete in Munich.

Tomoa Narasaki in Vail, 2018. Photo courtesy of IFSC.

High-profile climbers notably missing from the starter list include: Aleksey Rubtsov (RUS), Jakob Schubert (AUT), Jessica Pilz (AUT), Shauna Coxsey (GBR) and Petra Klingler (SUI). Coxsey and Klingler also skipped Munich. As the host country, team USA will have a large presence with 20 athletes set to compete. Though Alex Puccio is not among them, Alex Johnson is, along with Kyra Condie, Margo Hayes, Zach Galla, Nathaniel Coleman and Sean Bailey, to name a few.

Nathaniel Coleman in Vail, 2017. Photo courtesy of IFSC.

Canada is sending ten athletes to Vail: Alannah Yip, Allison Vest, Paige Boklaschuk, Madison Fischer, Bea Evans, Sean McColl, Lucas Uchida, Jason Holowach, Nathan Smith and Zach Richardson.

Vest is clearly in top form, coming off her win at Open Lead Nationals in Montreal three weeks ago. Yip, who took a small break from competitions to recuperate and re-group, is having a tremendous season so far and is currently ranked 12th in bouldering. After missing out by one place in Munich, McColl will be gunning for a spot in Semi-finals in Vail. McColl has historically climbed very well at this event, making Finals five times in seven years (2nd in 2012, 4th in 2013, 3rd in 2014, 5th in 2015, and 6th in 2016).

Sean McColl in Vail, 2016. Photo courtesy of IFSC.

Aside from the standard Finals show, which will no doubt be exciting, eyes will be on Slovenia’s Janja Garnbret. If Garnbret wins this competition, it will mark her 6th victory in a row, out of six total bouldering WC events this season. In effect, she will be the only person to sweep a bouldering World Cup season. It should be noted that Anna Stöhr won seven bouldering World Cups in 2013, but technically it wasn’t a clean sweep because there were eight events that year.

Janja Garnbret in Vail, 2017. Photo courtesy of IFSC.

Schedule and Livestream

Qualifiers are on Friday June 7, starting with the women at 8am (MT), men at 1:30pm (MT)

Watch Semi-Finals on Saturday June 8, at 9:30am (8:30am PT, 11:30am ET)

Watch Finals on Saturday June 8, starting with the women at 3pm (2pm in Vancouver, 5pm in Toronto)

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