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Covid Lockdown Cancels Ice Climbing European Cup Round

Canadian Gord McArthur is in Slovakia awaiting to hear how current Covid lockdowns will affect the competition schedule

The UIAA Ice Climbing European Cup didn’t happen last year due to Covid, but hopes were high that there would be a full schedule of tours this year. Unfortunately, Canada’s lone competitor is now waiting in limbo as the Slovakian event has been cancelled.

B.C. climber Gord McArthur, who finished in seventh at the Switzerland stop of the tour, touched base with us from Slovakia where he said there won’t be an event this due to a recent pandemic lockdown. Slovakia declared a 90-day state of emergency and a two-week lockdown following a spike in cases that saw the country’s seven-day average of cases rise above 10,000.

The central European country is currently in the midst of the world’s fastest rise in infections. President Zuzana Čaputová said on Tuesday, “Slovakia is losing the battle against Covid.” She said that healthcare staff are overworked, and the strain on the hospitals is almost unbearable. Slovakia ranks as the third-lowest European Union country in vaccination rates, with little over 45 per cent of Slovaks fully vaccinated.

The Czech Republic and Hungary are registering a record daily rise in cases. Austria has already put a total lockdown in place and it’s going to make vaccination mandatory from Feb. 1 of next year, making it the first country in the world to do so.

There’s no word as to whether the UIAA Ice Climbing European Cup and World Cup will go ahead, or if McArthur will be returning to Canada.