The UIAA’s first ever World Cup in North America started with the speed climbing competition on Fri. Dec. 12. The warm weather led to a no-ice speed climbing wall in downtown Bozeman, Montana.
Large crowds gathered in Bozeman to watch the event take place. In the end, Nikolai Kuzovlov from Russia won for the men and American Kendra Stritch won for the women.
Stritch is the first North American to ever win a stage of the UIAA World Tour and she did it on home soil. She made history with her two round combined time of 16.4 seconds. Gripped’s gear editor, Rafal Andronowski, made it to the finals for the men’s speed climbing and finished in an impressive fifth place. The top four are all from Russia. Kuzovlov’s times of 5.17 and 5.43 sets the stage for a very competitive year in the speed comp.
The unseasonably warm weather had people out in their summer clothing. Bozeman Ice Fest and Canadian climber Joe Josephson was out and about welcoming climbers from around the world to the event he made happen.