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Sochi Olympics and Ice Climbing

The opening ceremonies are today, Feb. 7, in Sochi, Russia. Competitive ice climbers on the UIAA World Cup tour have gathered in Sochi to take part in the event.

Olympic Park  Photo Getty Images
Olympic Park Photo Getty Images

Ice climbing is being showcased at the Olympic Park. Ice climbing is not a competitive sport at the Olympics, no medals will be awarded to climbers.

Sochi ice wall  Photo UIAA
Sochi ice wall Photo UIAA

Starting tomorrow, visitors to the park will be able to try to climb the wall and witness exciting spectacles including a speed duel where climbers will climb on all four sides of the tower at the same time.

At least 60 ice climbing athletes from 15 countries have been invited to participate in the event. Laser shows during the duels are also planned each evening, while daytime visitors will be introduced and initiated into the intricacies involved in ice climbing.

The Olympic Flame has been lit at the summit of Mt. Elbrus – the highest point in Europe – as part of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay.

Mount Elbrus
Mount Elbrus

The special project to take the flame to the western peak of Elbrus, at an altitude of 5,642 metres above sea level, was planned separately from the main Olympic Torch Relay route in order to ensure the best possible weather conditions for the climb.

At the end of October 2013, an ascent of the western summit was made by a team of experienced mountain climbers including Karina Mezova, who has climbed to the summit of Elbrus 130 times, and Abdul-Khalim Elmezov, the President of the Climbing Federation of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Canadian Gord McArthur was interviewed by Petzl on what it was like to travel to Sochi to showcase ice climbing as a cultural event. Read the interview here. Other Canadians at the event are Jen Olson and Nathan Kutcher. Read an interview with Olson here.