The vertical race is over - Ukrainians won again!

 The Mountaineering World Championship (competition class - rock) in Crimea, which took place from September 29 through October 7, 2013 is over. The winner was the Ukrainian team.Ukrainians Aleksandr Zakolodniy and Anatoly Ochenash (team Ukraine-1) won the tight competition, edging out two Russian teams that chased them every step of the way. It was a repeat performance for the Ukrainian duo, who also took first prize last year, with the another Ukrainian team in second place and a Moldovan team taking third place.This year, though, the Russians, coached by prominent Soviet alpinist Valery Balezin, from Krasnoyarsk, came prepared and ready to prevail.

The six Russian teams (three men’s and three women’s) under Balezin’s supervision demonstrated incredible speed, setting some new records during ascents of some of the most technically challenging routes on the lime rock faces of southern Crimea. Some of these routes were up to 500 m in length. In the end, the Ukrainian team edged out the Russia-2 team of Igor Loginov and Aleksandr Zhigalov by 0.174 of a point.

 

The difficult trad routes in this area of Crimea are particularly interesting, requiring a combination of high level free climbing and great aid climbing skills. That fact, combined with very unfavorable weather conditions, posed challenges to certain teams. The team of great climbers of Ekaitz Maiz Urretabizrkaia and Antton Zabala Arabaolaza from the Basque Country, despite a high score in the first part of the competition, in which they came in second, made two unsuccessful attempts to climb routes on Morcheka, known for its solid, smooth, almost 90 degree face. It’s possible that a lack of equipment and the brutal cold (the rock at that point was freezing and sometimes icy, and there was snow on the plateau) prevented them from finishing the route. They rallied later in the competition and did manage to finish their third and fourth climbs quite fast, ending up in ninth place.

Certain other teams also found the conditions too much to handle and  for different reasons quit the race early. Only five men’s teams out of 14 completed all four climbs in four days. One of them  was Ukraine-2. Guys climbed all four routes, but lost to the leaders in speed and gained 5th result. Ukraine-3 and Kazakhstan were experienced and strong teams. Both chose  and completed 3 "pricey" routes each and consequently finished 6th and 7th.

 

As for the women, four out of seven teams completed all the required three climbs in four days. The Russian pairing of Irina Bakaleinikova and Alyona Andreeva, both of whom competed last year on different teams with other partners and won gold and silver medals, won first place this year. Their fellow Russians Maria Smelovskaya and Galina Kukhareva were in second place. The experienced Ukrainian team of Anna Yasinskaya and Oksana Revchuk were a close third, forcing the Russian women to pick high-rating difficult routes and climb as fast as they could.

Fourth place went to the Catalonian team of Fiona Pujol Creus and Anna Bonet Dalmau. These women won the respect of the other teams and the judges for the fact that they were in Crimea for the first time. Despite being unfamiliar with the peculiarities of the local routes they kept on climbing in cold, wet, and windy conditions unusual for Crimea in October, completing three fairly difficult routes, which allowed them to come in fourth.

The second Ukrainian team had a chance to fight for fourth place with the Catalonians, but they didn’t finish their third climb, and lost their chance.

Overall, the organizers from the Eurasian Mountaineering and Climbing Association and the Mountaineering and Climbing Federation of Ukraine are satisfied with the way the Championship went this year. There were twice as many participating countries as last year and their geography is broader.

They were thrilled to host teams from Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Lithuania, the Basque Country, and Catalonia that participated in the Championship for the first time and wholeheartedly invite all this year’s participants as well as new teams to come next year and test their skills on the Crimean rocks.

It was a great event that expressed the true spirit of alpinism: facing challenges and striving to overcome them with bravery and dignity.

 

Congratulations to all and please come back next year!!

 

*****

 

Please, find official results of the Championship in the section "Results 2013" of this site. For more photos from the event, visit BORASH.LIVEJOURNAL.COM