DENVER (CBS4)– The Ice Climbing World Cup Finals have never been hosted in North America before. That’s all about to change. Next month, the elite competition will take over Denver’s Civic Center Park.
The top ice climbers from around the world will scale a 50-foot tall structure made of steel, scaffolding, plywood, and of course, ice. The installation is a partnership between the American Alpine Club and Eldorado Walls. Construction is scheduled to begin Feb. 15 just one week ahead of the competition.
A Visit Denver released this statement, “More than 200 athletes from 26 countries will compete in two categories – lead and speed. The speed discipline, which spectators can see on Saturday, February 23, is an all-out vertical sprint to the top of the wall using ice axes and crampons. In the lead discipline on Sunday, February 24, ice climbers will employ artful technique and powerful strength to ascend the wall, often vertically, upside-down or hanging on by one point of contact.”
“It is that big of a deal. It’s some of the best ice and mixed climbers that there are currently and it’s just a gathering of the tribe and it’s where climbers get to know each other,” said Ben Coryell, owner of Golden Mountain Guides.
Ben and his wife Whitney have owned Golden Mountain guides since 2016. Guided climbing has become so popular, the couple are now working to build a new space for their business.
They are thrilled the world class climbing competition is coming to Denver. Not only for the spectating aspect but for their business.
“I think Denver is really up and coming in terms of climbing in terms of the outdoor scene,” Coryell continued, “I think there’s definitely a need and I think it’s going to keep growing especially with ice climbing coming to Denver.”
Other crazy events throughout the weekend surrounding the competition include snow skating, fire throwing, fat biking, arm wrestling, lumberjack games and more. It’s all part of a winter festival called BARBEGAZI, which means “frozen beard”. BARBEGAZI a free family-friendly, winter action sports festival which will kick off the competition.
The festivities begin on Feb. 22 from 5-8 p.m. The competition begins the following morning at 8 a.m.