The 2019 bouldering season came to a close after the sixth IFSC Bouldering World Cup of 2019, hosted in Vail, CO at the annual Mountain Games. Janja GARNBRET (SLO) and Tomoa NARASAKI (JPN) were crowned the overall season champions.
GARNBRET Sweeps the Season
The women’s final featured four heavy hitters and two newcomers to the IFSC World Cups. While GARNBRET had already secured the season title after her win in Munich, the places on the final bouldering podium for the year were still to be determined.
All the competitors make quick work of W1, completing the problem in no more than three attempts. Akiyo NOGUCHI (JPN) had her eyes on securing the second-place position in the overall rankings and promptly flashed the problem. Not to be outdone, Fanny GIBERT (FRA), who finished the semi-finals in first with four tops, also flashed it, determined to maintain her overall ranking. The number of total tops started to decline during W2, the dyno to gaston tripping up the competitors leaving the top spot open for the taking after GIBERT failed to finish.
Going into the second half of the women’s competition, the problems required even more technique and balance. Her first IFSC World Cup Final, Luce DOUADY (FRA) really showed her talent on W3 by toe hooking the left hold to avoid barn-dooring off the zone, but ultimately missed out on the top. The problem also knocked NOGUCHI down to third place behind GIBERT, leaving the final podium placements down to the fourth and final wall.
Set with a jumping start in mind, Mao NAKAMURA (JPN) decided that static would be best for her and earned another zone for her efforts during her first IFSC World Cup and Final. The riskiest method attempted was the bat hang by NONAKA. She reached the zone pretty quickly but tired out before time was up, landing in a tentative second place with three strong climbers remaining. NOGUCHI was next, completing the problem in only two attempts, putting her ahead of GARNBRET. With the gold medal and history on the line, GARNBRET put on her game face and flew up the route in a single attempt for the win to the cheers and congratulations of everybody. But the final wasn’t over yet. Determined to land in second place, GIBERT gave her all on the final problem, even climbing past the buzzer just to reach the top, but ultimately finished in third, behind NOGUCHI.
The women’s overall bouldering season podium mirrored the World Cup’s with GARNBRET earning gold, NOGUCHI silver and GIBERT bronze. Check the 2019 Bouldering World Cup Ranking here.
Two Wins for Japan
The speculation of who would come out on top of the Men’s 2019 Bouldering Season was the central focus of the Men’s Vail World Cup. Adam ONDRA (CZE) and Tomoa NARASAKI (JPN) were neck-in-neck in the rankings with NARASAKI needing to place both second and above ONDRA to win the title.
The competition started out on a slab, with both Jan HOJER (GER) and NARASAKI flashing the problem, and ONDRA securing the top after his second attempt. M2 proved to be the easiest problem for the men, giving them each a top and making finishing the final two walls crucial to earning a place on the podium.
Sean MCCOLL (CAN) and ONDRA were the first two to attempt the technical slab climb, however neither were able to get the zone, pushing ONDRA down to fifth place and MCCOLL to sixth. With his rival for the overall title down in the rankings, NARASAKI just needed a top to take control of the competition, which he delivered. HOJER was next, needing multiple attempts to secure the zone. Fueled by the cheers of the crowd, he made a final attempt on the top but overshot with seconds remaining on the clock. Yoshiyuki OGATA (JPN) was the second climber to reach the top of M3, jumping ahead in the rankings to a tentative second place with three tops. Jongwon CHON (KOR) had the same finish as HOJER, just missing out on the final hold by a few centimeters and moving to fourth.
The battle for the podium came down to the final wall. The first four climbers all managed to secure the zone, but were stopped by the following hold. With perfectly executed technique, OGATA flashed the problem, overcoming NARASAKI and earning his first IFSC World Cup gold medal. In order to make the podium, CHON just needed to reach the zone in fewer attempts than HOJER. In true showstopping fashion, he crushed the problem on his second attempt to the roar of the crowd and finds his first spot on an IFSC podium in two years, with bronze.
The final 2019 Bouldering World Cup complete, the winners of the men’s bouldering season are set in stone. NARASAKI overcame the odds of beating ONDRA, earning gold, followed by ONDRA with silver and OGATA with bronze. Check the 2019 Bouldering World Cup Ranking here.