Saas Fee preps for ice champs

22nd December 2009, by Chris Gill

Hooking into the ice fun [ Saas Fee / Photo press: Ice Climb World Champs]

Hooking into the ice fun [ Saas Fee / Photo press: Ice Climb World Champs]

If you’re in Saas Fee in January, the Ice Climbing World Championships is a thrilling diversion off the slopes. And there is much more besides …

The Ice Climbing World Championships attracts some of the best climbers to the Swiss resort of Saas Fee; this year the event takes place from 15 to 23 January 2010, with the whole week devoted to competition on the indoor ice wall.

And it’s no ordinary venue: the championships takes place in the resort’s multi-storey car park, as do the all-important après-climb parties. The round ‘tower’ doubles-up as a spectator area, with the parties and dance floor in the basement; there is a marquee and bar too.

There will be presentations by Ueli Steck and Ines Papert about the European Ice Climbing Youth event, World Cup and Swiss Masters series. Then you can crane your neck skywards as the athletes pick their way to the top of the specially prepared competition wall – with all the technicalities and overhangs associated with winter climbing in the outdoors.

‘Lead’ and ‘speed’ climbs start the event: ‘Lead’ involves a long climb, where to win the climber must cover the most distance in the time allowed; ‘speed’ is … er … the fastest ascent of the 15m vertical ice wall – the top athletes can climb it in around 13 seconds.

The newly revamped programme will also include a night ski touring race and climbing sessions for the youngsters. And as the evening events hot-up, there will be live music and a big screen to relay the competitions to the outside world (Saas Fee world that is!).

The venue, Saas fee

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