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Hemsedal Ice World cup competition

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Article about Hemsedal Ice World cup 2006 (my point of view)

It was Sunday morning in Saas Fee after the competition when two members of the UIAA commission, Swiss judges and me and my wife discussed the situation of the World cup in that very moment. We were all worried about the World cup event in Norway, so we decided that somebody should go there and see what has been going on. Michael established the contact with the organizers, but nobody wanted to go to this mission. Just 14 days before the event the local organizers asked for help and me and my wife decided to go there and help routesetting and judging.

There were no pictures about the construction available and the first came by e mail just 1 hour after our tickets have been paied. I must say that if I saw them earlier we would by no means go to Hemsedal! I wrote to the organizers that World cup can not be done on it and asked them if they maybe have a chance to make it somewhere in the nature or just cancel the event. They sent us pictures of a beautiful gorge, so this calmed us down a bit. We arrived to Oslo on Saturday and on Sunday to Hemsedal. When we saw the construction with our own eyes, I only had one wish - to dissapear or vanish forever! Below you can see that it really did not look promising...

At least the gorge looked well and I was thinking to move there at least speed and men finals if not the whole competition:

There were problems all around - no snow cannons available, no budget, not enough people to work, so the only logical thing would be to go home and let it go its own way. But there were two things that prevented us from doing so - one was the fact that many climbers already had their tickets or even were in Norway and the other were Bjorn and Christian that worked there like two abandoned soldiers holding the whole battlefront. As the entire competition could not be done on the construction and as the organizers had to make it there on Saturday the only possible solution was to make it on Saturday (open on the construction) and Sunday (finals in the gorge). That made a lot of justified anger at competitors and as the web page has not been updated on time they did not know that we have been working hard to make as much as possible on Saturday to enable all the women climbers and most of the men ones to leave Sunday morning or saturday evening. 

So we stayed and while Bjorn, Christian and me were working on the construction Jasna started "mobilisation" of climbers in the Gol gorge where they came for holidays. Here I must thank many climbers that helped us to make at least the routes and the construction somehow acceptable for the World cup: Adrien from France, Marcus from Norway, Anti from Finland and Klemen and Aljaz from Slovenija. On the days of competition many Norwegian climbers helped and especially the belayers were very professional and endurable at temperatures close to -20 at Saturday and -25 on Sunday. We had luck as we got the cannon on Monday evening and the temperature was luckily just the right one for good ice. The ice was thin but good owing to Maurizio Gallo who tought me how to make good ice years ago on my routesetter and judge course of the former IWC.

We all worked day and night while Jasna was teaching the organizers the regulations and the necessities for the competition. At the end the construction looked somehow while the final route and speed routes in the gorge looked wonderful. The pillar below was a perfect choice for speed duel race

and even the construction did not look so bad at the end:

It was very hard to push everything to Saturday- 32 men and 14 women at difficulty open and to make men speed during women final and women speed during men open in a gorge more then 20 km away. The organizers managed to do the transport logistics quite well, but unfortunatelly the overall organization was not good. But you climbers must understand that the whole event has been done by two braveharted climbers without support from any organizations, without high budget and without actual knowledge what a World cup event demands. One may say it was a foolish idea to sign in for the World cup, but it was also very unresponsible to accept them by the UIAA without checking anything. Actually they signed in by e mail -:)
In the evening there was the award ceremony for the women diff.and speed and men speed for both Hemsedal event and overall ranking. It happened for the first time that the overall winners had a ceremony and got the cups (done by Carles) what was a very positive change for the better. Unfortunatelly the organizers lacked money resources so the winners got no prize money and even nothing to eat what is all but pleasant in a country like Norway where coffee or beer has the cost of a meal in countries where the athlets came from. Also the overall winners did not get prize money as nobody has thought on that before.

On Sunday morning there was a meeting of some members of UIAA Commission, athlets, coaches and judges which I had to leave quite early for the preparing of the men final route and competition place in the gorge. Despite very low temperatures (it showed -27 when i came there) the competition was nice and the game very tense till the end when Harry Berger reached the top as the only one from the finalists.


On Monday we even managed to climb one icefall in Norway what together with the nice sunny day blew away my bad temper of last week. I hope you did not bear the organizers a grudge too much as both Christian and Bjorn have been working on it with all their heart.


Results men difficulty

Results men speed

Results women difficulty

Results women speed