Team Canada and Cranbrook athletes Gordon McArthur, Karlee Hall, Ineke Rhebergen and Noah Beek competed in the first round of the UIAA’s 2016 World Cup Tour and at the UIAA North American Championship.
McArthur held on to his North American Championship title from last year, repeating with a gold medal performance. Beek, a fellow Cranbrookian climber, finished in third place, while Hall placed second and Rhebergen finished in sixth.
See the Daily Townsman later this week for a feature interview with McArthur on his gold medal experience in Bozeman and his hopes for the 2016 UIAA World Cup Tour.
In total, 59 athletes from 12 countries competed in the ice climbing competitions.
A few weeks before the competition, a massive wind storm toppled the structure the ice climbers compete on. A tremendous effort from the UIAA committee, Bozeman community volunteers as well as corporate and private individuals who made financial donations allowed the tower to be rebuilt and for the show to go on.
Hall and Beek have been climbing with McArthur for a few years, who has been serving as their coach.
For Hall, it was the first competition of the UIAA World Cup Tour season.
“It’s stressful at first, dealing with the nerves, and it’s only my second World Cup, so I’m still super new to competing, so I still didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “After I did my first climb, I was able to get rid of the nerves and climb a lot better on my next attempts.”
The North American Championship featured two qualifying climbs, and another one for the semifinals. Reaching the semifinals was her goal, however, her results were good enough to land her on the podium.
“I wanted to make it into semi-finals, that was my goal heading into the competition and I definitely exceeded that goal,” Hall said. “They take 18 people into the semifinals and I made 12th place, so I was very happy with that result in making semifinals.”
Beek said his goal was to hit the podium for the event, which he did after tackling the challenges of the climbing structure.
“There was a storm that blew it down, then they had to rally to get it cleaned up and rebuilt again,” Beek said. “But they weren’t able to get it built quite as high, so it was kind of a shorter structure, but I think they had to focus on technical climbing instead of long climbing and endurance-based climbing.
“It was very difficult.”
Beek said he’s been feeling confident about hitting the World Cup tour this season.
“I’m feeling very strong this season,” Beek said, “so I knew that it was possible but anything can happen and you always have to take that into perspective going into the comp. It’s very easy to overestimate what you’re going to do and that can kind of mess you up.”