Local climbers hit podium; off to World Cup

Noah Beek, Ineke Rhebergen top North American climbers, head to world cup events with Gord McArthur.

Noah Beek in action on the wall at the North American Championships in Durango

Noah Beek in action on the wall at the North American Championships in Durango

Three Cranbrook athletes are heading overseas to make their mark on the World Cup circuit in ice climbing.

Gord McArthur, Ineke Rhebergen and Noah Beek have jetted into Beijing, China, where the second event of the season sanctioned by the UIAA— a French acronym for the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation.

McArthur has been competing on the circuit for a few years now, and represented Canada at the Sochi Winter Olympics when climbing was a demonstration sport.

Now, he’s joined by fellow locals in Beek and Rhebergen, who he is coaching out of his gym, the newly opened Arq Mountain Centre.

The competition in Beijing is the second World Cup event of the season, as all three hope to make their mark after a stellar opening performance at the North American Championships in December.

Hosted in Durango, Colorado, Beek and Rhebergen both climbed to the top of the podium in their respective categories; Beek won the title as the top male North American climber, while Rhebergen earned her status as the top North American climber in the women’s division.

Now, the three are looking to ply their trade against the best in the world as more international climbers from powerhouse nations such as Russia and South Korea flock to the World Cup circuit, which features six events over the span of five weeks.

Other world cup stops include competitions in France, South Korea, Switzerland and Italy.

The UIAA is slowly making progress on getting ice climbing into the lineup of competition sports for the Winter Olympics. McArthur previously represented the sport and Canada at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, which was billed as a showcase sport.

The governing body is continuing it’s push as climbing will be a demonstration sport in the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, while 2022 is the goal to have it as a podium event.