When you’re on the top, everyone is gunning for you.
However, Gord McArthur was able to brush off the competition and climb his way to a second consecutive title at the North American Championships last weekend in Bozeman.
“It went really well,” McArthur said. “You have a different perspective when everybody from North America is gunning to beat you. All of the sudden, that kind of adds a bit more to your plate.
It’s not you just going to try to win, it’s you now trying to stay the winner, if that makes sense.
“It definitely adds spice to the event.”
The Bozeman Ice Festival doubles as both the North American Championship and a World Cup event on the UIAA circuit.
There was a little bit of drama before the competition as a sudden windstorm blew over the climbing structure three weeks beforehand, which led to an initial cancellation of the event.
“[It] basically destroyed the tower; the tower was huge, massive and they went super-big with it this year, and essentially the storm totally crushed it,” said McArthur.
“…the organizers of the event and the town, they rallied and they rebuilt and although it wasn’t quite as big, they totally pulled it off.”
Alongside McArthur at the competition were fellow Cranbrook athletes and climbers—Noah Beek, Karlee Hall and Ineke Rhebergen.
Beek placed third, Hall placed second and Rhebergen finished sixth in the North American Championship.
“They did amazing, for them to work as hard as they—all three of them have worked really hard. They’ve been training for months now and to see them perform as well as they did, it was absolutely a treat to watch.
“It was great to see them all find success in their own climbs.”
The Bozeman competition also served as an event on the UIAA World Cup Tour, which McArthur has been participating in for many years. In that scoring, he finished in 10th, competing against a host of athletes from Korea, USA, Russia, France and fellow Canadians.
Stops on the UIAA tour include events in Korea, Switzerland, and Italy.
“I’ve got a certain level of goals set out for this season—to be in finals as much as possible,” said McArthur. “This competition in Bozeman was a really tough field and the route-setting was really hard so I only missed finals by one move.
“So there’s a ton of us that were within a couple moves, so being that it was that close, albeit it wasn’t finals, I’m still very happy with that performance.”
An event in Korea is up next in January, before McArthur heads to Saas Fee in Switzerland, where he will be joined by Beek, Hall and Rhebergen in more UIAA climbing competitions.