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Gord McArthur back in action from retirement

After eight years McArthur slew his kryptonite at the World Cup Ice Climbing tour in Switzerland
Gord McArthur is getting back to work and plans to compete on the whole World Cup circut next season. Photo by Drew Leiterman

Gord McArthur has been getting back to business and having a successful climbing year.

Recently he competed in the UIAA World Cup Ice Climbing tour in Switzerland, where he earned his best results at that particular competition.

“The eight previous years I felt like I was cursed at this particular venue, I really struggled with it. It’s a higher altitude so breathing is a lot harder, it’s more of a technical style of the route, the way the holds are all set up. So, I’ve always struggled with the venue,” explained McArthur.

However, this year he went back to Switzerland to take it on.

“I came back with a fresh set of eyes, and a new level of confidence. All of a sudden I found this new personal success there and it was absolutely amazing to finally break that curse,” he said.

In November, he also travelled down to Denver to compete at the 2018 annual Ice Fest, which is an indoor dry-tooling competition, which he won.

“That was my first competition out of retirement, so it was a nice boost of confidence coming out of retirement,” said McArthur.

Nearly five years ago he participated in the same competition, where he won as well.

“It was neat to come back after five years and win again,” he said. “It’s such an amazing community of climbers down there. The competition is one of the most fun because everyone is so chill and having fun, trying hard — there’s beginners, intermediates, advanced climbers — it’s a good array of enthusiasm.”

McArthur had planned to retire after 10 years of competition, but in the summer he says he felt like he wasn’t quite finished.

“I had a bit left to offer,” he said. “I knew I had to go back and finish well. Not necessarily well by standings, but well as in finish a full season with confidence.”

Getting back into the competitive action, McArthur said what he likes about climbing is an athlete can always improve.

“I’ve always loved that part of it. There is no end in sight. You finish one competition you got to the next. You can always be better, so I just love that idea — it never ends for me,” he said.

The owner/director of ARQ Mountain Centre has been able to share his love of climbing with the younger athletes, including his own children.

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“My daughter is on the wall as we speak, it’s so cool to share this passion with her and these kids. To see them succeed it’s really fun to [show] that passion, and it’s easy to pour that passion out because I’m so excited about it still. I love it,” said McArthur.

He will finish this season at the World Cup in Denver on Feb. 22-24, which is also the final round.

“I’m feeling fit,” he said about going into the competition. “I’m excited. I’m not overconfident, but I’m confident in where I am at. So, I think it’s going to be awesome.”

Next season he plans to do the entire World Cup circuit from start to finish. Places include Russia, Asia, Italy, Switzerland and more.

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