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COVID-19 has rocked the competition climbing world. The Olympics have been postponed until 2021. The IFSC season was interrupted and won’t resume until late August. Even then, travel restrictions may prevent many competitors from attending. On the other hand, a unique outdoor first ascent competition has launched in Valle d’Aosta, Italy.
The rules for the competition are simple. Two new routes have been bolted at the Barliard crag in the Ollomont valley. One has been designated the men’s route for the event, the other the women’s route. The first person to redpoint their respective route wins €1,000 worth of gear. The men’s route is thought to be in the 8c/9a (5.14b-5.14d) range, and the women’s route is thought to be 8b+/bc (5.14a-5.14b).
In order to claim the prize, the climber must submit video evidence of their ascent to the contest organizers. There’s no limit to how many times the route may be tried, and the event runs through the end of the year. First redpoint wins.
While today the vast majority of climbing competitions take place on artificial walls (save one-off events like 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell), international competitions began on real rock in Italy. The 1985 Sportroccia event near Bardonecchia saw competitors climbing on rock routes that had been “routinely chipped and glued to achieve the correct grade,” according to Statement: The Ben Moon Story.