CWIF 2017 Competition Preview
The CWIF, or Climbing Works International Festival as its known to those who hate acronyms, is a two day competition held in England’s steel city, the gateway to the Peak District, Sheffield.
For years it was only known for its steel industry, and the iconic band’s Def Leppard and Pulp. However, something else was being created in Sheffield through the 80’s and 90’s, a world class climbing scene.
Climbers slipped into Sheffield from all over the United Kingdom and abroad, looking to hone their skills and spend time on what many consider God’s own rock, the Grit.
The Climbing Works in Sheffield is an iconic gym, a vibrant hub of the UK climbing scene – so deeply embedded in the competition scene, it comes as no surprise one of the great competitions is held there every year.
Looking at the line up for this year its easy to see why people get so excited. With a field that includes World Champions, World Cup overall champions, Outdoor climbers of enormous reputation and even one of the world’s greatest Alpinists, it’ll be one for the ages!
Climbers have come from as far away as Korea for the 2017 Rab CWIF, with 2015 World Cup overall winner Chon Jongwon and Sol Sa making the long journey to attend the Iconic event. From the USA comes the one and only Jimmy Webb, a legend in his own beard and undisputedly one of the great outdoor boulderers.
Sean McColl is reputed to be on his way, anxious to retain his 2016 crown and get his season kick started after a difficult US nationals appearance, although he did just take his 10th Canadian title with style!
Looking further into the men’s field we find World Cup winners and finalists, the likes of Rustam Gelmanov competing alongside Michael Piccolruaz, Jernej Kruder and Gabri Moroni. Jorg Verhoeven is another legend of the sport who will be there, as will Tyler Landman, Alex Khazanov, Manu Cornu and many, many, many more.
And then of course we find more outdoor legends on the list. Want advice on how to solo a big wall in Yosemite in a day? Ask Pete Whittaker, but maybe wait till after he’s done competing.
Want to know how Alex Megos keeps at the top of the game while eternally looking like he could be competing in Youth B? Again, best ask him after the comp. In fact, maybe it’s better not to ask him that one at all!
And, in one of the biggest shock comebacks (don’t call it a comeback) of many years, the 2017 CWIF sees the return of multiple World Cup winner and hero level Alpine climber David Lama, who is still somehow only 26 but hasn’t competed on the international stage for more than 6 years!
The women’s field is just as stellar, if not even better than the men’s. With not one but two IFSC Bouldering World Champions competing, the only star that’ll be missing is England’s hero, Shauna Coxsey. But, even she will be there, albeit holding a microphone instead of swinging between holds.
A strong Swiss team is returning, the highlight being Petra Klingler who will be attending the CWIF this year as reigning World Champion, oh how sweet that must sound to her.
Joining her in the Swiss team is Andrea Kümin, a first time finalist here last year, as well as Natalie Bärtschi, Jara Späte and more.
From Germany, the legend that is 2014 World Champion Juliane Wurm will be returning to competition. Accompanied by her brother Alex, it’ll be great seeing the legendary Jule back on the wall, customary smile blazing.
Speaking of smiles. None are brighter than that of the recently retired (from World Cup competition at least) Melissa LeNeve. Seeing her competing alongside Jule and Petra will be something special for the fans, three ladies who have lead by example in the sport, showing that competition can be fun and letting their personalities shine through. As a photographer they have always been favorites to shoot so I’m so stoked to get another opportunity.
Add to the already listed athletes the likes of Hannah Midtbø and Kajsa Rosén from Scandinavia, Chloé Caulier from Belgium, Slovenian Julija Kruder, Austria’s Katharina Sauerwein and local hero’s Leah Crane, Michaela Tracy and Tara Hayes and the field becomes very deep indeed.
Speaking of local heros, there will be many at the CWIF, some well known, others looking to make a name for themselves and still others just out to have a good time. If you’re one of the 400+ competitors entered make sure to look around and see who you’re climbing amongst, legends will be in all groups, that’s pretty much a guarantee.
So get ready for the CWIF, if you’re not in the UK or just can’t make it you can follow the results and get all the awesome photos from thecircuitclimbing.com and through our facebook ‘The Circuit Climbing’ and our instagram thecircuitclimbing.
There will be updates on the official CWIF page and a live stream of Semi’s and Finals! Will there be heroics to match Sean’s amazing send of mens problem 3 or Rustam’s last gasp triple clutch dyno from last year’s finals? We sure hope so!!!
Post Script. In last minute news, Gholamali Baratzadeh of Iran and Jan Hojer of Germany are now entered as well. It keeps getting bigger and better!