Russia Combined Championship, 70th Anniversary Celebration Event
When The Russian Climbing Federation invited me to attend the 70th anniversary celebration event of the first competition in Russia I was immediately interested.
Sure I figured getting a visa would be tough but it was a chance to see an Olympic Combined format event on an amazing wall. Also of course I have many friends among the Russian climbers so it would be a privilege and a rare opportunity to see them in their home element. Something I was of course curious to experience!
Getting a visa proved almost impossible, but where there’s a will there’s a way. So, midday Friday, a mere five hours before my plane was booked to depart I picked up my 3 day visa. Just enough to get in, shoot the competition and get out again.
Of course, even after that it wasn’t easy. Due to heavy snow in Moscow my flight circled for more than an hour before diverting to another city. My 10pm arrival become a much less pleasant 4am arrival. Importantly though, I’d made it!!!
The competition was superb. Although at times heavy on pomp and ceremony it had to be remembered that this event was to celebrate the history of the Russian Climbing Federation, something that could be seen on all the storyboards on the way in.
Due to the length of my visa I elected to miss the qualifying days, and so only saw the finals, the top six men and women selected from the two previous days of competition.
The competition started with Speed, followed by Bouldering and then concluded with Lead. The way the event works is really enjoyable but does make for a long viewing experience, and of course a long competing experience for the athletes.
As the rounds moved through it was clear that fatigue was taking a toll, with the view of them fighting through moves you’d expect them to accomplish easily while fresh being pretty entertaining. Somewhere someone will find a training solution to counter the endurance aspect of the event I am sure. And come Olympics whoever does will have a huge advantage.
Here are all the photos from the event. The next day (yes the very next day, after 3 days of competition) was the semi finals and finals of the last Russia Cup in Bouldering for the year. That will follow in a separate article.
All the photos are available to download in higher resolution for personal use at
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I can’t thank the Russian Climbing Federation enough for the invitation to this event and the amazing, heart warming welcome I received. Also a huge thank you to the climbers who took it upon themselves to take me out for some amazing Russian cuisine and who showed me some of the sights of Moscow, I truly had the best time!
Book your tickets for the IFSC Bouldering and Speed World Cup’s in April now. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend!