Xiamen 2017 Lead Qualifying
Xiamen, a hot and steamy port city in the south of China played host to the penultimate round of the 2017 Lead season. After a clear week, with temperatures tipping the low 30’s, the clouds moved in for the weekend, threatening rain and forceful winds.
Saturday dawned gloomy, with hazy overcast skies hinting at the wetness that was to follow.
Qualifying got underway as planned, with the womens routes soon to be shown to be undercooked, to easy for the world’s most accomplished competition climbers.
The men’s route were far better balanced, spitting off climber after climber as they tested the athletes to their limits.
About a third of the way through qualifying things got increasingly blustery, with the intermittent gusts of earlier making way for surging walls of wind that relentlessly buffeted the climbers on the routes. This added an extra challenge for the climbers, but was balanced in counterpoint by the fact it made the friction on the holds much better, sweeping away loose chalk and any perspiration that had built up.
At the end of qualifying all the women had progressed, with only 26 in the field several deciding to risk countback by dropping the routes to save energy, especially a couple who’d been ill through the week. A tactic that was going to destroy their event as it turned out…
In the mens almost all the usual suspects made it through, with only Jan Hojer and Campbell Harrison as notable omissions, sitting in 27th and 28th respectively.
Check out the below photos to get a feeling of what it was like to be at the windiest round I’ve ever attended! Higher res copies are available at https://circuit.smugmug.com/Xiamen-2017-Lead-Q/