Ice climbing is about to be urbanized by way of a UAII World Cup stop in downtown Denver, Colorado. Capping a seven-week competition season, the Denver event is the sixth and final event on the World Cup docket, and the only stop in the U.S. The best athletes in the world will be on the scene to ascend the man-made ice.
What the Civic Center Park venue lacks in natural wonder, it more than makes up for in user-friendliness. Spectators are never more than a few hundred yards away from a steamy bowl of food truck pho or a double shot Americano. Clearly, though, the refreshments are secondary to the action.
Since ice climbing is typically remote by nature, it’s easy to assume that it’s not much of a spectator sport. Not so, according to American Alpine Club CEO, Phil Powers.
“Competitive ice climbing is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever watched; the stamina, skill, and seeming impossibility of it all makes for an outstanding spectator experience. They’re up there doing crazy moves, wielding sharp tools and they hang on forever.”
When a seasoned alpinist like Powers can’t contain his chill, you know there must be something to it. Experienced climbers will appreciate the skill and finesse. But even those who don’t know a crampon from a carabiner will dig the raw strength, the danger, and the ascension that looks a lot more punk rock than love song.
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