For quite a while, competitive ice climbing in the US has been a dysfunctional hodgepodge of efforts, from local comps to US Championships, youth competitions and athletes. Other countries have been organized for quite a while and developed organized teams and fantastic athletes. Two great examples of this are South Korea and Russia. Both countries have organized teams and a competition circuit that prepares their athletes for the upcoming World Cup circuit. Because of this organization both Korea and Russia routinely take first place on the podium.
Competitive ice climbing ha been growing in the US but has not had an organization or strong community behind. It has mainly been pushed to its current state by individuals.
This past winter while at the Ice Climbing World Cup competition in Beijing, I had several dinner conversations about the unorganized nature of US competition ice climbing. Out of these conversations came the idea of USA Ice Climbing, a non profit organization who’s goal would be to promote and grow competitive ice climbing, mixed climbing and drytooling.
After a couple months of time traveling between World Cups and working on creating USA Ice Climbing, it’s a reality! Stay tuned for big things in competitive ice climbing in the US and the 2018 North American Championships and the US Championships hosted by USA Ice Climbing!