The first round of the Ice World Cup series took place in Italy over the weekend.Austrian Markus Bendler won a very close men?s final with some tenacious climbing, topping out on two of the three routes in the final. Just behind him was the elegant Swiss climber, Simon Waldeler who fell foul of the judges on the first route and reached the penultimate hold before being timed out on the next two. Also of note was a great performance by the veteran Italian, Mauro (Bubu) Bole who whipped the local crowd into a frenzy by finishing 6th. Markus Bendler In the women?s competition Italy?s Jenny Lavarda won the qualifying round easily. At the age of 22 Jenny is already a F8c sports climber and this year looked to be translating that skill well onto the ice. There was very little to separate the next 8 or so women, with Britain?s Fiona Murray qualifying easily for the final in 6th place. In the final Jenny again looked comfortable and topped out on both routes, Petra Muller from Switzerland  finished second and unfortunately Fiona Murray slipped back to 8th position. Jenny Lavarda Fiona Murray Also of note was the performance of British climber Kev Shields. He finished 34th in a field of 85 men. That might not sound particularly impressive, however when you consider that he does not have a left hand it is rather remarkable. Climbing with a prosthetic attachment to his fusions he is able to use an axe but is still at a major disadvantage, for example not being able to swap hands on his axes. The world cup commission were suitably impressed by his performance and awarded him a medal! Kev Shields M10+ for Fiona Murray 2 days prior to the Ice World Cup Fiona was in Switzerland to prepare for the competition and managed to make a very quick ascent of Tool Time M10+ at Ueschenen. Climbed in the modern style, without heel-spurs, this is her hardest mixed route to date and certainly amongst the hardest modern-style ascents by women. Fiona Murray For more information see the Hot Aches Blog  http://hotaches.blogspot.com/ All pictures courtesy of Hot Aches Images