Rock Master 2010 climbs higher than ever

From 16 to 18 July the best climbers will compete in the Italian town of Arco. Ondra and Sharma will be present as well. Many disciplines with boulder, speed, lead, duel and team speed. It will be the pre-event before the 2011 IFSC World Championship

Rock Master 2010"Rock Master" climbs higher than ever. From July 16 to 18 the famed international climbing event in Arco (Italy) will celebrate its 24th edition, and it will serve as the pre-event to the IFSC World Championship, scheduled for July 2011 in Arco.

The Italian town of Arco, in Trentino region, is located on the northern fringe of Lake Garda and is surrounded by majestic rock chains and high mountains which represent a true challenge for climbers. Just outside the city centre, stands the Climbing Stadium, a 60-foot-tall permanent outdoor infrastructure that once again will represent the centre of gravity, the heart of the three-day climbing event.

Being the pre-event to the 2011 IFSC World Championship, the 2010 Rock Master changes its face and its competition formula, and adds a new challenge to the four it has been hosting for over 20 years. First of all, this year"s Rock Master will not be by invitation only, but "Open" to all national teams that can send their best athletes to the contest.

Around 200 top climbers from all over the world will be competing in the Lead, Speed and Bouldering categories, plus the fascinating Duel and, absolute novelty, the Team Speed, with mixed teams of three athletes each, sprinting upwards in a vertical relay race on the World Record wall. The Team Speed competition will be introduced as a medal competition for the 2011 World Championship.

Because of its unique charm and breathtaking character, the "Duel" always takes place at the very end of Rock Master, and combines the spectacular nature of Lead competitions with the immediacy and rhythm of Speed events. Only the best 8 competitors of the Lead competition – male and female – go to "duel" in a classic knock-out system starting from the quarter-finals. Although not an official medal, nor World Cup competition yet, the Duel will also be the closing act of the 2011 IFSC World Championship, with 16 climbers competing instead of 8.

All the top climbers will be present in Arco next July, these are some of the most famous names: Fischhuber, Ondra, Hori, Graftiaux, Noguchi, Abramchuk and Stöhr for the bouldering competitions, the “king” Chris Sharma for the “lead” competitions, Hroza, Ropek, Swirk, Riepko, Styenkovyy for the “speed” together with the Chinese team with the recordman and recordwoman Qixin Zhong and Cuilian He, but many nations still have to send their entries, so other important names are expected.

During 2010 Rock Master, the 5th edition of Arco Rock Legends will also be held in Arco, with the sport climbing Oscars awarded to this year"s best climbers. The nominees for the two prizes are: France"s Charlotte Durif and Enzo Oddo, Adam Ondra of Czech Republic and Americans Chris Sharma and Daniel Woods, for the "Salewa Rock Award", while Adam Ondra, Austria"s Johanna Ernst and Akiyo Noguchi of Japan will compete for the "La Sportiva Competition Award".

In 2009, the 23rd Rock Master was dominated by Spaniard Ramòn Julién Puigblanque and Austria"s Angela Eiter. Libor Hroza of Czech Republic and Edyta Ropek of Poland won the speed competition, while Killian Fischhuber (AUT) and Alizée Dufraisse (FRA) won the men"s and women"s bouldering competitions.