Arco Rock Legends and the 2013 nominations

Mina Markovic (c) Stanko Gruden In the running for the sport climbing Oscars are Steve McClure, Alexander Megos, Adam Ondra and Chris Sharma for the Salewa Rock Award, while Angela Eiter, Mina Markovic and Jakob Schubert have been nominated for the La Sportiva Competition Award. The prestigious Climbing Ambassador by Aquafil award will be unveiled during the evening ceremony. A strong but diverse group will line up in Arco at the beginning of September to celebrate the eighth Arco Rock Legends, the important international awards that assigns two prestigious sport climbing prizes, the Salewa Rock Award and the La Sportiva Competition Award. A small strong group that includes some of the best climbers in the world, of course, comprised of some familiar faces to this small Italian town and also some newcomers, selected in this first phase by an international jury who on Friday 6 September will face the daunting task of choosing two winners. One for climbs outdoors, the Salewa Rock Award, and one for competitions, the La Sportiva Competition Award.

Fotostrecke: Arco Rock Legends 2013 nominations

Let's start with the Salewa Rock Award. This prize is intended for the climber who has left an important mark worldwide, thanks to the routes climbed and also to his or her distinct personal style. Not surprisingly in Arco eight years ago this title was won for the first time by Basque climber Josune Bereziartu, followed by true legends such as Patxi Usobiaga, Sasha DiGiulian, Adam Ondra (three times!) and Chris Sharma.

And it comes as no surprise that Adam Ondra and Chris Sharma, two of the world's undisputed protagonists of cutting-edge difficulties, have been nominated once again. Ondra's nomination comes in the wake of numerous records that include, first and foremost, his route Change in Norway; a line he saw and bolted in the enormous Flatanger cave and then freed after five weeks of intense efforts to produce the hardest sports climb in the world. The first route to officially break into the 9b+ barrier. A new level of difficulty, unheard of, that the Czech climber equalled a few months later when he made the first ascent of La Dura Dura at Oliana in Spain. As if to say, the two hardest routes on the planet bear his signature…

In truth, supremacy on La Dura Dura was also hotly contended with the climber who had the original vision and bolted the line, America's Chris Sharma, aka The King. Along with Ondra, last winter Sharma provided a beautiful spectacle, rare and unique as the two teamed up to fight gravity. Ondra and Sharma battled against the route at the same time, pushing each other higher and higher and although Ondra reached the chain first, Sharma's redpoint a few weeks later was the culmination of his personal dream, but also ours as sport, fair play and personal motivation triumphed together with a friendship that counts for far more than a given grade…

Someone else who triumphed this year was young German Alexander Megos, an absolute outsider for almost everyone who stunned the world with the historic, first-ever 9a onsight. Estado Critico is the name of the route, Siurana the name of the crag where Megos managed to do what others had hitherto attempted in vain. A historic moment that lasted just a few minutes, one attempt only, a perfect onsight that projected Megos into the all-time Hall of Fame of sports climbing.Talking of attempts: a few days later Megos confirmed his extraordinary class by sending a 9a+ on his second attempt, while at the crags at home in Germany he recently freed numerous old projects in the blink of an eye… Megos is new to Arco this year, but we'll most certainly be seeing more of him in the future.

The other newcomer to the 2013 nominations is no one less than Englishman Steve McClure, the climber who more than anyone else has pushed the limit of sport climbing on the other side of the English channel. For more than a decade McClure has climbed into a realm of difficulty unrivaled by anyone else and while some of his routes have only recently been repeated, others still await a second ascent since 1998! "Strong Steve" as he is called (for obvious reasons) is a true legend of this sport and his nomination rewards a lifetime of cutting-edge climbing, almost always by himself, which renders his achievements even more extraordinary. McClure, Megos, Ondra and Sharma … Four climbers who have left an indelible mark. This year the jury's job will be tougher than ever!

If the 12 jurors representing the 12 international magazines have plenty to discuss for the "rock" award, they'll certainly have food for thought for the "plastic", ie for the La Sportiva Competition Award as those nominated this year are 3 super athletes, the Austrians Angela Eiter and Jakob Schubert and Slovenia's Mina Markovic.As many will remember, Eiter won the coveted prize during this first Arco Rock Legends edition and although in recent years she has reduced her World Cup schedule somewhat, her results are nonetheless astounding: 6 Rock Master victories (on a par with Ramon Julian Puigblanque) and 4 times Lead World Champion. The last was won in 2012 in Paris, immediately after her memorable victory in Arco in 2011.And while in Arco her teammate placed second, in Paris Schubert set the record straight by winning his first World Champion title, which adds to his two bronze medals won in the Lead World Cup and the Bouldering World Cup.

2012 really was a stellar year for young Schubert. Just like for Mina Markovic who, after having missed out on the World Championship due to injury, proved unbeatable in the Lead World Cup (for the 2nd time ever) and also managed to take 4th place overall the Bouldering World Cup. As if to say, the strongest athletes can have their say in all disciplines, and the jury really will have a tough time choosing a winner.

The evening ceremony will be conducted by the journalist as well as a the great outdoors enthusiast Kay Rush who, with her usual verve, will reveal not only the winners of these two awards, but also the third and final grand prize, namely the Climbing Ambassador by Aquafil. The list of previous winners is a veritable "Hall of Fame" of rock climbing: Maurizio "Manolo" Zanolla, Luisa Iovane, Lynn Hill, François Legrand, Yuji Hirayama and Stefan Glowacz … Who will join them? On Friday 6 September 2013, during the Rock Master Festival, we will know more.


Salewa Rock Award
Josune Bereziartu (2006), Patxi Usobiaga (2007), Adam Ondra (2008), Chris Sharma (2009), Adam Ondra (2010), Adam Ondra (2011), Sasha DiGiulian (2012)

La Sportiva Competition Award
Angela Eiter (2006), David Lama (2007), Maja Vidmar (2008), Kilian Fischhuber (2009), Akiyo Noguchi (2010), Ramon Julien Puigblanque (2011), Anna Stöhr (2012)


President: Giorgio Balducci (RAI director) International magazines: Montana (CZE), Desnivel (ESP), Summit (GBR), Klettern (GER), UP Climbing (ITA), Montagne 360° (ITA), Meridiani Montagne (ITA), Risk (RUS), Man and Mountain (KOR), Gory (POL), Jamesak (SLK) and the internet site (SWE)

SALEWA ROCK AWARD 2013 NOMINATIONS (in alphabetical order) Period: from June 2012 to May 2013

Steve McClure – England
After the last decade all the hardest routes in England were put up and freed by "Strong Steve" and some of these still await a first repeat. After a long finger injury McClure is back again and since November he concentrated on one route only. But what a route! Batman – the name of his latest creation – is confirmation once again that he's the strongest in the Kingdom!

Alexander Megos – Germany
The world's first 9a on-sight. Need we say more? Well, we could add a 9a+ second go – La Rambla at Siurana in Spain – and the first ascent of a 9a+ in the Frankenjura. And all of this practically out of the blue, and therefore simply a foretaste of what might come in the future…

Adam Ondra – Czech Republic
The world's first 9b+, the hardest climb on the planet. Followed, a few months later, by a second 9b+. All the hardest routes in the world are his. In the midst of this, various 8c+ onsights, even a 9a flash. What more can the man do who has continually raised the bar of sport climbing? Perhaps win the award for the 4th time?

Chris Sharma – USA
With four previous nominations and one Salewa Rock Award to his name, the Sharma legend continues. It's largely due to him that every winter the crags in Catalunia are set alight by the world's strongest climbers, and this season his perseverance was rewarded with the first repeat of a 9b+. And a great friendship which is worth even more!

LA SPORTIVA COMPETITION AWARD 2013 NOMINATIONS (in alphabetical order) Period: competition season 2012

Angela Eiter – Austria
Lead World Champion (for the 4th time), winner of Rock Master (for the 6th time)

Mina Markovic – Slovenia
Winner of Lead World Cup (for the 2nd time), 4th in Boulder World Cup, 1st in Combined World Cup ranking (Lead + Boulder)

Jakob Schubert – Austria
Lead World Champion, 3rd in Lead World Cup, 3rd in Boulder World Cup, winner Combined World Cup ranking (Lead + Boulder)

Further information can be found on the official event website

The photo credits
Angela Eiter (c) Heiko Wilhelm,
Mina Markovic (c) Stanko Gruden
Steve McClure (c) Tim Glasby,
Alexander Megos (c) Miguel Catita,
Adam Ondra (c) Petr Pavlícek,
Jakob Schubert (c) Heiko Wilhelm,
Chris Sharma (c) Rainer Eder,

QuelleNicholas Hobley (PlanetMountain)