Canada was the 5th stop of 2014 for the IFSC Bouldering World Cup! Being just a short drive away from home, of course I had to attend and witness first hand the strength and skill of these elite climbers.

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 14Similar to last year, the event was hosted at Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, Ontario, except this year temperatures and conditions were much more favorable. Last years temperatures were above 30 C (86 F) and the humidity was almost unbearable. Plus, the bouldering is already elevated on a balcony, past that imaginary heat line where all the heat seems to collect. Luckily though, this year temperatures were more moderate, and although some climbers said it was warm, it was nothing compared to last year.

Qualifiers started at 9am on Saturday May 31st where a total of 41 men and 40 women took on 5 problems for a chance to qualify for semi finals. Unfortunately, I could only stay to watch the mens qualifiers that day, but I did get a chance to sneak in a chat with some of the Canadian male athletes and they said that the problems were much harder than they were last year. Even still, the top 3 men of qualifiers were all able to top all 5 problems and many others finished with a total of  4/5. All in all, a strong showing for the men.

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup TorontoAs for the ladies, although I wasn’t there to witness it, it seems as though they were throwing down hard as well, with more than half of the semi’s qualifiers completing all 5 problems.

Semi finals were the next day on Sunday June 1st. It was obvious that the setters had stepped it up a notch to filter out the best of the best. Semi’s was definitely the hardest round and resulted in some very surprising results.

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 10Of the 20 men semi finalists, only 2 completed all 4 problems, 3 completed 3 problems, and the rest completed 2 or less. Then for the ladies it was a bit more drastic. Only one female climber (Akiyo Noguchi from Japan) was able to top all 4 problems, followed by Shauna Coxsey of Great Britain who was able to top 3 problems, and the remainder of the female finalists completed 1 or less.

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2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 12It looked as though having a good mental game played a big factor during semi’s in order to prevent frustration from settling in. The problems were hard and some were pretty technical. Climbers needed their best physical and mental game to make it through to the finals.

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 13Probably the most surprising and notable event of semi’s was that defending champs Anna Stohr and Kilian Fischhuber from Austria did not make finals! That’s pretty crazy! I don’t even know when was the last time Anna Stohr didn’t make finals, and Kilian had just won the previous World Cup in Innsbruck just a couple weeks ago.

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 15Well, regardless of what happened, they are both still crazy strong. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t their day.

Here are the top 6 after semi’s that would be moving onto finals:


1st – Jan Hojer, Germany
2nd – Sean McColl, Canada
3rd Jongwon Chon, Korea
4th – Rustam Glemanov, Russia
5th – James Kassay, Australia
6th – Guillaume Glairon Mondet, France


1st – Akiyo Noguchi, Japan
2nd – Shauna Coxsey, Great Britain
3rd – Miho Nonaka, Japan
4th – Juliane Wurm, Germany
5th – Alex Puccio, USA
6th – Julija Kruder, Slovenia

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 19That’s 12 finalists and 10 different countries!

Finals occurred a couple hours after semi’s. They were fun and exciting to watch, and the Canadian crowd was loud just as it’s known for being. 🙂

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 3

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One of the most inspiring things about watching finals, besides the incredible strength and determination of these athletes, is their willingness to collaborate together. Even though climbing is an individual sport, climbers still work together as they figure out the beta during the initial walk through of the finals problems. That’s just the nature of climbers. They can be competitive, but still work together as if part of a team.

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 6I think that’s pretty awesome. There no other sports that I can think of like that.

All in all, every climber showed incredible strength and stamina. Their ability to hold onto anything is just incredible. It was a pleasure to watch and cheer our own Canadian, Sean McColl,  all the way to a bronze finish. Go Canada!

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 18Here are the final results of this year’s World Cup in Canada:


1st – Guillaume Glairon Mondet, France
2nd – Jan Hojer, Germany
3rd – Sean McColl, Canada
4th Jongwon Chon, Korea
5th – Rustam Glemanov, Russia
6th – James Kassay, Australia


1st – Akiyo Noguchi, Japan
2nd – Shauna Coxsey, Great Britain
3rd – Alex Puccio, USA
4th – Miho Nonaka, Japan
5th – Juliane Wurm, Germany
6th – Julija Kruder, Slovenia

2014 IFSC Bouldering World Cup Toronto 20A BIG congratulations to all the athletes for their amazing climbing and also a BIG thank you for all the inspiration they instilled throughout the entire weekend.