Last night over 1,000 people packed into Boulder’s Movement Climbing & Fitness to watch the final round of the IFSC sanctioned lead climbing World Cup, the first such event held in the U.S. in over 20 years. Over 20,000 additional climbing fans watched on the live feed as the Austrian duo of Jakob Schubert and Johanna Ernst bested their respective fields to take the win.
For Schubert it was his 6th consecutive win while Ernst made it look easy as she casually moved passed the highpoint shared by a few of the other women. The only Americans to make finals, Matty Hong and Sasha DiGiulian, both climbed well and DiGiulian in particular was right there in terms of competing for a spot on the podium.
|2011 Lead World Cup – Boulder, CO|
|Men’s Final Results||Women’s Final Results|
I was one of those people who tuned in to watch the live feed, a first for me for these lead climbing World Cups. Even though sport climbing comps are a little boring to watch — minutes of climbers climbing the same ground only for them to fall at or near the same move in a split second of action1 — it was cool to see some of the international climbers competing. Overall the broadcast was well done even if it did suffer from the inexplicable problem of the director of the broadcast switching to random crowd shots right when a climber was reaching the crux. Dab!
- Replays would be really nice for this. ↩
Hey man, it’s pathetic to complain about the director changing the shot while the climber is climbing. TOTALLY pathetic. ^_^
I would have to say this was a poor event overall. The route-setting seemed a little off; while entertaining moves were plentiful watching everyone get to the same few holds and fall off is a little disappointing. But that happens, routesetting is difficult and you can’t always have a ‘perfect’ route. I can understand that part.
The biggest downfall of the event was the commentators on the live feed. I don’t want to hear about their personal lives and them chatting with their friends, I want to hear about the climber, the route and what’s going on in the moment. I felt this was the biggest downfall; if we ever want sport climbing and bouldering comps to become more mainstream we need to treat it like a mainstream event with commentators who explain what’s going on and why things are difficult/easy/tricky etc. You don’t hear football commentators describing their weekend or talking to their buddies, they give you a play by play rundown of the event. The europeans seem to have a much better handle on this aspect than we do; we’re still treating these things like our own personal backyard bouldering session. I don’t want to listen to the gossip hour during a comp, there’s plenty of blogs like this one for that nonsense. Overall a poorly done event, but i’m glad lead comps are coming back to the US and hopefully we can get our shit together sooner than later.
I agree. I watched the live stream last night too. I’ve met Alex Johnson at a climbing trip in Bishop, and I was kind of disappointed about how annoying she was. There were times when we muted the computer just so we didn’t hear her.
As for the routes, I feel as though they didn’t quite separate the field in a manner that is conducive to a really entertaining show. Although it was my first time watching the live stream, I didn’t feel as though this was the event it was hyped up to be
I can see your point on AJ but she shouldn’t take all the blame here . . . as voiced above, the whole production was very haphazard and unprofessional. For example, after the event was over, AJ herself had to go around and canvas the room for interviews. Wouldn’t you think they would have person prearrange the interviews for her (off camera/mic) and then she wouldn’t be running around looking and acting confused and exasperated, all the while on camera?
That’s just one simple thing that they should be thinking about. They should also have bio sheets on all the climbers and as others have noted, inform the audience, rather than just babble away about whatever comes to mind.
Does anyone have any video footage of the comp? I live in Boulder, bought the early bird tickets and then missed the comp due to work schedule conflict! Argh — if someone posts some video of the competition I would love if they would share it with me, thanks.
LT11 is working on a highlight reel in addition to what Brian posted below
it seems they dont have it up quite yet, but they are supposed to just post the entire recorded feed here, so you can literally watch the entire comp start to finish if you want. or just fast forward to finals.
Obviously the broadcast could always be improved, but there seems to be this idea that because it is free it is beyond any critique. On a certain level I would agree with that since being able to see comps as they happen is better than the days (not too long ago) when nothing was broadcast and climbing comps were like that old ‘if a tree falls in a forest” joke.
However a critique like “don’t cut away from a climber right as they enter the crux” is pretty obvious to me. Someone that acted like they were affiliated with the broadcast called this criticism “pathetic” in the chat box that went along with the broadcast which was puzzling. You’re doing all this work and spending at least some money to put on this event, don’t you want people to be able to see the key moments? This is especially bad when there is no instant replay to be able to see what happened.
The announcers seem to be a sore point in just about any comp, and since I didn’t listen to this comp I can’t really speak to what happened. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt since none of them are professional broadcasters, they probably aren’t getting paid and generally some commentating is better than listening to the MC.
I guess the bottom line is what is the IFSC is trying to get out of these broadcasts. Are they just happy to be able to bring people any live footage of their events, or do they hope to present climbing in the best light possible?
I think what the IFSC is trying to get out of the the live broadcasts is viewer numbers. With climbing shortlisted for the 2020 Olympics the IFSC is going to want to give viewership numbers to the IOC to help push them higher up that list. The live broadcast allows for measurable numbers of people viewing each comp.
It’s been interesting watching the live feeds these last couple years and I do think it’s getting better. With that being said there is still a long way to go.
During the bouldering World Cup there were complaints in chat about the direction and the commentary. The original commentator was a Scottish gent and he was picking things up as he went along. He had no experience with commentating broadcast events. So that’s when they started bringing in Alex Johnson specifically. Then for a while Chris Webb Parsons and Alex would assist with commentary. But it was always very casual, non-descriptive, and lacked color.
I couldn’t agree more with the Climbing Narc about the commentary. I would think that there is enough experience and professionalism within the climbing world that finding someone that is personable, well-spoken, and informed about climbing to do a professional level of commentary. For me, it raises the question about whether or not a lot of climbers watch professional televised sports events. Taking some cues from the established voices in sports might help.
For me, the argument about something free being beyond critique is kind of a fallacy. Professional sporting events are sent over broadcast television, which is free. The events are paid for by sponsors and advertising. I wouldn’t complain about getting ads and sponsor messages thrown at me if the commentary was engaging and made me actually want to listen.
The instant replay and other professional-level features of a broadcast will come with experience I think. It looks like there is only one guy running the board and handling the shots, so it would probably be a Sisyphean task in order to do everything.
There are enough folks within the climbing world that are doing enough media creation that are gaining contacts within the broadcast media world. The potential for knowledge sharing is definitely really high and could certainly bolster their ability to provide more professional level broadcasts free or otherwise. But it’s a matter of desire to take initiative to do that and following through with it. I can think of a couple of outfits that are certainly looking like they’re about to make that breakthrough.
So, to put it simply, I’m pretty optimistic that it will improve.
I recently transferred my old tape of the ’87 Snowbird Comp to DVD, and am reminded how compelling and professional the show was. Granted, it was pre-recorded, edited, then co-hosted by the 3rd James Brown, and “Spider Dan” Godwin. Some hokey stuff, like Dan’s huge fall to demo beforehand; still, he was very observant, concise, and able to use lay terms to describe for NON-climbers the what and how that made one climber get past a crux that thwarted another.
The drama of the huge wall, few making any higher points until the very last man, Edlinger (“old” at like 27?), then him sending the route with 30sec. to spare, is hard to top, in any era. Dan also touched on some of the personalities of the climbers, the styles that distinguished them; it is an under-appreciated gift to be talking live while watching only limited video yourself.
Phil Liggett and Bob Roll come to mind – easy to criticize until you see others fumble, pause, mumble cliched and self-evident aphorisms ad nauseum.
I do think they would be better served with Pat Adams as a color commentator, for those who know his sense of humor. AJ is too young, inexperienced, chatty, catty, to be handed a microphone in this venue.
We can look forward to improvements when the next WC Event is held here in the U.S.A., in 2035.