VAIL — After completing his route to the top of the second problem at GoPro Mountain Games bouldering finals on Saturday, Dmitrii Sharafutdinov said it was the competition at the event that was keeping him so motivated.
Going into the fourth and final problem, competition from his teammate, fellow Russian Rustam Gelmanov, is what propelled Sharafutdinov to the top.
The bouldering event — in which climbers attempt to navigate four “problems” (sections of a man-made climbing wall with different features) in a limited amount of time, without the aid of ropes or harnesses — is one of the marquee features of the GoPro Mountain Games. It’s the only bona-fide World Cup event of the weekend, and the only climbing World Cup event on U.S. soil this year.
Competitors from the national teams of the U.S., Great Britain Japan, Germany, Austria, Russia, Canada and the Netherlands made Saturday’s finals.
“I really like the format, with semi finals in the morning and the break before finals,” Sharafutdinov said of the Saturday evening finals. “And the competition here is really good.”
The venue, east of Golden Peak near the Ford Park soccer fields, attracted roughly 1,000 spectators on Saturday evening, with explosions of cheering and applause awarded to those who made it to the top of the wall.
Measured by the number of “tops,” (making it to the top of the wall) and “bonuses,” (specific portions of the wall to hit) over the number of attempts at said tops and bonuses Sharafutdinov walked away with the victory after making it to the top in three of his five attempts, and hit four bonuses of his six attempts.
In the men’s second problem, not a single climber made it to the top.
“It is a tough challenge, for sure,” Sharafutdinov said.
Following the competition, Rustam said Sharafutdinov and himself, who was celebrating his win, were climbing their best right now.
“I want to thank my girlfriend,” Rustam said of his performance. “No, not my girlfriend. My wife.”
On the women’s side, American Alex Puccio lead the competition for much of the event before briefly winding up in a three way tie, and finally ending up in third by only one attempt.
“I had it in the bag a little bit and messed up,” Puccio said after the event. “I got messed up on the starting holds.”
In the end, the women’s comp came down to the last boulder of the last attempt, and the Austrian Anna Stohr walked away with the win.
“When I was on the top and I came down, Alex told me I won,” Stohr said. “I said no, you won. I didn’t even know.”
Stohr has won six of the seven World Cup events this season, and 19 total in her career. A former patient of The Steadman Clinic in Vail, she said a win here is extra special for her.
“It means a lot to win in Vail because the crowds here are really psychced,” she said. “It’s really nice to climb here.”