Gord McArthur - Ice Season Update
Editor's note: Here's a recap on ACC Ambassador Gord McArthur's ice climbing season. And what a whirlwind it's been.
Red Bull White Cliffs
After six months of training (which started in June) my season was to begin with the Red Bull White Cliffs event, in England (which was in October). Two weeks before that event I had a bad fall, nearly breaking my back. I was lucky and able to (barely) recover in time for the event. It was such a super cool experience, and I'm really glad I was able to attend, despite the injury.
(Note: There's great coverage of this event on the Isle of Wight Radio website: http://bit.ly/1yfsRQI.)
The World Cup
Skipping ahead two months, it was time for the World Cup Ice Climbing season. My goal has long been to have a top 10 World Cup result and I'm proud to say that not only did I accomplish that goal, but I smashed it with a 4th place finish at the first event of the season in Bozeman. This was the highest ranking for a North American in 13 years and I was really happy with that. Super cool! Bozeman was also the North American Championships and I had a great performance and took FIRST PLACE. This was awesome.
So overall this season, on the competitive side of things, I had two top ten finishes (4th place and 10th place), and was North American Champion. I feel like I accomplished several of my goals, so in that sense it was a successful season. My best season ever, in fact.
The World's Hardest Mixed Routes
Outside of the competition scene, my goals included climbing some of the world's hardest sport/mixed climbs. Two weeks ago I was able to fulfill this goal by sending 'Bichette" (D14+) in the Usine cave near Grenoble, one of France's and Europe's hardest lines...on my second try. This was definitely a rad moment.
Currently I still have a project in a cave near my home in Canada. All I can say about this "line" is that it's 100% the biggest/most overhanging single pitch mixed line in the world. Likely the hardest too. Now, as I get set to leave Europe, I'm going to have a crack at what's currently the hardest established mixed climb in the world (it's in Switzerland). When I return home my goal is to complete my cave route, which will then likely be the new hardest line of the world.
To the Future
For next year... well, I already have my sights on what needs to get done to fulfill the ultimate dream: the World Cup podium. But for now, I give the ACC my utmost of thanks for your support over the years.