Wednesday (25th) at 11.59 pm, just not to say midnight, time is out to get a front-row seat for Rock Master in Arco (Trento, IT). The event, no news, takes place on Friday 27th August and presents a particular competition, as to anticipate what the Olympic Games of Paris 2024: a “combined” formula between boulder and lead, but with much more spice in it.
Rock Master is the World oldest event in this field, as the 34th edition reminds. It proposes KO Boulder and Lead Duel, the one and only keeping the audience’s chins up. Covid restrictions forced the organising committee to heavily reduce the number of people allowed to the Climbing Stadium. For this reason, tickets are sold online through the platform linked at It will be a great live show for the few lucky viewers this year, yet there are some seats still available.
KO Boulder is the original formula reserved to eight chosen athletes. Climbers can analyse and study the four blocks since day one, so that they can give their best during the competition, with extreme difficult passages and incredibly spectacular moves of high coefficient technique and ability. For each competition, the participants only have three attempts and the highest spot achieved by them will transform into a score, which will finally decide the qualifications ranking. At the end of every trial, two athletes are excluded for the next block until the final one: the three super champions will fight for glory.
It is not only a matter of physical strength: great technique and a good analysis of the blocks are required to find the best path to overcome difficulties. Moreover, ability and rapidity are key to win KO Boulder, keeping in mind that it is not the end: you need to stand out in the Lead Duel in order to win Rock Master.
The “Duel” is the highlight of Rock Master. The Duel is also a “prepared” race, meaning that athletes can get to know the path, allowing tracers to emphasize difficulties and creating an even more spectacular show. A first race decides the eight-climbers ranking, racing in pairs on two identical tracks in not much more than a minute and raising adrenaline in the audience.
Finally, the best rankings in the boulder and lead win the Rock Master Trophy.
Beyond the super champion Adam Ondra, five times winner of this competition, three members of the Italian Team of Tokyo 2020 are coming. Laura Rogora happily reminds of Climbing Stadium, saying: “I’ve been competing in Arco since I was little and I have so many memories linked to this place, first of all the Youth World Championship of 2019, where I won three gold medals. The atmosphere you can live here is magical; it is one of my favourite competitions, for the results but also because competing in front of my home audience is always great”.
Michael Piccolruaz is present too and has no doubts: “It represents an historic event; as a kid, I would come and see competitions, admiring the greatest champions. That’s where I took my inspiration and started dreaming to compete at Rock Master. I’ve already been here for four editions, but only competing in KO Boulder, getting twice a fourth place. It hurts to get always so close to the podium and I’d like to take my revenge. I think this new format with boulder and lead fits me, since I’m quite a fast climber”.
Ludovico Fossali says: “I am not satisfied. I had plans for what I wanted to do at the Olympic Games, but I couldn’t stick to them. I can only improve from here. Competing at Rock Master is unique. It’s incredible to be invited to one of the oldest climbing events. I’m the first sprinter to get an invitation and I am really honoured.” Also competing this year: the Italian Stefano Ghisolfi, top ranking in Lead this year, the Czech Martin Stranik, the Slovenian Domen Skofic, the Austrian Nicolai Uznik and the German Yannick Flohè.
Among women, the 2019’s podium is present with the Slovenian Mia Krampl, the British Molly Thompson, and as mentioned before, Rogora. With them: the Italian Giorgia Tesio, the Slovenian Vita Lukan, the French Fanny Gibert , the Czech Eliska Adamskova and Jessica Pilz, of the Austrian Olympic Team.
Save the date for Friday 27th at 11 a.m. for Women KO Boulder, 3 p.m. for Men KO Boulder and 9 p.m. for Lead Duel. Whoever wants to enjoy the show on the sofa, RAI Sport transmits live on TV from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. the Duel and a recap of the Boulder.