Speed Rules for World Records

Photo: IFSC
Photo: IFSC
Photo: IFSC

The IFSC has just announced new rules governing how world records are set at international championship events. From the official IFSC press release:

The International Federation of Sport Climbing has given a new dynamic to “The Speed Project” to providing stricter regulations at IFSC Speed climbing competitions.  The popularity of speed climbing growing hugely since the first IFSC certified speed wall was introduced in 2007. Today the IFSC is taking more steps to provide stricter regulations at IFSC speed climbing competitions. To promote a better climbing experience for athletes, the Sport Department of the IFSC has launched “The Speed Project.”  The speed Project aims at ensuring an equal playing field to athletes, enabling them to have any world records they set, officially recognized.

The Speed License Rules 2013 have just been released.  To meet the Speed Project constraints and to standardize the speed walls, the first step was to set up some precise specifications for all speed walls around the world. So the IFSC has been working very hard with athletes, technical experts and  manufacturers on defining these requirements and constraints. The IFSC has just published the Speed License Rules 2013 that lists all the wall, holds, timing system and competition rules. It can be downloaded from the IFSC website. This document is specifically made to list the technical requirement of the speed equipment as well as the condition of the certification visits of the wall and certification process of the manufacturers.

Speed Walls must be built by one of the companies currently under consideration as an official Speed Wall manufacturer. These companies will be officially confirmed in 2014.

Photo: Entre-Prises
Photo: Entre-Prises

Since March 22, 2013 with the IFSC World Cup in Chongqing, all IFSC Speed Climbing competition walls need to be set with the new official Speed Holds manufactured by Entre-Prises. These holds have been specifically designed for use on IFSC approved Speed Walls and Entre-Prises will manufacture and distribute them using pricing, quality and design agreements set by the IFSC. “To guaranty the origin of these holds, the new Entre-Prises Speed Holds will include a serial number and QR code that can be scanned. This code takes you to a web page and shows certified sets that have been sold and are in regulation. This is a good control system for the IFSC”, says Jérôme Meyer, IFSC Sport Manager in charge of the Speed Project.

Timing system is the third and major requirement to set a Speed World Record. The IFSC has decided to choose only five timing system providers to ensure the exact same timing measurement in every event in any country can take place.  To be certain of a precise and fair timing system, it must be one of the following: Alge Timing, Geckoking, Twin Dolphin, Kassa, Rock Timers.  Detailed standards on Timer as for the walls and the holds are now released in the Speed License Rules 2013.

Once these requirements are met, speed world records can only be set if the competition is included in the official IFSC calendar of events and is recorded by a Jury President appointed by the IFSC. The official IFSC calendar includes 7 IFSC Speed World Cup and all the IFSC Continental Championships and IFSC World Championships.  With the new regulations the show will be fairer, and much more thrilling!…so don’t miss the next IFSC Speed World Cup in Arco on September 7th, 2013.

You can find all the current world records and up to date information at IFSC.

Currently USA Climbing does not host any internationally sanctioned speed events. The biggest US speed event of the year is undoubtedly Youth Speed Nationals held during SCS Youth Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia. When asked if USAC has any plans to standardize an American speed format and records USAC Operations Director, Kynan Waggoner said, “I think the difficult thing is the lack of “Spec” speed walls in the United States. We have a few knock off speed walls, but really there are only 4 that I know of currently in existence: Hoosier Heights in Indianapolis, 10m in Atlanta and at Sender One, and a 15m in Reno. I wouldn’t want to implement some type of standardization when it seems that there aren’t really enough standardized walls. We need like 5 portable 15m speed walls that can be set up in one day. Then we’d be in business…”

With Entre-Prises providing the bouldering wall for the previous two ABS National Championships and the recently held Vail World Cup it’s easy to surmise that a Speed only National Championship could be in the future for US athletes.