Garnbret wins gold but America dominate in Villars

The finals wrapped up in Villars today with four Americans winning medals at the historic site. Despite their volume, the victory was won by Slovenian Janja Garnbret and Japanese Taisei Homma. These top finalists reinforced the trend of dominance expressed by these three nations on the World Cup stage.

Janja Garnbret by Lena Drapella

Janja Garnbret

After last week’s strong performance, Garnbret returned to the international field with the best of the semi-final and final rounds. Last week’s results had a bias due to the fatigue many top finishers had experienced in previous block rounds. Today showed Garnbret solidly ahead of its competitors.

Team USA – Women

That said, the peloton better reflected the ability of the category as Brooke Raboutou and Natalia Grossman climbed fatigue-free from previous bouldering rounds. In this capacity, Grossman managed a third-place finish on the podium and his first Lead medal of the season.

Brooke Raboutou by Lena Drapella

Raboutou, by comparison, won silver with a smooth ride in the women’s final. While Grossman’s climax fight was inspiring, Raboutou’s effortless rise to climax, preceding Garnbret, showed the Slovenian isn’t the only one with power to spare. Raboutou fell on a course reading error at the top of the wall.

female frame

After the competition hit last week, the setters seemed to soften the difficulty of the finals. In Innsbruck, the setting lacked separation, with athletes ranked second, third and fourth each achieving the same score. In Villars, the Setters have built a perfectly separate competition.

The only IFSC-related issue of the event was Manon Hily’s short rope on an impressive mid-race dyno. She was allowed to climb again and eventually got fifth place. The belayer, it seemed, was not ready for such a throw.

Competition-style bouldering pushes further into the Lead category, and today’s women’s course showed that development. Not only did the biggest side dyno of the season greet the women in the final, but it was arguably the easier of the two co-ordinating moves found on the course. A swinging lunge to a hold guarded the top and only Garnbret could negotiate the style of movement.

Taisei Homma

Strong results in recent college championship competitions showed that Homma was capable, but today’s result surprised the spectators. Hanging on longer than the rest, Homma earned his first IFSC World Cup medal by winning the competition. The increasing number of new faces on the catwalk showed a field of deepening.

Taisei Homma by Lena Drapella

Team USA – Men

Among those new faces were Americans Jesse Grupper and Colin Duffy. They did well this weekend, winning silver and bronze respectively. Grupper seemed to just undershoot the hold after his climax, while Duffy’s foot popped high up the road.

Grupper is on track for gold after taking bronze last week and silver this week. The American is not tired on the wall, regardless of the type of grip. This truth is what sets the American apart from the competition. He can take longer on difficult shots, and recover from badly executed sequences, to offer them second attempts with different betas.

Duffy, by comparison, excels in the tougher streaks and showed last week that he is more than capable of leading the men’s category. His back-to-back bouldering and lead golds set a new standard of consistency after a season of near misses. Today, he stepped onto the podium again, joining Grupper as the two most consistent athletes in the Men Lead category.

Men’s frame

The bouldering style of the men’s course again showed the direction the Lead Setting is taking. Not only did a sideways jump early on require an extra crashpad, but the punchy moves in the first two sections of the climb left very little time for thinking. That said, a little rest interrupted these first two sections. This gave the climbers a brief break from an otherwise powerful boulder problem.



1 – Janja Garnbret (SLO)

2 – Brooke Raboutou (USA)

3 – Natalia Grossman (USA)

4 – Laura Rogora (ITA)

5 – Manon Hily (FRA)

6 – Chaehyun Seo (KOR)

7 – Ryu Nakagawa (JPN)

8 – Natsuki Tanii (JPN)


1 – Taisei Homma (JPN)

2 – Jesse Grupper (USA)

3 – Colin Duffy (USA)

4 – Yannick Flohe (GER)

5 – Satone Yoshida (JPN)

6 – Yoshiyuki Ogata (JPN)

7 – Mejdi Schalck (FRA)

8 – Ao Yurikusa (JPN)

Featured image of Jesse Grupper by Lena Drapella

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