Ted Boulder Cup: Go bold for the gold

More than 150 climbers will compete at the third annual TED Boulder Cup, held at the TED Sports Club in Sarıyer, this weekend, Dec. 2-3.

Over 150 sports climbers will be competing in the sport of bouldering for spectators this weekend Dec. 2-3 at the third annual TED Boulder Cup held at the TED Sports Club in Sarıyer. The biggest bouldering competition in Turkey goes international this year and will have sports climbers from 10 different nations joining in the race.

This year's competition has also been extended to two days, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in which the first day, which is Saturday, Dec. 2, will have competitions in three different levels namely, beginners, 35 plus and the main international competition of advanced skill bouldering. The top six finalists in the male and female elite categories will then go on to compete in the finals on the second day of the competition, Sunday, Dec. 3. Following will be an award ceremony in which the top three contenders will be awarded with $1,000, $500 and $250 prizes.

A photo taken at last year's competition. This year, the event extends over two days.

There are 185 sports climbers registered thus far, of which over two dozen will be from 10 different countries, many from neighboring nations while others from as far as Britain, America and Canada. The competition will follow the guidelines set up by the International Federation of Sports Climbing and it is still possible to sign up to compete for an entrance fee of TL 40 ($10) by the end of this week.

For anyone who wants to watch and check out the Turkish climbing scene, admission is free. Spectators are welcome and expected to show up in the thousands over the two days in which the climbing court, equipped with a 5-meter-high and 12-meter-wide climbing wall with 20-30 routes set up of varying expertise, will have open floor seating where everyone wanting to watch will be able to crowd in together to do so.

There will also be stands, as well as complimentary coffee dished out by Caffé Vergnano and snacks served by the TED sports club. Chief route-setter and multiple World Cup champion and Red Bull climber Rustam Gelmenov will also be delivering a talk. On the sidelines, Slackline Turkey will also be on hand to provide slacklining workshops and on the evening of the final night will be the Ted Boulder Cup's traditional After-Party.

The TED Sports Club (TED Spor Külübu) is the leading athletic facility in the branches of tennis, fencing and climbing, which in this case has collaborated with the Turkish Mountaineering Federation, Red Bull Turkey and even Yüksek İşler, an innovative industrial climbing that provides all sorts of high-level, literally, services by master climbers such as changing the lighting on the Bosporus bridges, which will be providing the gear used for the competition.

Before this weekend's competition, I had the opportunity to catch up with Uğur Yılmaz, the man behind the TED Boulder Cup organization, an old-school climber, former national athlete and trainer with both Ted Sports Club for the past decade and now more recently with the Turkish Mountaineering Federation (Türkiye Dağcılık Kulübü), who explained to me the significance of the Ted Boulder Cup going global.

You see this year holds more importance than ever for these organizations as sport climbing has now been named an Olympic branch set to compete in the 2020 Olympics and Turkey in the meanwhile is compiling its national team to compete. Both organizations play critical roles in the training and developing of Turkey's national climbing team athletes, a number of contenders which will also be competing this weekend. While the Turkish Mountaineering Federation has been instrumental in the selection of Turkey's first national team, they also held a climbing camp for the athletes in Slovenia, while Ted Sports Club focuses on training young athletes, starting from age 6 in weekend classes.

As for Uğur, when he is not organizing events such as the TED Boulder Cup and training, he and his wife, also a former Turkey champion in climbing, they now head to optimal yet exotic locations such as South Africa, where they film footage of their bouldering which is shared on redbull.com. I asked Uğur on the offhand, where would the best place be for bouldering outdoors in Turkey to which he reminded that the boulders that border the beautiful Bafa Lake, where the provinces Muğla and Aydın meet is the country's most optimal place to do the sport. While Turkey is a great country for the leader rope climbing style, the fact that granite rocks are lesser found makes it less conducive to bouldering he says, "yet we do thankfully, have this one very special spot."
Reel Rock Film Tour 12 - Istanbul Screening
Going into its 12th edition, the Reel Rock Film Tour is an annual screening of the top climbing and adventure films of the year to live audiences around the world. The Reel Rock Film Tour 12 comes to Turkey for a very special screening on Friday, Dec. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Bahçeşehir University. The event will begin with a cocktail party at 6:30 p.m. followed by the film screenings at 7:30 p.m.

This year's films include "Break on Through," featuring Margo Hayes, a 19-year-old Colorado native and the first woman to climb the highest difficulty level of 5.15. The next film is "Above the Sea," a story about deep-water soloist Chris Sharma in Mallorca. "Safety Third" is about Brad Gobright, an up-and-coming free soloist with a donut addiction making his boldest ascent yet and "Stumped" follows the one-armed Maureen Beck as she tackles a 5.12 climb.

Presented by The North Face, the Red Rock Film Tour always brings inspiration, laughter and heart-thumping action to the screen, which is a thrill to watch for anyone whether you are a rock climbing enthusiast yet or not. While admission is free, if you want to attend and are not a student at Bahçeşehir University, it is mandatory that you register from a link, which is available on the Facebook event page.

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