Kruder Siblings conquer iconic Verzasca Dam
second edition, attracted 24 of the world's best climbers, forming 12 mixed teams, to conquer this colossal structure.
In the thrilling final, Slovenian siblings Jernej and Julija Kruder secured the victory over Olympic gold medalist and defending champion Alberto Ginés López and his Ukrainian teammate Jenya Kazbekova. The Kruder siblings' historic victory marked the culmination of an intense climbing competition that pushed the limits of skill and endurance.
- Climbers faced an imposing multi-pitch route on the sheer face of the Verzasca Dam. This route featured two parallel paths and demanded a combination of strength, agility, and strategic thinking.
- What set Red Bull Dual Ascent apart was its distinctive format. Competitors paired up and went head-to-head on parallel multi-pitch routes, using the same ropes and equipment and climbing in 'redpoint' style. Redpointing refers to the accomplishment of free-climbing a route from the ground to the top after subsequent attempts following initial falls or rests on the rope Notably, climbers were allowed an unlimited number of falls, restarting from the same pitch if needed.
- This year's event brought together a diverse group of some of the world's best climbers, including Olympic gold medalist and defending Red Bull Dual Ascent champion Alberto Ginés López, Swiss climbing hero Petra Klingler, Brazilian free climbing star Felipe Camargo, 19-year-old Australian prodigy Angie Scarth-Johnson among others.
- The competition unfolded over two intense days on an artificial route height of 180 meters. Only four teams emerged to compete in the highly anticipated grand final.
- In the small final, Swiss national Petra Klingler and France’s Louna Ladevant bested Slovenians Domen Škofic and Vita Lukan with a time of 01:01:51 to secure third place by only 37 seconds and with zero penalties.
- Klingler revealed: “Domen and Vita are such strong climbers, and it was an honour to climb against them. We knew we had to go all in. We had to risk and give it all we had. In the end, our general strategy was to push them and put pressure on them so that maybe they would make a mistake, get tired or somewhat [give us] a chance we could grab. In the end, actually, that happened, and we took the chance and we were able to score this for our part.”
- She continued: “It's incredible. Still, adrenaline is rushing through my arms especially, and my head, and I was just so excited. I still can't really believe what we did once more. It was so cool climbing up this dam.”
- Ladevant added: “I'm feeling exhausted for sure and also so happy because it was an amazing fight – and that is the most beautiful and amazing about this competition: it's the race and it's [the] strategy.”
- In the exhilarating final at Red Bull Dual Ascent, siblings Jernej Kruder and Julija Kruder faced off against the formidable duo of Alberto Ginés López and Jenya Kazbekova.
- In the final pitch, Jernej raced against López, narrowly securing the lead with a remarkable time. Meanwhile, Julija Kruder and Kazbekova showcased their climbing prowess, with both reaching the summit. However, Julija's near miss on the final holds left Kazbekova to seize the opportunity.
- In a dramatic turn, Kazbekova momentarily slipped, incurring a penalty and reopening the chance for Julija Kruder. Offering a fun bit of extra motivation to his sister after an exhausting climb, Jernej said "If you win, I will shave my moustache!" – After a brief rest, Julija displayed unwavering determination, conquering the challenge to join her brother Jernej Kruder at the top of the dam, completing the challenge in 01:30:12 to be crowned the 2023 Red Bull Dual Ascent champions.
- Kazbekova revealed: "I'm very tired, more exhausted, and of course a little bit disappointed, but everything is okay. The last pitch was a lot of pressure, and my fingers were opening up, seriously. Five times I thought I would fall off, but it was so close. It was three moves away for me, but I just didn't have anything left in me. So yeah, it is what it is now."
- López added: "The final was a couple’s competition, so if she makes a mistake I also make a mistake. It's okay to fall, and even with the fall we were super close."
- Jernej Kruder exclaimed: “I'm excited. I'm proud – especially proud because my sister pulled it out really well at the end and climbed us to a victory, so I'm mostly proud.”
- Julija Kruder said: “I just realised that I'm the first female winner, which feels amazing. I'm very happy to stand on top of the dam. I am very, very tired. I really doubted myself whether I was going to make it or not. It was really up to me, but I'm glad I stayed motivated and Jernej was helping me a lot with that.”
- Jernej Kruder (SLO) and Julija Kruder (SLO), Total Time: 01:30:12, Penalties: 0
- Alberto Ginés López (ESP) and Jenya Kazbekova (UKR), Total Time: 01:05:40, Penalties: 1
- Petra Klingler (SUI) and Louna Ladevant (FRA), Total Time: 01:01:51, Penalties: 0
- Domen Škofic (SLO) and Vita Lukan (SLO), Total Time: 01:02:28, Penalties: 2
Text and photo: quattro media GmbH