Ernst, Usobiaga and Puigblanque top Day 1
Austrian Johanna Ernst and the Spaniards Patxi Usobiaga and Ramon Julian Puigblanque top the provisional results of Rock Master 2009
Two men and one woman alone at the helm. This is the verdict of the first day of the Rock Master Trophy. In the men's competition Ramon Julian Puigblanque from Catalonia and Patxi Usobiaga from the Basque country succeeded in achieving a fairy-tale top, one of those devastating tops which leave no doubt about their thirst for victory. And it was just beneath this top that the eagerly awaited attempt of child prodigy Adam Ondra ground to a halt. In the women's event the solitary and irresistible Johanna Ernst climbed high, all the way to the top where there was nothing left to climb. The only athlete capable of keeping up, admittedly far below, was today's revelation: the excellent Jain Kim, a true  phenomenon of flexibility applied to climbing, made in Korea. Their stellar performances were witnessed by a Climbing Stadium which, once again, beat all viewer records.

Usobiaga and Puigblanque – alias sport climbing's eternal duellist - climbed upwards like missiles quickly, safely and with a determination which left little doubt about their intentions. Tomorrow's judgement day on the "afterwork" promises to be an epic duel, one of those that goes right down to the wire. To have enough margin to win they will both have to exceed themselves and reach the top of the route. This will be no easy task. Also because if today the fearsome 17 year old from the Czech republic (Adam Ondra) fell just when everyone thought he had clinched the top, you can rest assured that during tomorrow's second round he won't miss the opportunity for revenge.

Tomorrow promises therefore to be a competition for three. Or better still, a "home" play-off between the Lead World Champion and last year's winner of the Rock Master, Patxi Usobiaga, and the three times Rock Master winner and ex World Champion Ramon Julian Puigblanque. Of course there will be the troublesome third, Adam Ondra, ready to reach the top and above all set of adding his name to the Hall of Fame. Because judging by his disappointment, the young climber will be contemplating how to redeem himself.

Obviously all the others will attempt to play their cards all wisely as possibly. 19 year old Austrian talent David Lama will definitely give it his best after having climbed strongly into 4th place, admittedly a massive 5 meters lower than Ondra. His teammate Jakob Schubert placed 5th by a hair's breadth (he touched but failed to hold a hold) after producing one of his best performances to date. Those capable of ruining the party for others, at least, on the basis of their performance today, are both Tomas Mrazek and Cédric Lachat who placed 6th and 7th respectively and were perhaps the fastest to reach the crux exit through the massive wavy roof.

They are followed by all the others in decreasing order: Klemen Becan (8th), Romain Desgranges (9th), Flavio Crespi (10th), Thomas Tauporn (11th), Jorg Verhoeven (12th) and Valeriy Kryukov (13th). It's clear that all will attempt to reach the top of the afterwork route and it's equally clear that this, here at the Rock Master, is a massive undertaking. Flavio Crespi, finally back on fighting form after a year's layoff due to injury, kept Italian hopes alive and promised a battle in front of the home crowd tomorrow.

All is set tomorrow for a top (and second consecutive victory) for Johanna Ernst. From what we saw today, the 17 year old World Champion Lead seems to have no real rivals. The distance between herself and the phenomenal second places Korean Jain Kim seems enormous. Event he more so since her closest two rivals, Maja Vidmar and Angela Eiter (4th times winner of the Rock Master) didn't have the best of days. Eiter currently shares provisional 4th with the Slovenians Natalija Gros and Mina Markovic, while Vidmar slipped down to 7th. Charlotte Durif from France climbed better to finish provisional 3rd and is therefore in the running for a place on the podium. The rio Alexandra Eyer, Julian Wurm and Jenny Lavarda are all joint 8th and will have plenty to do tomorrow, as will the young Italian promise Alexandra Ladurner (11th) and, to great surprise, Caroline Ciavaldini from France, 12th.

The game gets underway again tomorrow at 09.30 with the second, decisive round: the afterwork. For all, for leaders and those hot on their heels, there is just one law that needs abiding: it is forbidden to make mistakes! Only by giving it their best will they be able to win. And that's exactly why the Rock Master is so great!

prov. Result Onsight Men
Rank Name Nation Height
3. ONDRA Adam CZE 35.06-
4. LAMA David AUT 29.85-
5. SCHUBERT Jakob AUT 28.93
6. MRAZEK Tomás CZE 28.93-
7. LACHAT Cédric SUI 27.87-
8. BECAN Klemen SLO 26.21-
9. DESGRANGES Romain FRA 24.43
10. CRESPI Flavio ITA 19.65-
11. TAUPORN Thomas GER 17.22-
12. VERHOEVEN Jorg NED 15.04
13. KRYUKOV Valeriy UKR 14.07+
prov. Result Onsight Women
Rank Name Nation Height
1. ERNST Johanna AUT Top
2. KIM Ja-In KOR 26.35-
3. DURIF Charlotte FRA 24.35
4. EITER Angela AUT 23.49
GROS Natalija SLO 23.49
7. VIDMAR Maja SLO 23.32
8. EYER Alexandra SUI 21.12-
LAVARDA Jenny ITA 21.12-
WURM Juliane GER 21.12-
11. LADURNER Alexandra ITA 17.42
12. CIAVALDINI Caroline FRA 13.63-

Portfolio Rock Master 2009
Rock Master results 2009
Rock Master Festival 2012
Hall of fame Rock Master
Hall of Fame Arco Rock Legends

Rock Junior, the great love for climbing
Rock Junior 2011, a 10 year climbing celebration
Rock Junior 2011: the first photos