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GORE-TEX® Be a Rockstar Jam Session

September 23, 2016 22:20

With the adidas ROCKSTARS qualifiers completed, it was the turn of amateur, everyday climbers to take to the stage here in in Stuttgart as part of the GORE-TEX® Be a Rockstar competition. This is an event which allows 130 amateur climbers to come to the Porsche-Arena and climb under the lights in front of an audience. Best of all, the winner of the competition in both the men’s and women’s event will be granted entry into the main adidas ROCKSTARS competition 2017. The climbers compete on 8 boulders, which are almost identical to the ones climbed on by the professionals in the qualifying round, albeit with a few tweaks to make them ever so slightly more attainable to the mere mortal!

The top 3 men and women from those 8 boulders come back the next morning and spend one full day deciding which of them will get that 2017 entry by competing head to head on boulders that they themselves design. This day, which we call the “Build your Boulder” contest, sees each them team up a with a professional athlete and then spend one hour creating their own boulder. The 3 finalists then compete against each other on all 3 boulders, plus a fourth one set by our route setters, but the catch is that if the athletes can’t climb their own boulder, their final score is reduced, thereby insuring that nobody sets anything too hard for their competitors! The level is genuinely high though - last year’s winner from the GORE-TEX® Be a Rockstar, Baptiste Ometz, qualified joint first in today’s professional qualifiers.

As ROCKSTARS route setter Adam Pustelnik explained, “We try to change the boulders fairly little (between the main qualifiers and GORE-TEX® Be a Rockstar) so that the competitors have as much of the experience of what the athletes on the adidas ROCKSTARS qualification have. So, if you look at the women’s boulders, only 2 boulders have been modified and this modification was just adding a chip to a volume in both cases…you might not even recognise that the change is there because it’s so little. 

Most likely in the men’s event we’re not even going to modify them because these guys (the competitors in the GORE-TEX® Be a Rockstar), they have more tries, more time, and what’s the most important - they have other people, they have a team. They can help each other solve these problems.”

The women’s event was up first today and featured 38 climbers, aged between 16 and 40. The standard was extremely high, with no less than 16 of the entrants managing to top at least 4 of the 8 boulder problems set for them. Not all of the boulders were topped however, with boulder 2 proving impossible for all the entrants. 7 climbers did at least get the bonus hold on it. 

Of the 38 entrants, 5 of them topped 6 boulders, making competition for the 3 spots in the Build your Boulder contest extremely tight. Afra Hönig (GER) and Andrea Kümin (SUI) came really close to making it, missing out only because they took 9 attempts to get their 6 tops, as opposed to the 8 required by 21 year old Margarita Zakharova (UKR), who took that coveted third place.

Margarita will be joined tomorrow by Jara Späte (SUI), the 19 year old who topped 7 boulders, and Elnaz Rekabi (IRI) who did the same, but in 9 attempts to Jara’s 13.

Following her performance, Elnaz had this to say, “I think this is the best competition of the whole year. To me, apart from taking part, it’s also very exciting to watch all the great Rockstars from around the world and their performance at this event. It’s incredible, when you take a look around here at the Porsche Arena you see top notch climbers no matter where you look!”

In the men’s event we had such a large field that the competitors had to be split into 2 groups! The level set by the leading contenders was incredible, with 7 climbers getting 7 tops. The best of these 7 was Matthias Ember (AUT) who required just 11 attempts and will go to Build your Boulder tomorrow in third place. 


Ahead of him were 2 climbers who topped all 8 boulders - an extraordinary achievement. It took Jakob Schäfer (GER) 20 attempts, enough for 2nd behind Nikola Petrov (BUL) who flashed every single boulder - a feat even a professional would be proud of. 

Nikola commented afterwards, “I’m quite surprised, I thought I was able to solve all the problems in the jam session but I didn’t expect to flash them all -  this is going to push me a lot tomorrow!

Obviously I’m more excited about being in the semifinals of adidas ROCKSTARS, I waited for this moment for a long time. I needed a bit of luck or similar just to show me that I can perform at this level so tomorrow I will get on the stage, enjoy and give it my best.”


We’ve got a packed schedule tomorrow, with the adidas ROCKSTARS semi-final at 11am, Build your Boulder - GORE-TEX® Be a Rockstar between 3pm and 5.30pm and then the adidas ROCKSTARS final at 8.15 pm. Bring it on!

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