Climbing World Championships Bern: This is how the professionals prepare

The highlight of the current competition season is the Climbing World Championships in Bern in less than two months. We asked various professionals in the DACH region how they prepare for this superlative event.

The news about the 2023 World Cup will be presented by Unparallel, Petzl and Bächli Bergsport

From August 1st to 12th, the world's best athletes will compete in the individual disciplines of lead, bouldering and speed, in the combined format of bouldering & lead and in paraclimbing IFSC Climbing and Paraclimbing World Championships Bern 2023.

In this article, the four-time world champion and Olympic bronze medalist talk about it Jakob Schubert and his teammate Jessica mushroom, world, European and 9-times Austrian champion, how this highlight of the year influences her training planning.

In addition, the multiple Swiss champion and World Cup bronze medal winner grant Andrea Kümin and her teammate Sascha Lehmann, two-time youth world champion, European champion and World Cup medalist, insights into their preparation and periodization.

The Austrian Jakob Schubert is one of the top favorites at the Climbing World Championships in Bern - his own expectations are correspondingly high. Image: Simon Rainer
The Austrian Jakob Schubert is one of the top favorites at the Climbing World Championships in Bern - his own expectations are correspondingly high. Picture: Simon Rainer

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Jakob Schubert: Olympic ticket and podium in sight

The Austrian top climber Jakob Schubert travels to Bern with a clear goal: the Olympic ticket. Three of these will be awarded in the combined format. "I'm trying to prepare in both disciplines, with the focus being a little more on the lead as the bouldering preparation has been going on for a long time."

Even if he already feels relatively good at bouldering, he will continue to regularly train the "funky things", i.e. the run-and-jump problems typical of competitive bouldering.

“Of course I also have goals in the individual disciplines. I hope that I can perform and win a World Cup medal."

Jakob Schubert
In addition to the combined format, where you can win tickets for the 2024 Olympics, Jakob Schubert is also aiming for a podium finish in the individual disciplines.
In addition to the combined format, where tickets for the 2024 Olympics can be won, Jakob Schubert is also aiming for a podium finish in the individual disciplines.

Joint training as a motivational boost

As far as the design of his training is concerned, the interaction with other athletes is crucial for him, says Jakob Schubert. "I definitely train with the national team, or rather with teammates and climbers from other teams who keep coming to Innsbruck."

“I've always been the guy who likes to train with other athletes. I need this, that's how I grew up. This is the only way I have motivation and fun in training.»

Jakob Schubert

Training together with friends, pushing each other and learning from each other is essential for him. "And that will always be the most important thing for me in training."

In addition, the 32-year-old regularly consults with the national coaches. He works mostly with Kilian Fischhuber. So, all in all, he has the perfect training conditions.

Jakob Schubert: "The World Championships in Bern is an absolute highlight this year and my entire season planning is geared towards it." Image: Tobias Haller
Jakob Schubert: "The World Championships in Bern is an absolute highlight this year and my entire season planning is geared towards it." Image: Tobias Haller

With speed, there is no additional burden

Jakob Schubert is not unhappy about the fact that speed is rated individually compared to the Olympic debut in Tokyo - on the contrary: "It's pretty awesome for all athletes that speed has split off." Having to train another discipline was an extreme physical strain.

Now Schubert can focus on what he has been training his whole life: bouldering and lead. In order to be in top form in Bern, he skips a few World Cups in the run-up to the World Championships in order to be able to prepare perfectly.

«My goal number 1 this year is to qualify for the Olympics. Of course, the dream would be that I could do it in Bern right away. I know it will be very difficult. But I think this is a realistic goal and I'm one of the athletes who have a chance."

Jakob Schubert
Jakob Schubert cover

Jakob Schubert – successes in competitions

  • 1x Olympic bronze
  • 4 x World Champion
  • 1 x European Champion
  • 7 x overall World Cup winner
  • 22 x World Cup victories
  • 12 championship medals total

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Jessica Pilz: Combination in focus

Like teammate Jakob Schubert, Jessica Pilz is also targeting the Olympic ticket in Bern. Accordingly, the focus for them is the combination and good preparation in both disciplines.

"For me personally, the lead is more important and I want to show a strong performance in this discipline."

Jessica mushroom
Jessica Pilz is aiming to qualify for the Olympics in Bern. Image: Daniel Gajda/IFSC
The Austrian Jessica Pilz is aiming to qualify for the Olympics in Bern. Image: Daniel Gajda/IFSC

The 26-year-old will compete in a few more Bouldering and Lead World Cups in June and July and thus prepare for the Climbing World Championships in Bern. "From mid-July there are still two to three competition-free weeks for fine-tuning."

“The fact that speed is no longer part of the combination has made my training a lot easier. I find it much easier to combine bouldering and lead and the physical strain is also much less."

Jessica mushroom

Training: Alone and in the national team

With Jessica Pilz it is very different whether she trains alone, with the national team or with personal coaches. "Basically, I like to train alone, although that's rarely possible in Innsbruck because the climbing hall is almost always full," explains Pilz. She often trains with other athletes and/or with the coaches from the national team.

Jessica mushroom cover

Jessica Pilz – competition successes

  • 2018: World champion in lead climbing
  • 2018: World Championship third in the combination
  • 2017: 2x Gold, 1x Silver at Military World Games
  • 2015: European champion in the combination
  • 2012-2015: 4-time youth European champion
  • 2011-2013: 3-time youth world champion
  • 9-time Austrian State Champion

Sascha Lehmann: The World Cup is the highlight of the season

For the Swiss climber and World Cup hopeful Sascha Lehmann, the World Cup in Bern has top priority. Accordingly, he has geared his season planning to this.

"I'm not contesting all the World Cups this year so that I have enough time for training. In addition, I plan the intensive training phases in such a way that I can be in top form by the beginning of August if possible.”

Sascha Lehmann
Lead climbing is Sascha Lehmann's specialty. Image: Lena Drapella/IFSC
Lead climbing is Sascha Lehmann's specialty. Image: Lena Drapella/IFSC

In the weeks leading up to the World Championships in Bern, competition training will be the focus. "We will also simulate the World Cup schedule in training." The fact that Bern is also a qualification option for the Olympics doesn't change much in his training.

“It will be extremely difficult to get an Olympic place at the World Championships, as only three are awarded. For me, the focus is on my main discipline, Lead. For me, this is also the basis for a good combined result.”

Sascha Lehmann

Training in different constellations

As far as training is concerned, Sascha Lehmann attends the training of the SAC national team at the performance center in Biel, where he is looked after by the national coaches. On the other hand, his personal trainers Christian Tschudi and Tobias Suter from the O'Bloc climbing gym support him in planning his training sessions.

"I then complete some training sessions alone or with other members of the national team."

Sascha Lehmann
Sascha Lehmann cover new

Sascha Lehmann – successes in competitions

  • 2022: Gold in the lead at the World Games in Birmingham
  • 2021: Bronze in the lead at the IFSC World Cup Innsbruck (AUT)
  • 2020: Silver in the combined at the European Championships in Moscow (RUS)
  • 2020: Gold in the lead at the European Championships in Moscow (RUS)
  • 2019: Bronze in Lead at the European Championship Edinburgh (GBR)
  • 2019: Gold in the lead at the IFSC World Cup Villars (SUI)
  • 2016: Gold in the combined at the Youth World Championships Juniors Guangzhou (CHN)
  • 2015: Gold in the lead at the Youth World Championship U18 Arco (ITA)

Andrea Kümin: Bouldering, the parade discipline

Since only three Olympic tickets will be awarded at the Climbing World Championships in Bern, it will be extremely difficult to secure one, Andrea Kümin believes. "That's why I'm focusing on my favorite discipline, bouldering, at the World Cup." The 25-year-old almost always trains with the coaches of the national team and her teammates.

Andrea Kümin cover

Andrea Kümin – competition successes

  • 2022: Bronze in bouldering at the Meiringen World Cup
  • 2019/2021: Bronze at the Swiss Bouldering Championships
  • 2020: Bronze at the Swiss Bouldering Championships
  • 2016: Silver at the European Youth Cup U20 Argentière Bouldering
  • 2016: Bronze at the Youth European Championships U20 Mitterdorf Lead
  • 2016: Gold at the Youth European Championships U20 Mitterdorf Combined
  • 2016: Silver at the Youth World Championships U20 Gunangzhou Combined
  • 2014: Gold at the Swiss Lead Championships U16
  • 2009/2020/2014: Gold at the Swiss Lead Championships U14/U16

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Credits: Cover picture Strobl communication

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