Everything you need to know about the World Championships in Bern

July 27, 2023



The upcoming world championships in Bern is a brilliant opportunity to see world class climbers plying their trade on an array of incredible walls.

It’s also a good chance to see next year’s new Olympic format in action, with speed now a separate event and the combined featuring just bouldering and lead.


The event kicks off with the men’s and women’s bouldering and lead events. The first final is that of the men’s bouldering, on Friday 4th August. The women’s bouldering final is on the Saturday, and then the lead finals are on Sunday.

Into the second week and the Paraclimbing starts up, with qualifying on Tuesday 8th August.

On Wednesday, the men and women are back in the combined event, with a busy day that sees them tackle the semi-finals of both disciplines.

Thursday 10th has the Paraclimbing finals along with the speed finals, Friday 11th sees the women’s combined finals and then the men round things off in their combined finals on Saturday 12th.


The world champs are taking place indoors, with the majority of events being staged in what is normally an ice hockey venue. The bouldering qualifiers are nearby at the Curling Hall.

Bern World Championships Climbing

New format

Okay, it isn’t quite new as it was in situ last year at the European Games, but just in case that passed you by – here are the details. Speed is gone from the combined, it’s now all about lead and boulder. The climbers will compete in both these disciplines individually and those will the highest combined score will qualify for the combined event.

The lead wall is scored from the top down, with the top moves all worth five points, the middle moves worth two points and the lower moves worth one point. Scoring only starts halfway up through, so you need to get reasonably high just to register a score.

In bouldering, the blocs are worth 25 points – with points knocked off for attempts and two scoring zones.
The top three finishers in the combined will book their country a quota place for the Olympics next year, so there’s plenty to play for in Bern.

Who to watch out for

Janja Garnbret has had a topsy turvy season after breaking her big toe a few months back. She sat out a few events as a result, and so did Natalia Grossman and Brooke Raboutou. As such, the women’s world cup circuit has been up and down with a few using the opportunity to make a name for themselves in the absence of more established stars.

Natalia Grossman Climber

Oriane Bertone is one to watch, with her home Olympics not too far away. Miho Nonaka is still climbing strongly, and Ai Mori has had a brilliant last 12 months. Hannah Meul is another who could do well after some strong early season results. Molly Thompson-Smith has had a solid lead season so far for GB but hasn’t been up there in the bouldering rounds.

As for the men, watch out for Japan. Tomoa Narasaki has been overshadowed by his younger team mates, with Sorato Anraku and Yoshiyuki Ogata both impressing this year. Mejdi Schalck seems to be peaking at the right time with that home Olympics just around the corner, and Toby Roberts is a rising star having won both a boulder and lead world cup gold already this season.

The men's has felt more like a changing of the guard than the women's competition this year, with Jakob Schubert still looking strong on lead but less so on boulder, with the same being said for Adam Ondra. Yes, lead is both of their strengths, but even so. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the combined format plays out in Bern.

How to watch

You can watch live via Discovery, with highlights and reruns available on YouTube a day or so after the event.

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