From January 23 to 25 the city of Mumbay hosted the 8th edition of Girivihar International Bouldering Competition. Gathering over a hundred competitors the unique bouldering competition of India moved a step higher. Petzl and our Indian distributor (Allied Safety) support this event, and regularily sends team members to participate : this year Philipe Ribiére represented the team. Report from Vaibhav Mehta chief route setter on the event.
"For all those who don't know about this event here is a small sum up, it is organized by one of the oldest clubs in India. Girivihar also does a lot of trekking and expeditions in the Himalayas. The main motivation behind organizing this event is to promote rock-climbing in India. It is the only bouldering competition of India and I am proud to be a part of it.
This year is the same as the previous years, but with a small change : the walls are ready miraculously two days before the competition... good news for me! I get more time to set the problems and well in advance so that the athletes don't have to be in isolation for long hours waiting for their turn; ask Mike Fuselier he knows how it was last year! And we would not be having men's final at 2 am in the morning!
This year we have new profiles for the wall and we have connected the entire wall giving me a lot of ground to play on. I have two more route setters with me and as always we will be pushing the limits of the climbers. I do have a lot of ideas for the routes and hopefully I will make it entertaining for both the audience and the climbers!!
Day one, 23rd Jan
We got the first shock of the competition, 113 participants from different parts of India and also from France, Japan, Korea, Israel and Swiss. Second shock : the route setters, we had to do 8 new problems for sub juniors. What does it mean: stay awake till 4 in the morning and set problems for them.. Great!! But in a way it is all worth it, for the first time we had these numbers and also for the first time we were doing this category. Its always hard to set routes for the sub juniors as you don't want to make it to hard at the same time it should not be easy… Difficult, as also one can be one meter and one will be almost 2m... what to do!!
But that's our work and we love it. We started off with sub junior problems, then moved on to the boys, and then men's. As I said we had the boulders ready 2 days prior to the comp, I was more relaxed as we had already set many routes and were kept aside. Thanks to the dedicated hard work of the Girvihar team we were more or less on time this year. Men's qualifying finished at 11 in the night. The routes were well appreciated by the climbers and also by the spectators. The ambience was charged up with some good music and a lot of cheers. We also did some demo climbs with Philippe Ribiére today and it was a treat for all of us to watch him climb. For the participants the night had ended early but for us it had just begun, we had to do some finishing touches for the problems already set and also set new ones for the sub juniors.
Day two, 24th Jan
The main day for the comp as there were many rounds, we started off sub juniors finals for both boy and girls, then came the men's semi, then one round for women's as there were only 4 of them, then boys finals and then men's final and in the end showed Ganesh a film shot Julien Nadiras and Vladimir Cellier in Badami, last year.
The main show being the Men's semis, finals and boy finals we were under pressure to make a show out of it. During the boy finals all the problems were sent by just one kid, making it interesting for viewers till the last problem. The third problem was the decider as only the winner was able to send it. For the Men's we had decided to make the semis, the toughest round of the comp and the problem were hard both technically and physically. Pushing each climber to his limit, we only saw one sent on the third problem in the very last minute.
We had achieved what we wanted, giving us the chance to create a show in the final round. The round started in the dark with lights and loud music and there was a big curiosity in the air as to who is going to win, all eyes were set on the best climbers and every move was cheered. In the end all the problems were send only by one climber. We had done it again. We had a clean sheet on the score board.
Its always nice as a route setter to always come out with a clean result this way both the climbers and viewers are happy.
Day three, 25th Jan
The day for the natural competition and the dyno comp, the natural comp has always been a highlight of this event. This year we offered 6 new problems from 5c to 7a+. With a limited amount of time and attempts everybody was focused till the very last minute. Leaving only one problem unsent. Over all everybody enjoyed it and had a great time in the outdoors. Evening was all set for the show down with the first dyno comp of India. The bar was set higher with every jump in the end making one clear champion. We decided to take this opportunity to set a Girivihar dyno record. The winner was given 3 tries to take his bars as high as possible as a result we had a dyno of 2.1 meters set by both men's and boy's finalist. The evening end with the prize distribution and happy faces, but… the night had just began the venue was shifted to party hall where Philippe did a presentation and showed his film setting the pace for the night. It was really inspirational and motivating for every one present there in the hall. The party ended at 4 in the morning.
We are really thankful to all our sponsors and specially Petzl for providing us with a strong support and sending Philippe to India. Its was really great to have him, many people have learned a lot of thing and were really inspired. Thank you so much.
Now the team moves to Panchmadi for the next phase of this event which is a climbing trip. It's a new place with a lot of potential and lots of new routes to be opened. We are all excited and can't wait to open some new lines in this virgin place."
A few words from Philippe Ribière
"This was my very first trip to India and i was very impressed by the athmosphere in Mumbay. The lifestyle of India is so different from what I'm used to in Europe. I was surprised that all the climbers i met knew me from the vidéos i've done. For the moment the climbing community is very small, without a lot of experience but the motivation is incredible. I think in the future some really talented climbers will appear from India. I met Ankit Sharma, 21 year old, who not only has a climbing name but some serious skills he proved by winning the competition. He comes from a place without rock! Congratulations to the Girivihar Club and their permanent efforts to promote rock climbing to young people. After the trip I held a conference for a non governmental organisation in charge of providing education and jobs for handicapped children. I found myself in front of 300 children, their parents and the teachers, that was a very intense moment of emotions. My message to them was : even here, in the misery of Mumbay you can find happyness if you believe in yourself and try to realize your dreams, never give up."