Saturday, 19 March 2011 – since the very first hour the hall of V.axess is alive with the sound of carabiners, descenders and ascenders. In this building, Petzl welcomes the first "Championnat de France des Cordistes" (French rope access championships) organized by the Syndicat Français des Entreprises de Travaux en Hauteur (SFETH, French rope access union).
Coming from all over France, around 60 helmeted and harnessed participants are ready to compete, but for the moment they listen to the judges' briefing. The creation and judging of the events is being overseen by the EPIsûr society. The competitors will be able to compete in various events where physical strength, technique and strategy have a role to play.
Although speed will be the main criteria for evaluating each event, safety is also omnipresent. The jury is uncompromising on this point: any failure to implement safety and proceeding dangerously will result in a heavy penalty for the competitor. Disconnecting the fall arrest system is completely prohibited.
For individual events, four qualification rounds will determine the eight best competitors proceeding to the quarter finals:
- Speed climbing: an 18-meter rope climb using ascenders then returning to the ground using a descender.
- Displacement: a 3D route that includes climbing, traversing, passing intermediate anchors, passing knots, then descending.
- Hauling: hoisting a 100-kilo load eight meters high by building the most efficient pulley system possible.
- Partner rescue: consists of accessing an 80-kilo dummy suspended five meters above the ground, removing it from the system and returning it to the ground.
Finally, the competition starts and the hall is immediately filled with sounds of encouragement for the participants. Each competitor is there to do his best, but also to be a part of the unique atmosphere of this event. In the afternoon the surprise arrival of a brazilian drum group re-energizes the competitors and the crowd before the final stages.
The eight qualified competitors are now faced with single elimination rounds on a climbing course that will test all their skills: climbing, traversing, passing intermediate anchors and descending back to the ground. The suspense stays high all the way to the end where the winner of the two finalists, competing neck and neck, is decided by a penalty.
1st : Sylvain Bellat (Ouest Acro)
2nd : Yohan Garcia (Profil)
3rd : Rui de Carvalho (Aplomb)
In addition to these hand to hand competitions, a four-person team event allowed different companies to compete against each other in a challenge designed for the occasion: organize as quickly as possible how to lift a heavy load, skillfully maneuver it through the air and then place it on a target on the ground. In this event, the most efficient teams were:
1st : Aplomb (équipe 1)
2nd : TGH
3rd : Abside
Besides the competition itself, the championship was also an opportunity for the rope access workers, who often work for competing companies, to find the time to get together in a festive and friendly atmosphere. The event provided a good opportunity to exchange information about the techniques and equipments used in their work.
Coming soon : The video of the Championship, stay tuned
See you in 2012 for the next event, which is sure to be even more spectacular!
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