Barely the Petzl RocTrip 2012 is over, we already have a video and the story of the week.
Video: epic moments
A week of effort and passion
- Wednesday & Thursday
The nationwide airline strikes that paralyzed the country weren't enough to stop the flood of the climbers to Piedra Parada. Among them, the US crew, including John Cardwell and Nick Duttle, ended up taking a nonstop 24-hour bus ride from Buenos Aires to arrive to the RocTrip on time.
The area around the river has been transformed from an isolated oasis to a village of tents populated by over 1000 climbers. In addition to being equipped with quickdraws and ropes, many of the South American climbers bought guitars, drums, violins and flutes. The melodies of impromptu matte-fueled jam sessions float over the campground.
The Petzl Team, once over the jet lag and travel weariness, got down to work. On Wednesday, Sean Villeneuva started putting together the moves on "Balroc" a 5-pitch route, first bolted in March during the bolting trip. He's hoping to complete it before the end of the event.
On Thursday, the hardest route of the canyon "Donde esta Yolanda", bolted by Daniel du Lac, saw a first ascent by Mike Fuselier. Dani Andrada and Dave Graham also sent the overhanging 8c on the same day. Mike also sent an 8b+ called "Templo de los suenos". Gerome Pourvreau did "After glua", 8b.
The women were also productive. Martina Cufar onsighted an 8a and 8a+ in the same day. Florence Pinet climbed an 8b+ in the Calavera Canyon and a couple of 8a+ routes in the El Parlamento sector. Charlotte Durif climbed another 8a+ in Calavera. In the same area, Melissa Le Nevé did an 8b named "Resistance!".
All the major climbing sectors of the canyon sectors were full of people trying out the more than 250 new routes bolted especially for the event. Climbers of all levels from all over the world were climbing together, exchanging beta and enjoying the desert sun.
Back at the base camp, the RocTrip officially kicked off with the opening ceremony. Local Chubut Province officials welcomed the climbers and thanked the hardworking volunteers. That was followed by a quick presentation of the area and a few basic guidelines for the climbers and campers, especially regarding keeping the environment clean and the climbing safe. Laurent de la Fouchardière, one of the originators of the Petzl RocTrip, then gave a presentation of all the previous events (with Dave Graham translating) from its beginnings ten years ago in Millau all the way to China, passing through Bishop, Squamish, Kalymnos, Mexico, etc. (For more about the past ten years of RocTrip, stay tunned to check out the special anniversary section, coming soon). This was followed by a showing of the Petzl RocTrip China movie and the premier of "Silbergeier" featuring Nina Caprez. Then the crowd was treated with some local Chubut guitar talent. The night concluded with set of electro by DJ and route developer Matias Cicco that resonated in the desert until 3am.
- Friday, November 23
While some of the team rested, others continued on. Mike Fuselier climbed a an 8b called "Particion". Florence Pinet quickly did the long "Io Brother," 8b+. Jerome Pouvreau had a great day, onsighting "Io Brother" and flashing the 8c test piece of the canyon, "Donde esta Yolanda", first climbed the day before. He went up with Daniel du Lac and decided to give the route a try. With a little beta from Daniel, he negotiated the horizontal, slightly descending roof, requiring a lot of technical footwork and rotations to get to the anchors.
The monolithic Piedra Parada saw lots of action as numerous parties climbed the classic 8-pitch route, "Sueno Lento", first climbed in 1993 by Damian Benegas and P. De La Fuente.
As the day progressed, and sun rose in the sky (along with the wind!), and the light and shadows change creating forms on on the canyon walls that look like faces. Near the entrance of the canyon, some climbers set up a 30-meter long highline. Despite the blustery winds, Sean Villaneuva was able to complete the delicate traverse 125 meters above the canyon floor.
The evening kicked off with an appearance and speech by the Provincial governor. Local and national television were present to record the event. Argentinian alpinist, Damien Benegas gave a presentation of the climbing history of the Piedra Parada. He did the first ascent of the iconic desert tower 19 years ago, when there was nothing here except a lazy meandering river and an isolated sheep ranch. Then on stage, a troupe of dancers performed a mix of Argentinian tango and traditional Mapuche indian dances. Ramiro Calvo presented a history of Patagonian climbing to live music. Then the crowd was treated to five local bands of talented climbers during an open stage session. Bariloche-based band Guatambu capped of the night with some latin-flavored blues until three in the morning.