Melloblocco, the world's biggest boldering meeting
With just 12 days to go before Melloblocco 2008, here's a preview of what's in store for the world's biggest bouldering meeting in Val di Mello, Val Masino, Italy from 08 - 11 May 2008.
Less than 3 weeks to go to the Melloblocco and more than 1200 people have already pre-registered for the event. This is 250 more compared to the same time last year and the list of participants includes plenty of pleasant surprises!
Let's start with some plain old number crunching: more than a thousand Italians and 167 foreigners (circa 14%) which includes 20 from Germany, 19 from the Czech Republic, 16 from France, 13 from Lithuania, 12 from Belgium, 11 from Switzerland and England, 10 from Austria, 7 from Denmark, 6 from Slovenia, 7 from Spain, 5 from Holland, from Hungary and Slovakia, 3 from Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, 2 from America, 1 from Bosnia, Canada, Finland, Greece, Korea, Liechtenstein, Russia and Wales. And there's also a group from Turkey captained by Ayca.
One of the most recent to pre-register is (hear hear) the 1999 World Difficulty Champion Dino Lagni, a fantastic surprise for the Melloblocco. He will be joined by "local" Gabiele Moroni, the youngster capable of climbing Dreamtime 8B/C and becoming the Junior World Bouldering Champion in 2002 in Chantelieu, and winning bronze in the European Championships in Lecco.
Talking about the European Championships in 2004: the Melloblocco will be joined by second placed Andrew Earl from Britain, who won the La Reunion stage of the Bouldering World Cup 2007. The Czech Republic is well-represented by the likes of Jiri Pribil, Andrei Chrastina and Martin Cermak, while some of the best Italians include Stefano Ghidini, Giulia Giammarco, Roberta Longo, Stefania De Grandi and Riccardo Scarian
La Sportiva won't let the side down with some of its highest calibre athletes such as Frenchmen Anthony Lamiche and Jerome Meyer, Adam Ondra from the Czech Republic, the Italians Mauro Calibani, Cristian Brenna, Michele Caminati, Luca Zardini, Jenny Lavarda and Lucas Preti, Patxi Usobiaga from Spain and Muriel Sarkany from Belgium... With names such as this, the 5th Melloblocco will certainly be one to remember!
It'll be one to remember thanks also to Claudio Piscina, the inimitable official photographer who immortalised the past four editions and who this year turned the offer down so as to enjoy the magic to the full. Free from "professional" distractions, his name finally appears on the list of pre-registered.
Those who have been to the meeting in Valle di Mello know that the event goes well beyond the champions who turn up, they know that everyone is a champion in some way or other. Many undertake untellable journeys. How many, for example, have taken a whole week off work for this ritual meeting? Many have done so, from the rising star Pablita Lombarda to the South African family who will arrive with children and push-chair in tow.
Mike from Poland is worth mentioning: last year his final school exams stopped him from coming, but this year he'll be there as promised, hopefully after having bought a car to avoid the hitch-hike across Europe! “Hi, thanks for greetings. I’m really sad, because we couldn’t go to Mellobloco last year: (we had high school finals exam... I’m sure that we’ll be in Val Masino in 2008. I hope we will come in a bigger team than in 2006. I hope I can buy a car so we do not have to come to Italy by hitch-hiking:) Happy Melloblocco for all climbers in Italy!”
Confirmation of the international nature of the event comes from an email sent in by Clark from America. Written in Italian, it reads as follows: "I'm writing to find information about the Melloblocco 2008, I work for an American company which produces bouldering gear and artificial holds. We want to demonstrate the quality and functionality of our Crash Pads to all Melloblocco participants. We want to "hire" or lend our pads to those who haven't got one. I think that at the end of the event we could sell the pads at a discount. A friend of mine works for two American magazines, (Climbing and Urban Climber) and he'd like to write an article". Another friend works for a climbing website (www.momentumvm.com) and he'd like to make a film. How many participants do you think you'll have in 2008? Would you prefer if I wrote in English? I know that I make lot's of mistake in Italian." Wonderful, don't you agree?
David from Switzerland wrote the following about the Mello-phenomenon: "I've been interested in how you've created the Melloblocco for quite a while. I'd like to create something similar in my country. I was in Val di Mello/Val Masino recently and I admired all the climbing possibilities. During the trip I found out more about the Melloblocco, which I'd heard about from a friend. This competition fascinates me and my idea comes from this. And seeing that in only a couple of years your event has become world famous, I'd like to get in touch for some advice."
From Spain, José wrote the following for him and his friends: “Hola amigos, somos una pareja de Barcelona y nos gustaria acudir en Meloblocco 2008. Estamos muy interesados en conocer este lugar tan increíble que hemos podido entrever con videos de ediciones anteriores. Muchas gracias de antemano, Perdonad por no saber expresarnos en italiano A la espera de vuestras noticias Y con muchas ganas de blocar Saludos y hasta pronto!
To confirm that the "Mello" really does belong to everybody we received tons and tons of offers and questions. Emanuele for example wrote asking "can I suggest a group for the live music evening? I have contacts with independent Italian rock groups, if this can be of interest let me know..."
Chris, a DJ from Canada, wrote as follows: “Hi Organizers of Mello Blocco, I'm a climber and DJ from Vancouver, BC, Canada on a 8 month trip around Europe. I am planning on attending Mello Blocco. I DJed for the Western Canadian Bouldering competition last fall and really enjoyed being a part of the event. I was wondering if I could DJ at the event at some point. I play Progressive House, Progressive Trance and Electro House. I would not be looking for any remuneration for the pleasure of play, I just want to contribute to the great event that you are putting on. I'm looking forward to attending the event.”
Federico is a film director and together with Enrico he'll screen the film "Rubare metri al cielo", a bouldering documentary produced by Pubbliviva in collaboration with Marzio Nardi, Cristian Core, Mauro Calibani, Gabriele Moroni, Stefania De Grandi, Giovanna Pozzoli, Claudia Battaglia and many others! The film was selected for the Trento Film Festival 2007, won the Cervino Mountain Festival 2007 (as best mountaineering film) and hit the stores in August 07 together with the Italian climbing magazine Alp...
Many others write for news, saying that they're preparing their trip to Italy, like Ayca from Turkey who wrote "I and my friends are planning to join this year's Mello Blocco event but beforehand I'd like to have some more details about the organization. I guess we will be coming on 30th of April. As written in the info sheet, car access will be prohibited to the bouldering areas during the event. We'd like to come one week earlier, I wonder will it be possible to climb in the area or will it be closed for preparations of the event? One more point is that we need to have visas to enter Italy, do you send invitation letters to concerned countries like ours?”
And to finish with an excuse which is more than justified... by one of our most faithful top climbers: "Hello Nicola, sorry, but I have to cancel my participation this year, because Margit and me will have our marriage on that date! Sometimes you have a thing that is more important than climbing. But I wish you a nice Melloblocco and I hope to try the boulder on a later occasion!!! Thank you again for the invitation and say hello to everybody I know there... Toni.”
So lot's of luck from all the friends at the Melloblocco to Margit and Toni Lamprecht, who are getting married this year!