L’Aquila starts anew thanks to its Climbing Festival
Daniele Adriani, president of the El Cap climbing club, talks about the recent Climbing Festival which took place in the city of L'Aquila from 1 to 4 August 2012. A meeting which sent a message of hope to a city which is stubbornly fighting its way back to life after the disasterous 2009 earthquake.
Organizing an International Climbing Master in the centre of a city which has been reduced to rubble by earthquake was certainly going to be an arduous undertaking. We knew that ever since those tremendous shuders which shook L'Aquila on 6 April 2009 that people no longer enjoy strolling down the streets which once bristled with life and busy shops and which are now deserted, dark and patrolled by soldiers. And even if sometimes you think about talking a step back in time, you get turned back by the military and the barriers…
In short, the residents of L’Aquila have abandoned the centre, a bit because they feel trapped by the barriers which encompass those few areas where one is allowed to go, and partly because it brings back memories of the good old days which no one knows when and if will ever return.
But we from the "El Cap" climbing club had to do something, we wanted bring lots of friends from other regions of Italy, from other countires, to see whether it really is true that the centre is dying and lying there, in need of a transplant. Because the rest of the area is intact, the nearby mountains, plateaus, and all the natural beauties are still there. And, above all, the warmth of local population can be felt even more strongly than before.
And so, thanks at first to the young people who hang out in the only places which are open in the centre of L'Aquila – i.e. pubs and bars – slowly but surely the square began to fill up, every night a little bit more. Friday’s Open finished in style with nearly a thousand spectators watching Roberto Parisse and Vanessa Marchionne take victory.
Then… on Saturday night something happened which we hadn’t thought about in our wildest dreams… the spectators doubled! So much so that at half past midnight, just before the finals, there wasn’t a place left in the entire square! Every seat was taken, not just by climbers but also by those who had never seen a climbing competition before.
The local sports councilor, Dr. Iorio, stayed put to witness an event she’d never watched before, from 21:30 on through to 01:30… and when I apologised for the delay she replied she’d had a great time and that she was already looking forward to next year, there in the very same town square… talk about the power of climbing!
For the record, the Masters was won by Frenchman Glairon Mondet who upturned the Qualifiers duing which Canadian Sean McColl had sent the spectators crazy with three fantastic tops, followed by the much applauded Kazakh climber Rustam Gelmanov. But that trecherous 45° corner proved that, at times, raw power just isn’t enough and that a little bit of immagination can often do the trick. Just ask Gabriele Moroni, who finished second. The women’s event was won deservedly by a superb Jenny Lavarda who battled it out against the
elegant Mathilde Becerra and somewhat under-par Anna Gallyamova.
The idea is to replicate this success next year but we'd certainly appreciate a little more attention from the Italian Sports Climbing Federation. This project was made possible thanks to funding from the Regional Operational Programme of the 2007 – 2013 European Regional Development Fund from.
El Cap President