The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival - Day One: Project Competition
The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival has got underway with the pro athletes getting to grips with the Project Competition routes. The atmosphere is perfect already t: Mediterranean climbing, fantastic rock, sun, sea and the joy and pleasure of simply being on this island. The report from our "climbers in-the-field" Nicoletta Costi and Nicola Noè.
It's a beautiful day, sunny, the skies are clear, the sea is as flat as a mirror, the colours of Kantouni far below us are saturated with a dazzling light. The approach to the Olympus of sport climbing is a long one, but what lies in store is certain to be exciting.
We raise our eyes upwards. The yellow tops worn by the girls and the boys' orange t-shirts are dotted across the wall at different heights. As we walk past the last outcrop of grey rock, the spectacle that greets us is as unusual as it is unique: the athletes are working, flashing and redpointing the routes which have been reserved for them by the Kalymnos Climbing Festival.
Like children with a new present we don't know where to look, the routes are outstanding and the athletes impress because of their climbing skills and their sportsmanship. We let ourselves be taken away by this show, along with the other "human" climbers who've given up on a half-day of climbing and made their way up here to watch this PROject Competition, this highly original event with the event itself.
This meeting is in fact taking place on a cliff which had been kept secret until last night, bolted amongst other by Jacopo Larcher and Simone Moro. The formula is interesting, with 4 routes for the men and 4 for the women; each athlete has 25 minutes to work the line before attempting the redpoint... after each fall they immediately lower off and the next athlete can give it a go! Prize money has been assigned to the routes and this is split between all those who manage to send them.
We watch avidly as they climb in rapid succession: Melissa Le Neve tries the moves with Anna Stöhr, Yuji Hirayama, Dani Andrada and Kilian Fischhuber, have just lowered off and cheer the others on as Iker Pou and Daila Ojeda excitedly share ideas about this new crag and Gabriele Moroni receives a well-deserved round of applause for sending "his" route. And the list of famous climbers could continue... The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and playful, yet the show the climbers put on would need to be studied thousands of times to even begin thinking of imitating them.
And this was just day one, the top climbers continue their efforts early today while for all the rest, for the more "human" among us the time has finally come for the climbing marathon up 350 routes in the OPEN category (up to 7a) and the 155 routes in the BIG category (from 7a to 8a+)!
Nicoletta Costi and Nicola Noè