Melloblocco continues to be a great success. On Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May more than 1000 boulderers gathered in Val di Mello for the 4th edition of the Melloblocco, the international bouldering meet organised by the Val Masino town council. As always, plenty of climbing, bouldering, parties, chance encounters and fun and games.
1, 2, 3... thud. Crimp left, edge right, smear left and... whack onto the crash pad. The scene (infinite) repeats itself for countless, identical takes. The actor changes. But the mantra remains the same: 1, 2, 3... thud. While the top remain elusive, indecipherable. At times you could simply reach out, stretch on tip toes to grab the hold of your desires. At other times you could simply walk round, hands in your pockets, to conquest the boulder. But this evidently isn't the point. And so things start all over again. 1, 2, 3... thud... 1 ,2, 3... Are these boulderers crazy or what?
Melloblocco year IV. A reconfirmation of a thousand variables and one single certainty: those who can make something of all of this are great, those who don't even bother to ask hit the jackpot. Or rather, the top, just like Melloblocco 2007. How many thuds were registered this year no one can say, they are uncountable. How many thousands of solution were dreamt of and invented only the bouldering God or that of Val di Mello knows (somewhere out there there must surely be a God who loves these boulderers). What is certain is that in the end there were plenty of tops, almost as many tops as smiles. Perhaps because bouldering, when you least expect it, gives you something. Or perhaps because it counts for less than that algebra of edges, microcrimps, slopers and smears which at first glance seem incomprehensible: the theorem here is simply believing in the impossible.
Impossible, like imagining how the Melloblockers would have replied to the rain which arrived with clockwork precision as forecast by the Swiss meteo. They was no single answer... perhaps there wasn't even a real reason, but once again the rule of opposites held true in the valley. Everyone knew about the rain but no one cared. Not those 400 who reached Val di Mello on Friday night. Nor the 1000 who Saturday morning got lost discovering the new boulders dotted around Sasso Remenno. Nor all those who Saturday afternoon opened their umbrellas to continue roaming through the granite forest. Those who took shleted beneath the rocky roofs definitely didn't notice the rain and continued to repeat their mantra. And not even those who converted their crash pads into goal posts for an unmissable game of football. And so the "wet" Melloblocco transformed well beyond the climbing sphere. Beyond the grip one could say. And also way beyond the party.
Talking about parties - how do boulderers dance? This too is a question with a rather uncertain answer. In the debut year of the White Party at Camping Remenno all Melloblockers definitely gave it their best. There were those who preferred to simply watch, beer in hand. There were those who swayed gently to the beat of the drums. Those who got lost in the crowd. And those who searched for perfect balance on the slackline - some managed, like the legendary Nicolino and Brenna). There was a (really impressive) woman who hypnotised all with her balls of fire. And there were some who, in an attempt to imitate her, risked serious burns. And there were also those who tried to drag the (tolerant) police officers into the dancing vortex. Some freed all remaining energy (where does it all come from) in the chaotic violent bumper car dance. Some were dragged in to this crazy "dance". In the deep of the night many swore that this was the best Melloblocco party ever... Perhaps climbers aren't the best dancers, but certainly there's no holding them back.
No one held back at the Melloblocco, from the biggest names in bouldering (ever present, and always in plenty) to the youngest participants. The champions, who are recognised by everyone, know all and camouflage perfectly in the crowd and the boulders, search for that elusive top like all the rest. Yes, their problems are harder, no, even more: they are impossible. But they, the "big", always mange to pull the rabbit out of the hat when you least expect it. Just like that child (a meter high, give or take a bit) who climbed his boulder (a meter and a half high, give or take a bit) and completed his masterpiece with a perfect jump onto the crashpad. He then looked around happy, while his father, watchful and watching his own problem, smiled back at him. A few moments earlier that same boy had met Jack from Las Vegas, Amercian but with Spanish origin walking on the green Val di Mello grass. The boy was German but the two understood each other perfectly: perhaps he had explained everything about the boulder which was a meter and a half high, give or take a bit.
Jack is travelling for a year with two other friends, via crags, boulders, mountains and historical cities. They had prepared this journey for three years, studying carefully where to go and working hard to earn the money for the trip. He said he'd been to Fontainebleau, asked for information about Kalymnos and confirmed with a massive grin that in Valle di Mello he had discovered Europe's Yosemite. In that momet a ray of light illuminated a small miracle of a desperate top with the final bursts of strength down in the Sasso Remenno area. Nicola, an incorrigible romantic boulderer) was then heard to say that, watching the effort had brought tears to his eyes... Everyman's Melloblocco simply had no limits...
Who knows what those boulders dotted around and above Sasso Remenno though of the thousand boulderers who caressed them gently. Who know what thoughts the breeze carried off, that breeze which has caressed the smooth Val di Mello granite since time began. Perhpas they're there, smiling. Asking themselves what it was all about? And perhaps those rocks feel a tiny bit different after having been the prima players of so many dreams, so much energy. They'll definitely not forget... And in the silence of the valley they can almost make out that 1, 2, 3... thud... Or perhaps it's someone left behind, reciting that endless mantra.