Grip, magic and boulders galore at the start of Melloblocco 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012. After yesterday's inauguration, the ninth edition of Melloblocco kicked off officially today in Val Masino - Val di Mello, Italy. This is without a doubt the world's most important international bouldering meeting and today's both sunny and cloudy start, was marked by perfect friction for the 2000 Melloblockers who had already reached the valley.
First day of "fun & games" at Melloblocco 2012. And a first day spent exploring the 120 boulder problems, all brand new, which have now been added to the over 2000 existing problems in Val Masino - Val di Mello. A huge playing field of all shapes, sizes and difficulties. As the day evolved the number of Melloblockers continued to rise, meaning that yesterday's 1000 were joined by another 1000. New boulderers checked-in continuously and, as always, the marathon climbing event spread out across the entire valley. Today was intense and beautiful, with both sun and clouds providing what the climbers define as a great grip, perfect friction!
This grip enthused all, from the youngest youngsters to the most mature climbers who "played" side by side with the world's best. As always numerous champions had lined up at the start including, amongst others, Lead World Champion Ramon Julian Puigblanque from Spain, "flying" Finn Nalle Hukkataival, extremely strong Russian Alexey Rubtsov, Mykhailo Shalagin from the Ukraine, startling American Sasha DiGiulian, extremely talented Brit Shauna Coxsey, explosive Slovenian Klemen Becan and great Barbara Zangerl from Austria. To which must be added the absolute star Italians Gabriele Moroni, Michele Caminati e Mauro Calibanii. And currently making their way to Val di Mello are both Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra, two other "limitless" phenomena.
As this first round drew to a close, many dedicated their time and energies exploring the new "Bregolana" area close to Bagni di Masino. This is undoubtedly a great discovery and underlines the immense potential and infinite beauty of Val Masino. So today, in Bregolana, the Melloblockers enjoyed the numerous new treasures and precious boulders which lie in this stunningly beautiful forest. A true bouldering feast. And this beauty resulted in much being climbed. Such as the 3 boulders sent by Michele Caminati and Alexey Rubtsov, and the 5 topped out by Shauna Coxsey.
But there was a spark that shone just as much, if not more, than the most famous climbers; some great little magic happened on the Mellospigolo boulder. Much to everyone's amazement this beautiful arete which points skywards was climbed by Irene Bariani from Novara who came up with an absolutely inconceivable and impossible sequence to all but her. A mark of genius. Based not so much on power but on the art of climbing. True illumination, in fact. Which is what Melloblocco and climbing itself can provide and, in doing so, it brings happiness to all.
Tonight it's time for the boulder problem called... party. The program includes a video session of the best climbing films introduced by the climbers themselves, followed by music. Lots of music!
And it'll all continue tomorrow...