Back to Melloblocco

We arrived Friday afternoon and hiked over to the car hire booth. I hadn’t even had the chance to stutter a word of Italian before our Panda was upgraded to a Volvo C30. That never happens to me, I kept my mouth shut and knew it was going to be a good weekend.

I was in Italy with Ashleigh for the MelloBlocco bouldering festival. I have attended the festival for 4 years but this was the biggest I have ever seen it, the camping had been extended to accommodate the extra people, but still there were camper vans and tents along the road side.. sweet. In fact by the time we registered ourselves at the Centro Polifunzionale we found that the guys had already been at it for two days.

It looked like Adam Ondra was going well having already flashed a couple of the eight competition blocs, it looked more open in the womens event with no clear leader at this point. There was no time for food as the evenings entertainment got under way. A short film from Phillipe Ribiere was rudely interrupted by one of those instant storms you only get in the Alps. Phillipe is currently travelling around Europe in a pimped up van on his Evolution Tour. Sadly the rain also meant that we would not be treated to a night time boulder contest.

Also on tour, albeit coming to the end of it were Gaz Parry and James Pearson, so moving under the cover of the sports hall they pulled on their 80s lycra and presented the North Face Summit Series Road Trip. This 40 day trip consisted of climbing the 20 best 8a routes in Europe, with some coaching and lectures thrown in for good measure. Rather than concentrating on the climbing they put together an amusing account of what it was like to be stuck together for 40 days in a camper van.

The evening wasn’t finished yet.. we sat through a short video from Mauro Calibani and a preview of the new bouldering video ‘Pure’. By now it was midnight and we were bushed. It was a shame because as we were leaving Said Belhaj and the Saganass Sound System were getting ready to punch out some electronic beats.

The weather was supposed to be wet on Saturday, but I know better than to rely on an Italian weather forecast. It was a great day and the sun shone as we ambled between competition climbs. It felt busy but considering the number of people in the valley (2500 people had pre registered) it wasn’t too bad. Anyway if you want a quiet weekend of bouldering you shouldn’t choose this one!

We didn’t really hang around the comp boulders for too long, I wasn’t able to make it last year and wanted to explore some of the new areas developed around San Martino and Visido. The rough texture of the Mello bocs came as a shock to our poor finger tips and by the end of the day we were thoroughly looking forward to a pizza at Fiorellis.

Back at the camp site the party was already underway. The exhibitors village snaked around the party tent which pumped out drum and base until 4am.. learning my lesson from previous years I was well gone before that. We only had one more day and I wanted to spend that climbing, not sleeping.

Sunday was another fine day, another new area to explore.

I had a mini flapper which despite being thoroughly disinfected by Nicoletta Costi still needed some attention. It had caused such attention that I feared my finger was going to end up in plaster, so the day started with a quick trip into San Martino to purchase the most expensive roll of finger tape in the world.

Having climbed 6c on Saturday my target for the day was 7a. Unfortunately despite repeated attempts on both an aesthetic arete and an elegant female bloc in the Sasso Remenno area I didn’t manage to top out on either.

Defeated again for this year, and not even threatening to register in the final classification it’s back to a windy UK. And what do I find on my desk? An Up to Summit training plan specifically designed to get me up an 8a by the end of the summer. Thanks Dan!

By Kenny Stocker