They came by plane. They came by boat. They came by motorcycle ...
On October 25-30th climbers descended on the small town of Massouri in droves for the long awaited Petzl RocTrip on the island of Kalymnos.
It’s a climbers paradise, more rock than you can possibly climb, untouched lines waiting for their first ascent, and the warm crystal clear Aegean Sea beckons you after a hard day of climbing.
Early morning starts had the climbers out of bed and loaded on to boats to head out to the site of the Ultimate Route. Petzl setters had been working in the cave for 5 months finding the perfect lines to challenge the world’s best climbers. Hidden in a secluded bay, the boats anchored along side a rocky cliff as climbers traversed towards the shore, where they got their first glimpse of Sikati Cave.
From the shore it’s a crescent shaped cave that would entice hikers and climbers alike. But it's not until you hike up to the edge when your jaw drops and your muscles start to twitch when you see the cave drops another 80m, the walls are steep, with overhanging stalactites dropping from the deep caves and roof on the west end of the cave.
On the first day, the Ultimate Routes were seeping from a huge storm the week before, but climbers were able to work through the moves anyway. On the following day, the rock was dry and the sending started. Charlotte Durif (FRA) and Martina Cufar (SLO) both redpointed the women’s route (8b). The super-overhanging route goes on forever, climbing 60 meters on psychedelic tufas and surreal stalactites. The men’s route continued to keep competitors at bay with several cruxes: a bouldery lower section, a long, hard move under the main roof to reach a 6-foot stalactite and a steep headwall spotted with tufa blobs.
Long climbing days ended with an hour and a half moonlit boat ride on roller coaster seas back to the harbor where ravenous climbers filled the local restaurants. Evening highlights included slideshows by Alex Huber, Chris Sharma, Arnaud Petit and Stephanie Bodet. Aris Theodoropoulos gave a presentation of the history of climbing on Kalymnos and the newest edition of his guidebook. For a sample of the local island culture, the municipality of Kalymnos graciously organized a Greek-themed evening with traditional music, dancing, food and wine.
The day the pros were supposed to be resting, over 500 climbers participated in the Freeride Rally. Anyone with a rope, draws and a harness could try to redpoint as many routes as possible in a day. Routes were given point values depending on their difficulty. The one with the most points wins. Locals Daniel Christos and Aris Mauromatis took top prize with an impressive list of sends.
Returning to the Ultimate Route after a couple days of rest, Dani Andrada (ESP) and Chris Sharma (USA) redpointed the men’s route (8c) to rounds of applause from the crowd of spectators gathered on the edge of the cave. On the last day, Steve McClure (GB) sent the men’s route and Daila Ojeda (ESP) climbed the women’s.
Winners were presented with prize packages from Petzl and Prana. The crowd gathered for the lottery for local treasures, swag and posters. Who knew you could win a chalk bag just for having a Petzl headlamp in your pocket?
On the final night, Ultimate Route awards were presented at the Club Loca where DJ LaFouche, Said Belhaj and Guillaume Broust kept the crowds moving to the beats till the early dawn concluding yet another kick-ass Petzl RocTrip.
For more information on the Petzl RocTrips please go to www.petzl.com
—Devaki Murch, Eric Wynn