Bloqueando Bouldering Competition – Challcupuncu, Bolivia 2008

By Daniel Aramayo ,

Photos by Juan Gabriel Estellano

Photos by Juan Gabriel Estellano

On July 19 and 20, we celebrated the second edition of “Bloqueando”, a bouldering event. It's more of a gathering of participants rather than a competition with mostly Bolivian's but also some French, English, German and Mexican climbers who measured their skills and strengths over the weekend on some sweet volcanic boulders.

PreparationSince May, 2007 we had been looking for a good place for this event. After driving and exploring many miles in the Bolivian territory, we reached Challcupuncu, located 30 kilometers from Curahuara de Carangas. This place had the necessary conditions for bouldering but also offered beauty and peace, at slightly more than 4,000 meters above sea level, in the midst of the impressive Bolivian Altiplano and very close to Sajama National Park.

As in every big dream, we encountered some difficulties which, added to the lack of available time for the organizers, who all had work commitments. We were left without the vital hours needed for organizing this event, considering the proximity of the date chosen for the event, the distance of the place and the lack of facilities to carry out a big ado, left it hanging to a thin string.

Photos by Juan Gabriel Estellano

The west face of Huyana Potosi (6088 meters). One of many classic and difficult climbs in Bolivia.

We had two choices: the easy one, moving the date forward, or doing it, in spite of the short time and scarce money. The Club started moving and we managed to get Tigo Telecommunications and Red Bull sponsorship, thanks to whom we could go ahead, and had only to wait for the participants.

THE EVENT For the group of organizers that got there a day before at 9:00 AM, there were no participants in sight. Apparently they had a mishap with the bus on the road and we had no communication with La Paz to find out what was happening. Finally at 10:00 AM we heard the noise of a bus in the distance. The participants arrived after 4 hours, all willing and eager to give their best effort to solve the problems suggested.

The music started, the climbers filled their chalk bags, put on their shoes and got ready to solve the 20 problems proposed by the organizers. One by one, they were all sent leaving only injured fingers and exhausted climbers. It took the participants almost 5 hours to solve the problems, from a 6a–7a.

Photos by Juan Gabriel Estellano

Photos by Juan Gabriel Estellano

At the end of the day, we all met, tired but happy, for some tea and cookies, and to comment on the problems. We started to relax and share experiences and anecdotes. By 8:00 PM, we saw the light of a small reflector in the distance, slightly illuminating a rock. No one understood what was happening, and a few minutes later, the organizers announced the nocturnal event, a 6a night boulder which became a 6c due to the lack of light.

The idea of the organizers was not only to propose problems with a more complex level, but also to wake up the climbers and make them discover new ways to perform on the rocks. For this reason, the climbers had to use a lot of initiative to solve such a problem, that was easy enough in broad daylight.

Photos by Juan Gabriel Estellano

Once the “secret” of the night event was spread around, the organizers still had an Ace under their sleeves. The participants, under the scarce light conditions, had to solve a Dynamic in the same wall. This was presented as another challenge to the climbers. Who very enthusiastically tried to solve it several times.

Climbing at night with such a large group of people and endless problems left many participants overwhelmed by Vertigio Club's endeavor.

As if it was not already enough, after some moments of “free time”, dinner was ready. This was not a normal camp dinner, many were surprised with a sausage and meat barbecue that broke all the schemes.

Sajama (6542 meters) is the highest mountain in Bolivia and is located about 50 km from this bouldering area.

To end with a “golden brooch” one of our greatest days, we started the projection of pictures and movies from last years event. It did not seem we were in the middle of nowhere at 4000 meters, but the very cold night with a full moon, became warm and the party unbelievable.

The only thing left to say is that the 2008 Bloqueando was an astounding success.

THANK YOU Daniel Aramayo

This event would not have been posible without the collaboration of: Matías Gallardo (Tiru), Juan Gabriel Estellano (Juanga), Silvana Lara (Tia), Ariel Conitzer, Juan Carlos Ledezma (Chochan), Ivana Parchuc, Mai Suzuki (Chinita),, TIGO and RED BULL.

Photos by Juan Gabriel Estellano

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