A Fine Wine November 9, 2010
Four months ago I trashed a ligament in my finger. Since
then I barely climbed, and the concept of mixing it with the Petzl heroes
didn’t appeal. But how could I not go, how often would I get a chance like
this? I figured I could muddle by in British style. So after 40 hours of travel
I arrived at
This trip was spread over 10 days in two venues. The first
near the town of
In El Chonta climbing trees. Photo - John Evans
Three days later we were over at the climbing area of Jilotepec, trading sweaty nights, comfy beds, mosquitoes and tarantulas for sub zero temperatures, duvet jackets and tents. We also swapped ultra complex limestone for technical conglomerate. This stuff was different to the norm, with the rock being made up of bits of rough volcanic rock of every size imaginable all mixed up and glued together. Pretty edgy in general, but with lots of chicken head style climbing and potato pulling. Temperatures were Baltic, like minus 5 degrees at night, but they had to be to even attempt to hang the holds. Most of the routes are vertical face, super tech with multiple footholds and intermediates, but the steeper stuff is there, with 40 metre routes blasting up the monstrous main wall. This was the scene of the action with Petzl highlighting a bunch of routes to try varying from 8c+ to 8a, some already climbed, some not!
Gerome about to send the 8c+ project. Photo - John Evans
The truly great thing about the Petzl rock trips is that
they are about a gathering of climbers going climbing. The whole philosophy
keeps true to the roots of why most of us started, and continue to love the
sport. There is usually a competition of sorts, but relaxed and informal and
with no losers. This year was even more relaxed with no competition at all,
just climb and enjoy. For me, perfect, my comp days are over allowing me to
compete even harder with the rock itself. Between us the Petzl team did pretty
well in sorting out the projects, with most of them getting sent. For a day I
had the hardest route in
Photo - John Evans
But Petzl rock trips are not just about the climbing, they are far bigger than that. And this year was the biggest yet, with visits to Aztec Pyramids, saunas, town visits, traditional dances, fantastic food, slide shows and presentations, all topped with the best party ever with the techno banging out to the hundreds of crazy Mexicans all dancing till really really late!
photo - john evans
Usually the party is my rock trip highlight, hard to split it from the climbing this year as that was so good, but also like a fine wine, La Fouche had upped the ante with his DJ skills, and combined with Said on percussion they absolutely knocked the socks off the crowd. If you are reading this guys – you put me in just the right spot!
A huge big up to the organisers! For me this was the best rock trip ever, but not just because it was so damn good, but because it felt like I was back in the game, my passion flooding back in and I was becoming one with the movement again. The dodgy finger had knocked my drive sideways, but maybe I needed it, a break and a refocus. It’s still dodgy, but not as dodgy as I feel about whinging so much about it and then busting out a load of hard routes! I learnt a little about the Mexican philosophy, for them its not about collecting things, because when you die you take nothing; all that counts is what you leave behind. The impressions we leave and the things we have done. Best make them good ones I guess!