"Drops fall from the scattered clouds. It's raining onto the burnt tamarisk…" And (at least for now) it's raining at Melloblocco. As forecast, the 10th Melloblocco got off to a wet start. But last night, during the opening ceremony which celebrated the first 10 years of this event, no one seemed to notice. Regardless of the rain over 300 Melloblockers had already arrived in Val Masino. And the usual registration ritual had begun in earnest: Mello (and its T-shirt) are a religion, yes, it really does seem as if some simply can't do without.
And it's also for this reason that this year there are 10 days filled to the brim with events: every day holds a new surprise in store. Such as the first one, last night after the opening ceremony, namely that unexpected launch of Chinese lanterns. The sky filled with lights which slowly disappeared out of sight while the meadow was packed with people dancing, improvising to the (outstanding) Kreole Gang – New Orleans Street Band. The atmosphere last night was great… one of tangible, unbound happiness.
Boulder surprises – the boulder problems have been covered. This is just one of the numerous warnings to all climbers: Simone Pedeferri (the route setter and inventor of the Mello problems) announced that the 7 competition problems had been covered. No need to worry therefore, it'll be possible to climb even in the rain. And as soon as it stops raining, the rock dries off very quickly indeed, meaning that you'll be able to climb almost immediately.
Melloblocco today – Marzio Nardi and the climbing scene. Today's program includes two events which discuss climbing and its history. The protagonist is Marzio Nardi, the climber from Turin who with his creativity and his initiatives has played an important role shaping the last 15 years of climbing in Italy. The first appointment is at 18:00, at bar Kundaluna at San Martino (Val Masino) with the book presentation "Marzio Nardi is dead" introduced by the author Elena Corriero which recounts Nardi's life story, the climbers he met and the last 25 years of climbing's evolution, from crags, to bouldering and competitions.
The second appointment is "Gravel", a play narrated by Nardi himself which through words, images, videos and music explores his climbing experiences and the last 15 years of rock climbing. All of this takes place this evening at 21:00, in the Mello theatre tent. The seats are obviously crash pads – don't forget to bring yours – for this special, unmissable bouldering session.
Melloblocco book. Last night the Melloblocco book was officially presented at the Filorera Centre. This volume retraces, since the start in 2004, the entire journey of an event which has succeeded in finding its own, unique direction. A book full of colours, photos (many), words and emotions that recollect a past shared together. It's hard not to smile when you realise how the children during those early days have become today's 20-year-old prime players.
While the youngsters who took part in the early meetings are now here with their own children. And one cannot help noticing that every year more and more climbers take part in Melloblocco, that there are more and more things to do which perfectly integrate into the greater whole. In short, it seems as if Melloblocco and the Valley are a sort of catalyst for initiatives, meetings and also boundless creativity and climbing.
Mountain guides, climbing, they valley. This year the Lombardy Mountain Guides – organisers of the first 3 editions – offer free "clinics" to increase awareness about the valley's immense climbing potential. This initiative, perhaps unique in its genre, demonstrates the many facets of Melloblocco and the desire to work together for the benefit of climbing and the Valley.
10° MELLOBLOCCO 26 aprile – 5 maggio 2013 Val Masino
When: 26 April – 5 May 2013
Where: Val di Mello / Val Masino (Valtellina, Sondrio, Italy)
What: the world's biggest bouldering meeting
Who: for all those who love bouldering, from across the globe
What for: climb the numerous boulders and valley rock faces
Organisation: Associazione Operatori Val Masino
Melloblocco is open to all: info, program, registration on the official site: http://www.melloblocco.it