"It touched my heart" is what writer and climber added, that man who managed to recount through his beautiful books the difficulties of his climbs and that terrible climbing accident. But why, we asked, why did this strike you, perhaps you saw something we failed to see?
Fotostrecke: International Paraclimbing Cup 2012
"No, nothing more than you" he replied "all of us are humans, we have to be impressed by these athletes. The important thing though is to be struck for the right reasons, not out of compassion, but for the sports values, for what they manage to achieve."
Pritchard is of course a bundle of wisdom. You have to agree with him. And at Arco's Climbing Stadium we saw some true athletes. Once again we understood that we'll never manage to caress and grip holds like the blind do. And never, ever, will we have the same determination and technique as these athletes.
In short, we witnessed a true climbing competition. And like all competitions there were some moments that struck a particular cord. Like the great head-to-head between the strong Spaniard Urko Carmona and Germany's Günther Grausam – World Champion and vice World Champion in the Amputee Leg Pd category respectively – which was reminiscent of the same emotions we felt last year, during their duel at Arco's World Championship.
In this year's Duel another German, Thomas Meier, had his say in the matter, too. Another fantastic athlete was Russia's Vladimir Netsvetaev, ex speed World Champion dating back to 1993 who has now put himself to the test once again in this International Paraclimbing Cup. And of course there was the immense achievement of Sebastian Richter who left his wheelchair behind to climb ever upwards, up the great Climbing Stadium wall.
In the end the victories went to Urko Carmona (cat. AL) from Spain; Silvia Parente (cat. B1), Matteo Stefani (cat. B1), Martina Pellandra (cat. B2), Simone Salvagnin (cat. B2), Silvia Giacobbo Dal Pra (cat. PD) from Italy, Andras Szijarto (cat. PD) from Hungary and Sebastian Richter (cat. PD special) from Germany.
But all ascents were immense undertakings, all victories in their own right. Of physical and mental strength as well as passion. In the words of Paul Pritchard "I believe we've all got this great inner strength, but not everyone knows how to dig it out and use it." We're certain though that the athletes competing here at Arco today in this International Paraclimbing Cup know how to use it, and how!
The Arco Rock Master Festival (from 25 August – 2 September) will continue with the Arco Rock Legends award's ceremony, the IFSC Speed World Cup and on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 September the great Rock Master Lead and Boulder events.
Info, results and gallery on www.rockmasterfestival.com