Melloblocco 2011: Day One

After yesterday's debut, Melloblocco #8 got underway in Val Masino today, Friday 6 May. More than 1300 registered climbers have already reached the valley to take part in the world's biggest climbing and bouldering meeting, but the number continues to rise by the hour and over 2500 climbers are expected for the weekend.

Melloblocco 2011: Adam OndraSome of the world's best will attend including Adam Ondra from the Czech Republic, Chris Sharma from the USA, Italians Gabriele Moroni and Mauro Calibani, Nina Caprez from Switzerland, Muriel Sarkany from Belgium and many others.

Melloblocco ready set go, or rather, let the climbing and creating begin. The eigth Melloblocco – the biggest bouldering meeting in the world – began officially last night. In truth climbers had already begun to reach Val Masino – Val di Mello on Wednesday, first from the Czech Republic, Russia, France, Spain, the USA and Great Britain. The flow of arrivals then began to increase from Italy and the rest of the world. And continues even now… Including an English climber-cyclist who flew to Bergamo last night and reached the valley directly… by bicycle!

Both Sondrio's minister for Culture & Education and the mayor of Val Masino welcomed the climbers at last night's opening ceremony, which celebrated the start with a display of lights and the word "Melloblocco" projected onto the mountain opposite the Mountain Centre. The effect was impressive, moving, magical, a true work of art. For good reason: this year the "Mello" was inaugurated with a round-table discussion entitled "Art and climbing" which included the artist Gabriella Piardi, climber-cum-artist Simone Pedeferri, videomaker Nicola Maspes, photographer Claudio Piscina and, last but not least, Pietro Porro and his Mondovisione team in charge of this year's visual and musical choreography.

Yes, because further special effects are in store during this Melloblocco edition dedicated to "art and climbing", such as the video projection onto Tarzan, one fo the most famous boulders in the valley. And then there'll also be the special and spectacular display of lights at the Climbing Park Village, the pulsating heart of the unmissable Mountain Centre garden which has now transformed into a magical climbing area for all Melloblockers.

It's the climbers themselves who have been inventing their own magic since the early hours of this morning across the thousands of boulder problems in this valley of wonders, the Val Masino. All have climbed ceaselessly, finding their own art and way ofinterpreting their love for climbing. More then 1300 registered climbers took part today but this number will continue to rise and includes the incredible climbing elf Adam Ondra who gave everyone a foretaste of his magic.

Others include true climbing legend Chris Sharma from America and Britain's Stevie Haston, a guru of all forms of climbing. Not to mention Mauro Calibani who represents the spirit of Italian bouldering, the highly talented Italians Gabriele Moroni and Michele Caminati, the extremely Siwss Nina Caprez, the Spaniard Daila Ojeda, Rock Master and World Cup winner Muriel Sarkany and many many more. Waiting for them are the thousand and one boulder problems in the valley including the still unclimbed "renewable energy" by Enel.

Of course it's party time this evening at the Melloblocco. They'll be videos and slideshows. And people will continue to climb… And they'll dance, continuing in the vein of today's most beautiful performance: the great special band concert which made all climbers dance on the meadows at Bagni di Val Masino. Yes, today was a day of Mello reggae climbing, to the beat of happiness.

Tomorrow it'll continue… and in the meantime the Melloblockers continue to reach the valley of wonders.

The Melloblocco is open to all and climbers can pre-register on the official website.

Melloblocco 2011
When: 5 – 8 May 2011
Where: Val di Mello / Val Masino (Valtellina, Sondrio) Italy
What: the world's biggest international bouldering meeting
Who: for boulderers from across the globe
What for: climb on the numerous boulders dotted across the valley floor
Organisation: Associazione Operatori Val Masino

QuelleNicholas Hobley, Foto: Klaus Dell'Orto / Melloblocco