In a few hours we are sending off the French team. They have been here almost two weeks and for them its time to head home. Today is officially the last day of the Petzl Roc trip but our small crew of Americans are staying for another week. So far the RocTrip has blown my expectations. I can only imagine the mass amount of hard work and organization that went into making this event possible. China is far more foreign and distant that I could have ever imagined, from bamboo boats and houses, daily rice barbeques with meat and vegetables you have never seen before and a language that is harder comprehend than any route here. You have a slight feeling of living in the past, with the bare essentials and yet its hard to forget that the Getu Valley has been transformed by the arrival of the climbers.
And the climbing. It's bizarre, unlike anything I've seen before but its amazing, world class. The great arch is a natural wonder full of perfectly sculpted limestone features. Huge car sized limestone huecos, stalactites and pockets, crimps and slopers cover these walls. It's everything you need for climbing and the size alone dwarfs any average climbing destination. The arch alone which is just one sector could potentially be home to more climbing than any other single crag in the world. I have been focused mainly on a smaller sector inside the arch that's loaded with hard routes from 7a-9a. Gabri Moroni recently pulled off the first ascent of Coup D'Bamboo 9a on his last day. The route was bolted by Michael Fuselier and attempted by the entire elite Petzl team. There is also a 8c+ connection into the route which I have been psyched on.
I am blown away by the shear magnitude of hard climbing and distant culture but can't help feel a little down at the departure of the French. The Petzl team here is strong and everyone works well together. This has always been important to me while traveling. It's like having a family away from home. Still, we are here though and the Americans are holding strong. Five Ten's Ethan Pringle, Kevin Newell, Colette McInerney, Beau Kahler, Sean Villaneauvea, Dave Graham, Mayan Smith-Gobat, and myself along with good friends Emily Harrington, Joe Kinder and a few others are staying to continue navigating and climbing the vast maze of limestone towers in Getu. We have a few projects on the way and the next week should prove to be exciting.
The Petzl RocTrip was a great success for all the climbers. The community is strong and I couldn't be more proud to be part of such an event. Here is a short list of the climbing achievements of many of the athletes during the trip.