I just arrived in the States after a three week stint in South America. There were two plans layed out for this trip, the first being the 10th annual Petzl Roc Trip. I was fortunate enough to have been part of developing the Piedra Parada for the event back in March. I joined a small group from Petzl and others from Argentina to discover, bolt and clean new lines in the various rock formations that surround the Piedra. That first trip, even though not my first visit to South America, taught me a lot about myself and the unique opportunity I have to connect with communities around the world.
Petzl Roc Trip and Beyond - Jon Cardwell
The Roc Trip itself was a massive event. The attendee number reached 1300 people, and probably more from all over the world. I spent every day cruising around, happily showing friends some of the routes that I was familiar with, participating in the awesome evening festivities and Asados (argentinian BBQ's) The community was strong this year and it was a pleasure to be part of such an event. It was particularly satisfying to see our hard work pay off. Five Ten atheltes are always making a great impression (Dave Graham, Steve McClure, Gerome Pouvreau, Melissa Le Neve, Mayan Smith-Gobat etc...) Just to name a few. I climbed a few days with Dave, and it was good to catch up, and reflect on the years' travel. Dave is a good friend of mine and we have climbed in numerous locations all over the world throughout the last few years...It's awesome to catch up in recap the recent events.
Climbing in the Piedra and talking to so many people, old friends and new, made me look back and really take in 2012. I traveled back to Europe, thanks goodness! I swear its my 2nd home...if not my first. I returned to competitions, even though brief, 3 events, I enjoyed the process of preparing for and executing. It brought me back to my younger days where the years were filled with competition schedules. To my surprise I personally excelled this year, first 5th at ABS Nationals, Then 2nd at the Adidas Rock Stars in Germany, then finally 1st at the Aesthetic Pro Invitational in California.
Beyond the confines of the gym and plastic holds, I pushed myself on the rocks and seeked out personal exploration. It's been refreshing traveling on the road again after a nearly two year break where I lived in Boulder, Colorado. I started out by revisiting Rifle in the spring and early summer. I managed a few routes that I have tried in the past and this process of trying, failing then returning with eventual success never ceases to amaze me. The climbing cycle...and in the fall I began a new one by visiting the famous Red River Gorge for the first time. I spent nearly 6 weeks climbing on the beautiful sandstone walls, and thankfully we received one of the best (weather) seasons people have seen in years. Exploring the numerous cliffs, routes and landscapes far exceeded my expectations. All these elements combined, I was able to have a successful trip with over 40 climbs 5.13 and harder, including Southern Smoke Direct 5.14d which I am probably the most proud of. The Red will always be a special place to me and I look forward to returning many seasons to come. This year has had many tops, and I am glad that I was able to share many of these moments in detail with you guys, the readers and those at Five Ten and beyond. I hope everyone had a great year as well and that the next year can top this. Psyched is high and I have decided to take a quick break to visit family over the holidays. It wont last long though, and I will soon be back on the hunt, the travel and life of a climber!