Nina Caprez – Petzl Roc Trip – Herculane

Words and photos by Nina Caprez, repost from arcteryx.com blog

I left my apartment in Grenoble, France for about two months and I had no idea what to expect. I traveled east to join the Petzl Roc Trip caravan headed to Romania. I don’t usually travel east to climb, but I loved the idea of discovering new countries, cultures and new climbing areas.

Together with our French friends and team members, we finally arrived in Romania and the village of Baile Herculane. One of the first things we noticed was the difference between gypsies and Romanians. We had always had this idea that all people from Romania are on the road, which is not true. But, it was so fun to see how the real Romanian-gypsies live their life by the road.

The valley of the Baile Herculane is an amazing place and a great climbing area. To start off our trip, we hiked about an hour to reach a huge cliff along side a beautiful waterfall.

I had almost forgotten about the Roc Trip vibe, because the last one I went on was about three years ago in China. There are so many climbers and everyone just wants to get out and climb. It took a bit to get used to all the people in the beginning of the trip because I had spent my whole summer almost alone in the mountains of Picos de Europa. Now, I was climbing on a cliff along with 200 others!

During the first three days of climbing I felt really weak and was struggling to get back in form. I was still feeling the effects of traveling in my legs. After such a long break from rock climbing, I was little uncomfortable. But, Roc Trip means climbing! Who cares what level you are at, it’s all about enjoying new routes with the people around you and the opportunity to travel while doing what you love.

Baile Herculane is also famous for his hot springs and since we were here, we couldn’t miss a chance to experience them. We had the chance to meet one gypsy who lives in one of the tunnels where the 50 degree hot water comes out…ha! This was not easy to watch, but at least he won’t freeze during the winter! 😉

The roads in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria are well known for being harsh on vehicles. As well as being a top climber, it’s just as important to be a world-class pilot: there are so many huge holes in the roads that you feel like you are in a video game.

Unfortunately, Gérome Pouvreau found one of the holes in the road.  Lucky he had only dented a rim and somehow with some heavy hammering the rim was repaired and we were on our way…

Romanian’s like to have a good time after climbing. The base camp was full of food, beer and souvenir stands – a whole party area. We had the chance to try all the delicious food and were impressed with the local games and concerts.

We have now crossed the border and I’m ready to discover Bulagria during the next ten days….

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