Since 2002, Petzl has been organizing climber gatherings at exceptional spots around the world. Every year, the Petzl RocTrip provides an opportunity for climbers to come together to share their passion in a friendly and festive environment.
The 2014 Petzl RocTrip spent 40 days and 40 nights on the road, crossing 5 countries, traveling 2000 km, setting up 10 base camps, and visiting over 30 crags and truly amazing climbing venues! The adventure started here at Baile Herculane, Romania.
How it started
Iona Georgescu, member of Alternative climbing club from Timisoara, tells us the story of how the Petzl RocTrip in eastern Europe came together:
“In 2011, I got involved in a program aiming to integrate foreign students in Lyon life and society –Jeunes Ambassadeurs. The final stage of this program is to develop a project that connects the Rhône-Alpes region in France with a region in the country of origin. For me the choice was easy. I wanted to use this opportunity and to help develop climbing in Romania through this project. My project was sharing experiences between French and Romanian climbers and organizing a climbing festival that would take place both in Romania and in France. My project was selected, I won the third prize in the project contest, and I felt very motivated to try to make it happen and not just leave it on paper. It was clear I couldn’t do it alone. I needed financial aid and partners to come on board. I knocked on various doors with little luck. When I was at the point of losing hope, François Petit, who runs the climbing gym in Lyon, put me in contact with Petzl. Finally a door at the Petzl headquarters in Crolles opened slightly. Erwan Le Lann, in charge of events and sponsoring at Petzl, had an interest in the idea but not much time. One year of phone calls followed. Erwan told me to call him in 3 months, which I did, but still no free time; then, I called him back in 2 months and so on for one year. Finally he found one week and we went together to visit the most important climbing spots in Romania. After visiting several spots, Herculane fit well into a bigger picture. The idea of organizing Petzl RocTrip in South Eastern Europe had already been in Erwan’s mind for some time, and organizing a caravan that would chain up climbing spots in this part of Europe was the way to go. It was slightly different than what I had in my mind when I first came to see Erwan, but it was so much better. With Petzl and Alternative on board, the plan started to take shape. There was little time and a lot of work to do before the climbers would arrive. Herculane was the first stage of the Petzl RocTrip.”
“We were very excited to hear that some world class climbers will come to Herculane to bolt some ultimate routes at the Vanturatoarea sector. It was Dani Andrada, Gerhard Hornhager, Mumin Carabas, together with Campe, Guillaume Vallot as Photographer, Ioana Georgescu as guide and Erwan Lelann, the RocTrip manager. It was a pleasure to spend one week with the Petzl team, to feel their passion for climbing, the optimistic way of thinking and the pure way of living. There was no stress and no worries, late mornings, hard work during the bolting and projecting a muerte. The days ended with a nice dinner, beers and late stories. The plan was to find some long endurance lines, but also some short hard ones. There was a lot of potential and we bolted from 65m long endurance test pieces, to short 45 degrees overhanging routes, and everything in between. Until this moment, only 2 routes were climbed; Rusty nail (8b+) and first part of Black Cobra (8a+/8b). The other routes remain open projects, enough for a lifetime.
It was a wonderful week with lots of bolting and climbing, good vibes, great company, and an unforgettable experience.”
“On the main menu there are about 12 climbing areas spread out in the Cerna Valley. The aesthetic sector called Cascada Venturatoarea immediately attracts the participants with numerous projects and classics galore. Petzl team members are hyped! The French squad rapidly invests in the area: Mike Fuselier and Gêrome Pouvreau love first ascents and nab Rusty Nail 8b+ and Black Cat White Cat 8a+/8b; the Swiss take action: Cedric Lachat sends FA Mrs Baba 8b/+; and Florence Pinet teams up with Nina Caprez for a girl power crew. Talking about power, Florence Pinet wins the ‘climber of the day badge’! In a great show she manages a flash ascent of Guri Guri 8b. Spectators and locals congratulate the feat with a great round of applause.
Even strong climbers sometimes become tired of overhanging routes. A day spent climbing a radically different style is also a good way to develop other muscles, to dust off long-forgotten brain cells; in other words, a rest day. When Enzo Oddo heard about the hard slab climbs in an area referred to as ‘KM9’, he grabbed a group of friends. The area, protected from the sun by a grove of tall beech trees, proves both spectacularly beautiful and covered in moss. The young Frenchman would have quickly lost hope if his older companions had not pulled out their scrub brushes and good humor. Four hours later, the small group of friends finished their “quick trip back to the 1980s” (as Gérôme Pouvreau put it) ascending two 7c (5.12d) and two 8a (5.13b) routes, including an old project with tricky climbing where, according to Gérôme, the tiny holds required anal-retentively precise technique.
One of the Petzl RocTrip’s trademarks is putting on incredible evening festivities. Local groups, live concerts, film shows by Team Petzl members, and a spectacular sound system cap off each day of climbing. ‘Roctrippers know it, and expect such a crazy pace’, says organizer Erwan Le Lann. ‘I do everything in my power to ensure that people get what they came for.’ On Saturday evening, an unbelievably powerful thunderstorm shakes the stage. The techno party led by DJ Lafouche appears to be compromised. Erwan turns towards the owner of a bar sheltered beneath the archways. In spite of the downpour, a mini rave-party gets moving in just a few minutes. The next day, the ghost of the empress intermixes with the sights and sounds still ingrained and resonating in everyone’s eyes and ears. Perhaps the bass speakers caused the Austrian royal family to turn in their grave. In any case, we’re pretty sure that Sissi cracked a smile!”