Each year Petzl organise a RocTrip where their professional climbing team meet up with locals at an area, and you if you are interested, and have a climbing festival; it's a celebration of climbing, people and culture; a chance to experience a new area, share ideas, motivation and inspiration and make new friends. Previous RocTrips have been held at Kalymnos, Greece; Jilotepec in Mexico; Millau in France, Red River Gorge in the USA, amongst others. I was lucky to attend one at Bishops's Buttermilk Boulders and it was a great few days.
This year the Petzl RocTrip will take place in the Gétû Valley (Guizhuo Province) located in southwest China from October 26 – 30. The area is a karst landscape with deep gorges, bewitching rivers and tall mountains, dotted with limestone caves, arches, walls and towers - with climbing similar to that found in Thailand. The area is home to the Miao people and the nearest big city is Guiyang - a city of three million people - which is the capital of the Guizhou province.
Petzl RocTrip Gétû Valley, China
Gavin Symonds on Miao Sword, 5a/b
© Petzl, Lafouche
At the Petzl RocTrip China 2011, participants will be offered no fewer than 250 climbing pitches spread across 15 sectors in the valley. On the menu: a cocktail of extreme routes (up to 9a for the best climbers) accompanied by loads of moderate routes for everyone all served up on delicious limestone walls.
To date, the 250 pitches that have been opened at Getu include all facets, reliefs, styles and difficulties of sport climbing including:
There is something for everyone, all within a maximum 40-minute walk from the village.
This Autumn, fans of multi-pitch routes will feel particularly spoiled especially routes at the CMDI Wall with moderate like Blue Spirit (200m, 5c max, 5a mandatory) or Wood Cutter (200m, 6a+ max, 5C+ mandatory). And for those looking for something a bit more difficult there are masterpieces like Lost In Translation (150m, 8a max, by Stéphanie Bodet and Arnaud Petit), Corazon de Ensueno (200 m, 8b+ max by Dani Andrada), La Voie du Milieu (300 m, 8b+ max by Daniel Dulac), and Nihao Wokepa (150 m, 8a max by Toni Arbones and Marcos Costa).
Getu Valley and its inhabitants are already preparing their welcome for the climbers from around the world and this time of friendship surrounding their passion for climbing. Of course, the Petzl team will be present and will be joined by the elite of the Asian climbing community. The trip is a total change of scenery that will take you halfway around the world and through the arch at the end of the road. It will also be a unique opportunity to meet the Miao villagers, proud farmers who have been cultivating their rice fields for millennia.
Find out more at www.petzl.com
The Gétû Valley area is a protected area because of its unique beauty, ecology, geology and cultural history but at the same time the provincial government of Guizhou is keen to promote tourism, including climbing tourism.
The area has hosted climbing competitions in the past but in 2007 French Mountain guide Olivier Balma who was setting up an alpine school for future Chinese guides visited the Gétû Valley area and was astonished at the climbing potential. Olivier told his friend Erwan Le Lann of Petzl about the area; Erwan was scouting new spots for the upcoming Petzl RocTrip China. (There is a more comprehensive history here)
Erwan visited the area and the location was then set for this years Petzl RocTrip
Over the last year Petzl invited an international team of climbers to establish new routes in the area, including UK based climbers Gavin Symonds and Andy Long. The route setters were supported by students from the CMDI (Chinese Mountain Development Institute) and supervised by Olivier Balma and Whan, a park ranger.So far there are nearly 250 routes at 15 different sectors from 4+ to 8+, both single and multi-pitch routes.
© Laurent DE LA FOUCHARDIERE/Petzl
View of the CMDI Wall and Pussa Yan
UKC News, Aug 2011
© Petzl/G. Vallot.
One of the outsanding features of the area is the Chuanshang Cave or Arch. "Aie, aie, aie! It's inhuman! This cave is brutal! It's like five times the size of Santa Lynia!" exclaimed the Spanish climber and Team Petzl member Dani Andrada. Andrada has established Corazon de Ensueno (200 m, 8b+ max), Daniel Dulac a 300m 8b+ called La Voie du Milieu, Stéphanie Bodet and Arnaud Petit the 150m Lost In Translation (8a) but not all is desperate, Blue Spirit is 200m multi-pitch 5!
The Chuanschang arch comes into its own in the autumn when the rays of the rising sun shine across the river.
UKC News, Aug 2011
© Petzl/Erwann Le Lann
Petzl climbers attending include: Daila Ojeda, Daniel Andrada, Steve McClure, Stephanie Bodet, Arnaud Petit, Gerome Pouvreau, Loic Gaidioz, Michael Fuselier, Lynn Hill, Nina Caprez, Melissa Leneve, Anthony Lamiche, Daniel Dulac, Chris Sharma, Dave Graham, Said Belhaj, Gerhard Horager, Florence Pinet, Vaibhav Metha, Enzo Oddo, Sean Villanueva, Joe Kinder, and Sasha Digiulian.
One of the caves © Laurent DE LA FOUCHARDIERE/Petzl
For the past 10 years, the Petzl RocTrips have been bringing together pro and amateur climbers in amazing locations. Far from the competitive side of the sport, this event allows everyone to enjoy climbing routes developed especially for the occasion. If you want to go yourself here are some useful links:
And you can register here
A Petzl Gétû Valley Slide Show
We will have more reports about the Petzl RocTrip Gétû Valley and Mick Ryan, UKC/UKH's Senior Editor will be on the trip and reporting back.
© UKC News, Aug 2011
Learn more about the sponsors at: www.petzl.com
A big thank you to Frank Bennett and everyone at Lyon Equipment in the UK.