Melloblocco vs Melloblocco on tour - Psychi sponsored athlete Federica Califano

Melloblocco is an International climbing meeting which usually takes place every year, since 2004, in Val Masino and Val di Mello, in the north of Italy. During the various editions this event has reached more than 3000 climbers and 8000 participants that came from all over the world, and the interest of the most famous professional climbers and international sponsors, guarantees every year a significant increase in participants and activities offered.

The event usually takes place during the first weekend of May and it last 4 days. Thanks to the work of Simone Pedeferri, a local climber who is always looking for some new boulder problems in the Valley, there are up to 12 new male boulders and 12 new female ones, each with a money jackpot to be divided among those who topout the problems

During the 4 days there are some judges, one for each boulder, who certifies who reaches the top and every climber has a map with the directions to reach them.

Unfortunately, this year, because of some political and organizational problems, Melloblocco did not took place in its natural environment, in fact from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 May 2018 Melloblocco, the world’s biggest bouldering and climbing meeting, went on tour: for the first time it travelled to Switzerland's Cresciano and Lugano for join the MBB Street Boulder.

Mello is an idea. Indeed, Mello experienced as an idea and a spirit. This is what motivated, and convinced, the historic Melloblocco team to accept the invitation of Lugano MBB Street Boulder of this great "traveling" Mello edition. A decision taken to allow Melloblocco to grow and evolve, and that confirms the international spirit of bouldering and once again underlines the strength and desire to continually explore new horizons. This was the idea of the new version of Melloblocco.

The first news about this event came at the end of March, when almost every Italian climber, me included,  thought that, for this year, they had to forget Melloblocco. When I heard about this idea I was skeptical. I did not understand how you could organize an international climbing meeting in Cresciano, on one hand because of the weather, considering that Cresciano is a typical winter bouldering area and because it is bathed all day in the sun and the temperature could be high during spring and summer, and on the other hand because of the location.  For the people who have never been to Melloblocco, you have to imagine a Valley, surrounded by wood and rocks, usually a really quiet place, that, during the four Melloblocco’s days, became a very chaotic place full of people and tents everywhere, crash pads, ropes, children, dogs, young, old all together to have fun.

The main street is always full of people walking to reach the various climbing sector or bars and the supermarket in the little village. Every night there are local and international guests that involve the public with images, reports, companies and then music till late night. Everything concentrated in a really small village.

So you can understand that Melloblocco is not all about climbing but also friendship, sharing, fun and more.

Cresciano is a really different climbing area. There is a small village at the bottom of the crag, a private steep road that goes up and then the climbing area. From the first time everyone understood that there was no possibility to put the tent up and considering that the meeting point for the evening events was Lugano, a city 40 km far from Cresciano, it was clear that it would have been a really different event.

For 2018 Melloblocco was joined with Lugano street boulder, in fact every climber (who pays 30 CHF for the subscription) could climb in Cresciano from Thursday to Sunday and in the city of Lugano from Saturday to Sunday.

There were 8 boulder problems for men and 8 for women in Cresciano, one in the city of Lugano and 3 on an indoor climbing wall in Lugano, each one with a cash jackpot to be divided among the climbers who succeeded in climbing at least one of them.

Considering that I have usually taken part at the street boulder in Lugano and Melloblocco in Val Masino during the past years, I decided to take part in Melloblocco on tour so I made my subscription in Lugano, I moved to Cresciano and as the first bad news I received was that I have to walk a private steep road that goes up till the climbing areas with my pad with the hot sun above me (usually during this events, like “Cresciano night session”, there is a bus that takes the climbers up the hill, but not this time!).

When I finally arrived at the boulder area I discovered that there were no judges, note that the competition time was from 10 in the morning till 6 p.m. and I was there at about 2pm. The climbing area was quite deserted, there were really few people and, after having a topout a problem, with the video to validate the ascent, I decide to go to Lugano but also there the situation was quite similar, few people and a really different atmosphere from the Melloblocco’s nights.

I tried the street boulder problems with a prize but I thought that it was extremely difficult and in fact no one did it, and then I tried the plastic problems.

At the end of this experience I can say that Melloblocco is something more than this, for the people who have never taken part it is difficult to explain but the atmosphere you breathe in Val Masino during Mello’s days is something unique that you can not reproduce by using just the same name.

I hope that Melloblocco could return to Val di Mello next year to have fun and make sure this important international climbing meeting does not end because of some silly problems.

Written by Federica Califano.

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