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San Vito Lo Capo Climbing Festival 2012

Submitted by admin on 2012-11-01

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Photo by: Nicola Noè

The annual San Vito Lo Capo Climbing Festival was held on October 10 – 14. This international sporting event attracts hundreds of athletes from all over Europe. San Vito Lo Capo is renowned for its beautiful scenery, and is appropriately located between two nature reserves namely “Monte Cofano” and “Zingaro Nature Reserve.”

The great walls of Monte Cofano and Mount Monaco have always been a great attraction to adventure seeking climbers. They also offer hundreds climbing routes which cater for all levels of difficulty, from easy slabs which are best suited for beginners to steep wall featuring multiple caves for the professional climbers.

This year marks the fourth edition of the San Vito Lo Capo Climbing festival and this year opened up new horizons to new activities such as trail running, mountain biking and kayaking. In addition to the new sports on hand, the festival also included a film festival where the latest mountain and adventure films were on show. Famous rock climber and guest of honor at the festival, Adam Ondra, also presented his new film to the audiences.

During this five day festival, there were several categories for rock climbers to compete in. Firstly there was the regular Open and Top Marathon race, and then also a Race of Rock for children, the Rock Beginners which is a medium level route designed for beginners, and a Baby Rock course.

Film Festival

The film festival is aimed at providing participants and spectators with some cultural background within rock climbing and adventure sports in general. In 2009, saw Marek Holecek, a renowned Himalayan alpinist capture the audience with his video clips. In 2010, Alan Formanek offered his selection of breath taking mountaineering films. This year’s festival again included the best selection of mountaineering, outdoor and adventure films by Alan Formanek, which were scheduled over the five nights of the festival. The films shown were a perfect match to the activities planned for the festival and included top films of rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, and kayaking. All foreign language films had subtitles added so that they could be enjoyed by all. On Saturday night, the fourth day of the event, guest climbing legend Adam Ondra presented his new film to the crowd. On the final day of the San Vito Lo Capo Climbing Festival the audience was entertained by the screening of the Rock Reel 2011 films to end the festival off.

San Vito Lo Capo Festival Highlights

The first day of the San Vito Lo Capo Climbing Festival kicked off with the official opening ceremony, which was followed by an array of activities including a workshop on outdoor sports tourism and the opening of the registration desk for all participants to register for their events. The day ended off with the opening of the film festival by Alan Formanek and the screening of adventure films by Michele Radici.

Day two started off with the introduction of the outdoor activities followed by a forum on outdoor sport tourism in San Vito Lo Capo. The highlight of the day was the Black Diamond Lab Test, this was the first of the climbing events in which participants were ascending the walls on El Bahira crag at night. The evening ended with the screening of “Talking with my ears – Robert Peroni and the land of men” and the screening of “the Extraordinary Story” by Vibram.

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Photo by: Nicola Noè

The following day of the San Vito Lo Capo Climbing Festival started off with the Deep Water Soloing (DWS), this climbing event took place on the Cala Firriato cliffs which had a sheer drop to the sea, and saw some spectacular dives which is quite typical of this discipline. This was followed by a few freestyle shows by trial biker Thomas Oehler, and a trail running slideshow with Francesco Caroni. Next up was the Black Diamond Trail Night, this was the first trails running event of the festival and consisted of a short uphill route of about 6 km is distance, which took about 35 minutes from shore to summit. The trails route was old mute track that has been re-established and follows the western side of Monte Monaco reaching to its summit. The third day ended off with the El Bahira party which gave the 700 plus participants time to let loose and enjoy the great food and music on offer.

The fourth day of the festival started with heavy rains in the first hours of the Open and Top Marathon’s qualifying round which was the main climbing event of the festival. Climbers had to rush to the Salinella crags in hope that they would be able to climb. Despite the gloomy conditions, many participants opted to climb the set out routes, while others deemed it impossible in the rainy conditions. The format of this event worked on a first come, first serve basis, therefore participants reaching the routes early were able to climb more routes, whereas the late comers were greeted by muddy leftovers. Participants were also in a scramble to get their gear, shoes and ropes rid of any mud between the various routes. Finally, after a rather rough morning, the sun came out, drying the walls and allowing most of the other participants to get back to the climbing routes.

Next up was the first of the mountain biking events. San Vito Lo Capo is a great mountain biking destination, it has many steep dirt roads with breath taking views. Following the mountain biking race was the sea kayaking race which took place between the gulfs of Cofano and Castellamare, which offered the perfect setting for kayaking. This long stretch of coast was full of coves and creeks making it an ideal location for exploring.

The highlight of the evening included a special guest appearance from Adam Ondra showcasing his new film, this was followed with some live music by Evelyn Kryger to round up day four.

The final day of the San Vito Lo Capo Festival started off with the final round of the Top Marathon sport climbing competition on the walls of Parco Ceriolo, in Custonaci, which is a small town next to San Vito Lo Capo. This was followed by the final trail run on the Zingaro Eco trail, which is about 16 km long, and is well up kept by the forest rangers. Up next was the Monte Cofano Excursion for the non-competitive bikers which involved a mellow tour of San Vito Mountains. The final kayaking event got underway shortly after, which was a guided excursion to the Santa Margherita Gulf. In the afternoon after the day’s activities, the prize giving ceremony and raffle competition kicked off, where participants from all disciplines were rewarded for the efforts. After the prize giving ceremony was the screening of the Reel Rock 2011 outdoor movies which ended off the festivities at the San Vito Lo Capo Festival 2012.

A special mention must also go out to Czech champion, Adam Ondra, who managed to send the first 9a in Sicily on the last day of the festival. A few days prior to the event Adam Ondra and Berni Rivadossi had discovered and bolted a new route up through the cave at Parco Cerriolo.

Word spread about Adam’s attempts and so he had a crowd of people surrounding the location, these also included participants that had just finished the Top Marathon.

Adams first two attempts ended in vein due to the difficult crux at the halfway point. A slight wind pick up and the clouds rolled in, Adam knew he would get another chance at this ascend as he was scheduled to leave for Norway the following morning, so he gave it one last attempt, managing to send it to the top!

Below is a video of Adam Ondra sending it in Sicily


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