Bangalore’s climbing community headed to Ramanagara to put in as many climbs as they could in a stipulated time, between single pitch sport routes and multi-pitches. It was a Bangalore Climbing Initiatives’ (BCI) event.

Some years ago, Mohit Oberoi, one of the icons of rock climbing in India, apparently observed in ‘serious jest’ that the Bangalore Climbers run inside the moment the sun comes out. Whether that alleged observation had any kernel of truth to it or not, we, the current generation of Bangalore Climbers put some demons to sleep this weekend, including the one about our ability to climb in summer heat!

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Image © Rahul Thomas Photography

On the weekend of 9-10 April, 24 climbers (including two from Hyderabad, one from Trivandrum, and one from Pondicherry), ventured out in groups of two and three over the weekend to put in as many climbs as we could in stipulated time, around Ramanagara, between single pitch sport routes and multi-pitches.

This is April, when the summer is at its peak, and Bangalore has seen some record temperatures. We called this the Ramanagara Romp (the summer edition, with obvious ambitions of one more in winter, and two per year). We prepared in earnest, and we gave up a lot of skin and time for it.

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By April 10th, Sunday noon, when the sun- and sweat-drenched climbers collected back to the Ramgad hotel (our temporary Romp HQ) for lunch and closing ceremony of Romp in room 210, we had collectively put in close to 280 pitches of climbing (including about 140 plus leads), and about 20,000 feet of technical climbing in under 18 hours! The grades we covered ranged from 5.7s through 5.11s.

There were four areas that we covered, Senapathy, Gowda’s farm, Gethna Area, and Achalu area.

We didn’t really push ourselves much, as this was the first edition, and we wanted to get a sense of how everyone would fare. We still had probably another 100 climbs worth of energy left, collectively. We were just a wee bit tired. We had prepared for it, conditioned ourselves for climbing in the heat, and it showed well.

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This was a Bangalore Climbing Initiatives’ (BCI) event. Gokul G led this event, and was the able Romp Master, who ensured that the event went off without an incident. He was assisted in this by Satish and myself to some extent. Aron Zingman created some home made stick clips for those who wanted to avoid dangerouus runouts to the first bolts.

Some of the objectives behind the Romp included:

Mentorship: Instead of folks deciding their team members, the BCI assigned team members to ensure that less experienced folks were paired up with experienced folks to get the most out of the partnership. Atleast two of the lesser experienced members commented on much additional skills they had gained in such a short time, in the run up to the Romp.

Documentation: The idea was also to collect more complete information about different routes that exist around Ramanagara.

Additionally, the idea of a quasi-competition helped us push our own skills, endurance and ability to condition ourselves for climbing in the heat.

Also, this event helped us promote Bangalore as destination for climbing, in addition to Badami and Hampi. There were many a surprised comment on how much climbing Bangalore has in such close proximity to it.

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Networking: The Romp allowed many new partnerships to be forged, and allowed 24 folks to bond over two evenings and two days of climbing. In addition, there were another half a dozen folks who couldn’t make it for the Romp due to conflict in dates, but also benefitted from pre-Romp climbing in small groups, and exploring new areas.

Folks & teams that participated in the Summer edition of 2016 Ramanagara Romp:

– Gokul G & Srivats Vats
– Alok Tater & Abhijith Sriramareddy
– Chethan SP & Skye
– Benjamin Ochner & Gowri Varanashi
– Shreyas Krishna & Kowshik Narayanaswamy
– Jackie Stenson & Sachin Deshmukh
– Aron Zingman & Vikas Naik
– Suma Rao & Robert Bair
– Satish Venkatachaliah, Devender Patiyal & Krishnan Ananth
– Rahul K Thomas, Satnam Singh & Poonam Mulchandani
– Sohan & Susanne Wangert

Images © Bangalore Climbing Initiatives/ Rahul Thomas Photography

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