Forty teams, including the winners of local Petzl RopeTrip Series, have gathered together for the bi-annual, rope work, competition and symposium. This RopeTrip will be unforgettable thanks to its fantastic location in Duisburg’s Landschaft Park. From 1901-1985 this site was a functioning ironworks that produced over 37 million tons of iron over its lifetime. Now the remains of the ironworks are being reclaimed by nature as a park. These unique ruins provide the obstacles for the challenge portion of RopeTrip. This year RopeTrip features four qualifying challenges from which the top teams will continue to the semi-finals, and then onto the final challenges. What is new for 2018 is that every team member must complete all of the individual challenges in addition to the team challenge to qualify for semi-finals.
The first qualification is a RopeTrip classic - the “Water Bucket” challenge. Challengers navigate a complicated course on rope while carrying a bucket of water. Scoring is simply a combination of speed, and the amount of water successfully moved through the course. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
From the Water Bucket challenge, contestants move to the abandoned Möllerbunkers (where coke and iron ores were stored) for a challenge we’re calling the “Coal Mine.” Testing the competitor’s hauling and precision the competitors must fill a transport unit of material, transport it via a rope system (bonus points available for ringing a bell without knocking it over), and then emptying the material into a storage bunker. The final individual challenge takes place on the Krokodile, a former crane structure and is a pure race of rope transfers. Competitors must make their way from rope-to-rope over the reclaimed storage tanks before descending.
Then the fun of the team challenge begins, and fun it is. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a game pool, especially when you’re hanging above the ground? Like a regular game, the goals are to use a pool cue to shoot the “pucks” into the pockets. Unfortunately, there is no ground to stand on, and should players shake the table enough to ring the bell hanging from it; they’ll lose points.
After a near perfect day (some intrepid individuals competed through the rain) in a fantastic setting, the teams came together for the other half of RopeTrip, the Symposium series.
This is a chance for the competitors to relax and share information. For the first night, the speakers include Dr. Med. Jutta Gabe, Specialist in Intensive and Emergency Medical Aid, Isabelle Rogowski, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Sport Sciences in Lyon, Ronald Tesk Berufsgenossenschaften, Dr. Ing. Marco Einshaus, Chris Robbins, and Max Dugal of GeoArc. These distinguished individuals are presenting Symposium classes on responding to medical emergencies, an analysis of rope access workers’ injuries and working conditions, challenges and solutions for insurance in the field of rope access, common contributing factors and causes of accidents in rope access, and a presentation on the unique challenges and situations involved in study active volcanoes.
The second day of RopeTrip saw competitors continue the qualification rounds, attending workshops and symposiums and most importantly competing in the "Climb Up Race." A favorite of every RopeTrip the "Climb Up Race" is a quintessential test of a rope access technicians speed. The competition is straightforward; the competitor must climb up a rope, ring a bell, then switch to descent mode (fix a descent rope into their descender, and remove their foot, chest, and hand ascenders) and then descend back to the ground without triggering their ASAP fall arrester
This last part is crucial. Since the beginning of Petzl RopeTrip, the competitions have been dominated by French and Russian teams, and it was no different this year. At first, it appeared that Antoine of France was slightly ahead until he triggered his backup device on the descent and in the split second it took Antoine to reset it, Dimitriy passed him for the victory.
On the Women's side, Cintia Gobo of Brazil continued her victory streak (she won the competition at Petzl RopeTrip Series Latin American Edition) and danced her way to another victory.
The final day of the Petzl RopeTrip was full of excitement. As teams finished the qualifying rounds the expert trainers from Petzl conducted workshops on haul systems and the challenges inherent in long lengths of semi-static rope. By noon the qualifyers were finished and the finalists from Canada, France, and Russia (two teams) announced.
These teams moved to the Windmill location for a full-team rescue challenge. The "victims" of varying sizes hung from different devices so that each rescuer would need to use different skills to retrieve them.
With neither team from the first Semi-Finals advancing the second Semi-Finals between RAT - CANADA and JEDI - RUSSIA into the defacto finals. Both of these skilled teams flew up the ropes, but at the end, it was the Canadians who returned all their rescuees to the ground first.
After a celebratory game of suspended pool by the finalists the event was dissambled, food served, the band played, and DJ LaFouche preparred his tracks.
Everyone at Petzl would like to thank all of our amazing competitors, guest speakers and teachers, and attendees for another amazing event. Thank you very much and see you in 2020.