BD employee Kolin Powick attends the UIAA Safety Commission in Italy—and goes climbing
Black Diamond’s Director of Quality, Kolin Powick attended the annual UIAA Safety Commission Conference in Longarone, Italy—and managed to squeeze in a few days of climbing on the side. Below is his report and photos from the "work" week.
This year's UIAA Safety Commission Conference, where we discuss standards and testing for climbing gear, was in Longarone, Italy, at the foot of the Dolomites. I brought my laptop, some destroyed climbing gear to be used as props during the conference, a studies on cams in passive mode and inward force on carabiner gates, and, most importantly, my ropegun-wife Ellen to haul me up a few routes.
It was a typical engineering nerd type conference—but about climbing gear, which in reality is pretty cool We talked about stuff like rope standards, carabiner testing, potential belay device standards, accidents, etc.
The meetings were fine and dandy, but the saving grace was the climbing in Italy before the meetings, in the evenings, and after the meetings. We clipped bolts at few different crags, including Longarone (in the blazing sun), Cortina and a really nice cliff that Ellen literally stumbled across during a hike while i was at the conference.
We did our first via feratta near Agordo and were pleasantly surprised with how fun it was. Contantly moving because there is no belays, covering tons of ground in a beautiful setting with incredible views. It was awesome.
And we asked a few of the boys from the conference if we could only do one classic Dolomites route, what would it be. They said the Yellow Edge on Cime Picola—first done by Comici in 1933. They said it was super classic with all the features of a true Dolomites climb. We figured "no problem". There were sections that were loose, sections that were polished, sections that were runout. Crappy gear, no gear, rusty iron pitons that were decades old. There was good weather, cloudy weather, being lost on the descent, and rapping into the clouds of single iron pitons. The full Dolomites experience.