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Rock Master. The oldest climbing competition in the world

Rock Master came to life thanks to the desire to create an event capable of becoming a legend in the eyes of all climbers: it had to become a fixed date in their calendars and an image intrinsically linked to the city itself.  A true brand therefore which would forever unite climbing with Arco. After 22 Rock Masters without a single break, the event has exceeded all expectations.

Arco Rock Master

Arco Rock Master. Photo AGF Benardinatti

Right from the outset in 1987 the competition proved to be a great success. For the first time ever in the history of climbing competitions a real Climbing Stadium was created: a tribune for the crowd, offices for the press, platforms for photographers and television cameramen. An enormous crowd rushed and gathered at the foot of the Rupe del Castello. This rock face, the symbol of Arco, hosted the the competition routes and never before had it been so beautiful or the centre of so much attention.

The following year, in 1988, the Rock Master anticipated things as always and moved to a great artificial wall, created specifically for the occasion in the very same area at the foot of Monte Colodri where to this day the competition is still held. It was one of the first ever artificial walls and without a doubt one of the most impressive. Unsurprisingly it immediately became a symbol: the Arco Climbing Stadium became a “magic competition wall” for climbers throughout the world and it certainly contributed in rendering the competition a legend in its own right.

As early as 1988 the Rock Master competition wall was record breaking: 25 meters high a 10 meters overhanging, with a sector dedicated specifically to Speed climbing. In the following years the wall was renovated on various occasions until the year 2000 when the Arco Town Council invested just over half a million Euro to create the futuristic current wall, on which even today some of the hardest and most spectacular routes are still begin set.
The Rock Master competition formula found its place in history, too, and fully responded to the idea of creating an event which represented a true sport climbing laboratory. Apart from the particular two round formula – on-sight and afterwork – the Speed discipline was introduced in 1988. Every year this competition is held on the same route and this decision proved to be almost 20 years ahead of its time, since the current international rules now reflect this same choice. In 2000 the Difficulty Duel was introduced and this event has, year in year out,managed to prove its spectacularity and appeal for both the fans and the media. The Bouldering competition with its afterwork K.O. formula has proven to be a spectacular, exciting moment as well and is now a main competition within the entire event.

The Rock Junior has become an event fixed in everyone’s calendar as well, preceding the Master for the Champions every month of June since the year 2000. This event is dedicated to youngsters up to 14 years of age and it combines top competition moments such as the Under 14 Cup with fun and games aimed at discovering climbing such as the Kid’s Rock and above all the Family Rock. More than 500 youngsters competed in 2008, from 20 different countries. This project fits perfectly with the spirit of promoting climbing which has always been a priority for Arco. After just a few years this aim was achieved for the Rock Junior, and even more so for the Rock Master which, after more than two decades, is undoubtedly an absolute success.