Kerlouan/France with the Petzl Team
June 2nd 2012
We are at the meeting point but the coffee we had still has not brought me around..
The Petzl Village.. Wow, so this building is where it all happens.. God, was I to see all this?
Come on Mumin, on our way, quit lingering.. We got on the minibus prepared for us and headed on our way.. In the car I travelled with Julien Nadiras, Justine L’Hermitte, Philippe Ribiere. Destination Kerlouan!
Julien is a tough boulderer who has done several routes in Fontainebleau, he also makes climbing films as a cameraman and producer. We know him from Petzl Roc Trip videos. More info at www.barakaflims.com
Justine came as an employee at Petzl’s promotion department and in charge of the Kerlouan Festival.
Philippe, we all know him as an athlete of the Petzl team. More info at www.evolution-tour.com
The rest of the team is on their way and some will join in later. We have a long trip ahead of us, crossing the country from the south to north. After a twelve hour journey that didn’t seem like much to me but wrecked the rest of the team, we finally got to Kerlouan. It’s in northeastern France, by the sea and with a spectacular view, unbelievably beautiful, the kind of place where you’d live longer.. Oh la la everyone is here: Erwan Le Lann, Gerome Pouvreau, Guillaume Vallot and his wife Marion meet us at Erwan’s house. Dinner’s ready, serving crab tonight!
The rest of the team is on the way, to arrive the morning after. Enlisted are Tony Lamiche, his wife Isa and little daughter Mina, Arnaud Petit and Stephanie Bodet, Manu Pellisier, his wife and little daughter, Guillaume Brousy and his wife Perrine, Laurent Lafouche, Alex Bronnaz, Rahael Lanez..
If we rewind a bit, this is how the story began:
A few days ago I talked to Erwan on the phone. He heard that I was in France and called.
-Mumin what are you up to?
Climbing. I’m fine, life in France is beautiful.
-I heard you are around, we are going to Kerlouan as a team for the climbing festival, would you like to join in? What’s your plan, do you have time? The team will be there, would be good if you’d come.
Sure, I’d love to come..
-What do you need for the festival?
I only have my rock shoes and not-so-well-maintained harness..
-Make a list and e-mail me, I’ll take care of it, no problem.. For the rest of the details they will e-mail you, see you in Kerlouan.
I hung the phone in awe. Couldn’t be this easy.. Did I get something wrong? Language barrier? Something’s got to be wrong, well, kismet.. I had met Erwan a few years ago but we got to know each other better in China. I know I have angels by my side but this much goodness just felt suspicious.. Only when I got the e-mail I saw that nothing was wrong, I was invited as a team athlete. Gathered the gear I was missing before the trip, quit worrying and got myself back together in a super happy mood at the house in Kerlouan. When I arrived in the house I clearly saw that this is way different in comparison to Roc Trip.. The aim is to bring together the team and employees, spend time as a family, climbing is only an excuse to come together.. Petzl is really different, they are like a huge family. It has humble employees, not people with complexes. (I will give a very good example to this later). I knew half of the team since a long time ago from Turkey or my previous climbing trips abroad but being there was a huge privilege.. I saw that I was in a special meeting they held only in order to enjoy their time together. I couldn’t help but ask Erwan, what am I doing here?
-You are part of the team, what’s wrong with that?
I understood that my presence there was managed by the angels helping me, and the mad fiery motivation to doing things within me. I saw that they admired me most for that aspect of my character. My motivation to do something all the time fired people at and somehow made everyone happy.. I spent time till late night and tried to sleep dreaming of tomorrow’s climbing.. So lucky to be here..
June 3rd 2012
Having coffee after coffee in the morning we forced ourselves to wake up and go climbing. God, thousands of blocs by the sea with a gorgeous view.. I lost myself walking for two hours among blocs and didn’t notice it..
We start climbing well warmed up.. My first time on granite.. Let’s see.. Feels different than limestone, the friction is way better.. It is possible to hold impossible holds and tiny footholds absolutely do not slip.. These are the words of the champion, I really don’t feel the same..
Man are you crazy is that a foothold? What they call holds are micro footholds, what, am I to step on that? I think a microscope is necessary to spot the holds, a magnifying glass wouldn’t cover it..
Although with difficulty and shock I try to warm up and try to get accustomed to the rock.. We decided to try a grade 7A route but I wrecked myself and made maybe more than 30 attempts, in the end not climbing the route.. I’m wasted, what the hell?
-Ok, Mumin don’t worry it will be better tomorrow..
We are all consolidating each other.. The whole team is shaken along with me actually, the rock is incredibly aggressively sharp and some routes need at least like ten attempts to figure them out.. The holds are so tiny it’s almost impossible to see them.. I don’t want to mention the footholds at all.. And everyone says the same thing: Petzl Team 0, Kerlouan 1!
June 4th 2012
I crawled out of my bed in the morning and woke everyone up: ward, its wake up call! The weather is beautiful outside, come on the coffee is ready, lets have breakfast and go climbing. Since we all stay at Erwan’s we do everything together and have a good time. The words ‘come on everybody lets go climbing’ constantly echoe around the house..
We spent the whole day climbing like mad in various sectors and enjoying the view. The climbing is better today, we are adapted to the rock and with rocket speed running from bloc to bloc, sector to sector. Since I was happy with my climbing performance for the day in my own standards, I was dreaming of happily going back home calling it a day but the team brought me back underneath the 7A from the day before..
-Come on Mumin, time to send your project..
What? I’m done, the day is over for me. My arms are stiff, what’s with climbing, lets go home..
Under strict stares I quit whining and put on my climbing shoes. Ok, lets get this done on the first try so we can go home..
Bam! I slipped and hit the ground..
Mumin, loser does the dishes..
Result: I’m washing dishes tonight..
Ok, I will try once more!
Everyone shouts: Allé c’est fini!!!
Finaly I’m on top of the bloc, jumping around like mad, laughing, very happy..
I kept climbing super motivated, this time it was me who did not stop and moved on to another 7A, do it quickly and finish the day happy but we have a long night ahead of us. How do these guys get all the energy? Climb like beasts by day, party through the night.. the same routine the day after.. I’m getting worn..
What’s for dinner tonight?
-Deep silence and harsh gazes..
Hm.. I see, crab and seafood on the menu..
June 5th 2012
Holy God heard my prayers and it rained so we had to take a rest day, but we can’t sit still.
-Come on Mumin get up we are going off to new blocs.
After running from one bloc to the other the whole day through and by the end of the day visiting historical houses in the village we returned home soaking wet.
I suppose I could use a gore-tex jacket.. All our eyes shone like mischievous little kids..
The sea has an amazing view, the English Channel on one side, the Atlantic Ocean on the other.. I am bewildered as it is the first time I’m seeing the tide happen right before me and the whole team is mocking Gerome’s efforts to explain this to me.. Poor Gerome tried very hard.. I finally got to remember my primary school info on the concept of tides.. Le Mari in French..
Ok, stop the game, what’s for dinner?
-It’s your turn to cook, are you asking us?
Oh is that so, I didn’t know.. Then I’ll make pasta eh?
-What, pasta? You can’t cook any Turkish dishes?
I should make a shopping list. Where is the market?
Made huge preparations for the evening and 24 or something people on the same table had a feast on the same table.. a super happy delicious dinner and conversation summed to an unforgettable evening when laughter never stopped.
June 6th 2012
After fueling up with dinner we didn’t have to crawl off the bed in the morning, woke up early, had breakfast with just coffee and hit the road. All night in my dreams the boat was turning down on the sides.. Let’s see..
Erwan this boat wouldn’t sing would it?
-Don’t worry it’s fine.. Wouldn’t sink..
What if it does?
As a reward for dinner from the night before, today we sail off with Erwan. Erwan has a superb 6 meter boat. Actually years ago he was an ice climber sponsored by Petzl. Now he works at Petzl as the chief in charge of sponsorhips and festivals. He still climbs ice and rock but the boat has become his passion. By the end of the day I see why that is too. The phone doesn’t work.. He’s completely alone..
We take the boat off the harbor and I immediately confess: I have never used this before, don’t know what to do..
-Don’t worry you’ll learn. Hold this rope and pull..
A-ha, I know how to do that, pull and don’t let go..
Right after a theoretical introduction we sailed off powered by the wind and I loaded the rest of the info into my memory practically. Everything went allright and we enjoyed our way.. But with a sudden wind:
Whoo ho ho it’s capsizing.. Godd..
What where which, we are doomed, God I’m on my way to you.. Prayers..
With faith-fueled power I pulled the boat into its place! Who says the wind is stronger? A Turk is a match for the world altogether!
Boss didn’t I tell you I dreamt the boat would turn over, look we will end up like Titanic..
-Don’t worry it will be allright, see it is allright..
Why are you pale then?
-It’s the sea..
Got a pretty good lesson on using the boat and finished the rest of the day off without hazards. How do people cross the Atlantic and stuff, alone and such?
-A friend will drop by in the evening, you’ll ask him..
At dinner I met a really inspiring guy, conversed the whole night through.. Told me almost all details.. For more information on Tanguy De Lamotte; www.tanguydelamotte.com
In the afternoon we split with Erwan and meet the team, go climbing with a 60km/h wind.. God what’s with the wind?
-Welcome to Britain Mumin.. After all the warm, sunny and calm weather, when I met real Britain I saw why people had been telling me I had so much luck with the weather for days. The wind blew so hard it was difficult to walk, yet we tried to climb. Yesterday was a rest day, today we must climb! I’m very well motivated but the wind beats me.. The climbing is not bad but I think today I started considering a gore-tex jacket seriously..
June 7th 2012
Today we go climbing with the whole team in good weather. Both the routes and our performance are pretty good today. Since we couldn’t give it all in yesterdat, we climb a lot today and have a good time. Everyone has adapted to the scene, routes and each other, so we finish the day and evening off without a moment lacking laughter..
June 8th 2012
As yesterday’s climbing session went quite well we keep on climbing highly motivated altogether. Since its photo/video shoot day everyone takes their place on stage.. with the camera on we all felt urged to climb a lot, but a grade 6A got us all trapped.
-Man will you turn that camera off?
Noone managed to do three moves on the route, how come? Suppose we’d better change the bloc…
Beaten here we moved on to harder blocs and kept on climbing. What was about that route? If this is a 7C+, how could that be a 6A?
As we returned home we were all glad to see that the shots came our very well. What’s for dinner?
As the team discovered my talent in the kitchen they insisted I’d cook again, so we decided to have a barbecue party. I put Alex in charge of the grill and went into the kitchen to prepare rice and salad. My assistants were the bigshots of Petzl.. All those with high authority at the company were working with me in the kitchen, washing dishes, chopping onions.. I’m making use of the authority handed to me for the moment and giving out orders..
You, chop onions, quick there.
You do the dishes, you peel potatoes, guys speed up..
Kidding aside everyone is very humble and you can spend very good time together without worrying about status. Some of us were really high ranking within Petzl but the time was so enjoyable you wouldn’t imagine they were such big cheese.. The day was nice, a barbecue party on top of it, obviously it all ended late at night or more precisely early in the morning and we all went to sleep..
June 9th 2012
-Mumin what happened to the team? Everyone is wasted? How did they all get like this?
Early in the morning Arnoud Petit is interrogating me.
Dude I really didn’t do a thing, just repeated whatever they did.. at night..
No no something did happen..
Err.. well.. At night we played games a bit, that could be it..
I run back home right away. The team is wrecked. Erwan greets me at the doorstep..
-Mumin you’re fired, get out of my sight..
You never hired me for the team, step side, where are the kids..
We all laugh hard..
So girls, what up, you look drained..
-Mumin make coffee, we’re done.. Better rest today..
It’s a godsend that it was a rainy day… We try to bring ourselves together having coffee all day..
Having rested all day we had energy piled up for the evening and the party continued from where we had left, with a bigger crowd. Everyone who missed the fun yesterday is here..
-Mumin how about playing that game from yesterday again?
No no tonight we should behave.. I danced till dawn and tried to sleep although I had to force myself into it..
June 10th 2012
Come on, better hit the road.. Today I got on my way to Grenoble.. We wrecked ourselves the last two days so by switching drivers often we arrived at home late at night.. Can we not get up early in the morning?
I am grateful to all my friends who helped me be here, Petzl and Toros..
Thanks to Laurent Lafouche for the climbing photography..