Petzl was proud to support the Psicocomp deep water soloing competition at the Park City Olympic Park training pool, in Utah, the first event of its kind in the United States. 

Diptych of the Psicocomp wall before and after dark
Taking the plunge at Psicocomp [left] and Dave Graham going footloose as he enters the overhang.

During the 2013 Outdoor Retailer industry trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah, organizers Kevin Bradburn, Mike Beck, Mike Call, and Petzl athlete Chris Sharma, along with a host of others, put together one of the biggest spectacles in the history of competition climbing. "Chris was a driving force behind this event," said Call, a filmmaker and the event's Media Director. "His vision for making it happen was unstoppable"

The event was a big success, drawing as many as 3,000 spectators (the numbers aren't final yet), thanks in no small part to the unique format: competitors climbed high into the air with nothing but the water below to stop their wild falls. Many of the strongest climbers in the U.S. turned up to contend in the "duel" style comp for a combined $20,000 prize purse.

"From seeing the first World Cup at Snowbird in '88, to course setting national-level events, to filming all kinds of historic and inspiring climbing moments, this may be one of the most watershed moments I've ever been a part of," said Call.
 

Routesetter on the lift  Dave Graham soaked but psyched after falling into the pool  Chris Sharma misses the big dyno
[Left to right] Dani Andrada and Miguel Riera setting, Dave Graham soaked/psyched, Chris Sharma misses the dyno. 

For the event, wall maker Walltopia constructed a 55-foot tall wave-shaped structure over the edge of the Utah Olympic Park's 750,000-gallon freestyle aerial training pool, a unique facility designed to let ski jumpers practice their flying maneuvers over a forgiving landing. The towering wall, painted with swirling blue lines, was a spectacular sight against the high-altitude sunset. After dark, it was illuminated by large spot lights and dotted with colorfully glowing handholds with embedded LEDs. 

The athletes climbed two at a time, head-to-head in elimination heats. Whoever climbed higher or held on longer advanced to the next round. As climbers were eliminated, some had to climb the same long, pumpy route several times in quick succession. Dani Andrada and Miguel Riera (who coined the term "psiciobloc" for deep water soloing) set the comp routes with a crane lift. The men's final route was estimated to be as hard as 5.14b.
 

Sasha DiGiulian, on her way to victory, watching her competitor take the plunge.
Sasha DiGiulian hanging tough as her competitor prepares for landing. 

 
Only one male (Sharma, who organized and competed) and two females (Petzl climber Sasha DiGiulian and Delaney Miller) topped out the wall during the course of the comp. DiGiulian went on to win the women's division, while Sharma later fell, and was eliminated, in a head-to-head with Matty Hong. Jimmy Webb, a strong boulderer from the Southeast, won the overall men's title.

"It was inspiring to see our athletes really going for it high above the water," said Petzl America Marketing Director John Evans. "It was a groundbreaking event with a great vibe, and we are happy to have been a part of it."

 

Top finishers at the Psicocomp:

WOMEN
1. Sasha DiGiulian
2. Delaney Miller
3. Meagan Martin
 

MEN
1. Jimmy Webb
2. Daniel Woods
3. Matty Hong

 

 Psicocomp photo gallery on Flickr:

 
 

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