Soar or swim xi3ngx

Image: Matt Schirf

Towering 55 feet above the glistening pool at the Utah Olympic Park, the Psicobloc (deep water soloing) Masters Competition climbing wall is a menacing sight for even the most accomplished climber. But that doesn’t stop the world’s best rock jocks from making a frenetic annual bid to be the fastest to the top. 

Climbers compete in a head-to-head format—first one to span the wall successfully advances to the next round. To win, a climber must summit four times, often with only a couple of minutes between heats. No ropes allowed.

Last summer, the second year the event was held, Sean McColl and Claire Buhrfeind proved the nimblest up the wall (which, at the top third, juts out over the pool 25 feet at an almost 45-degree angle), narrowly edging out Daniel Woods and Delaney Miller, respectively, for the $30,000 prize purse. The climbers clawed their way to the top (or free-fell into the frigid pool) in front of more than 5,000 fans during the two-day event.

Think you have the chutzpah to take on the Psicobloc? The wall goes up in June and is open to the public all summer long.  

Psicobloc Masters, Utah Olympic Park, 3419 Olympic Parkway; August 5−7; psicocomp.com or utaholympiclegacy.com.

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