Next-Level Format Elevates Climbing Competition

The Psicobloc Masters event brings the thrill of climbing without a rope to the competitive stage.
© Adam Walker/Sanuk
By Kevin McAvoy

Climbing competition stepped into the spotlight in a big way last week as the 2014 Clif Bar Psicobloc Masters set up once again at Utah Olympic Park in Park City. A 50-foot overhanging wall towered over the 12-foot-deep splash pool at the facility, and many of the best climbers in the world raced each other up the challenging route in a single-elimination bracket format to determine the men's and women's winners.

In the video above, competitors Chris Sharma -- one of the organizers of the event -- and Sasha DiGiulian explain the importance of the event, as well as the strategy used to ascend the wall. Psicobloc -- also known as deep-water soloing -- involves climbing over water without a rope, resulting in dynamic moves as climbers perform at their limits. The water below may sound like a safety net, but plunging up to 50 feet in an uncontrolled fall still carries its share of risk.

2014 Clif Bar Psicobloc Masters Climbing Competition
Chris Sharma and the Psicocomp Men's competitors © Adam Walker/Sanuk
2014 Clif Bar Psicobloc Masters Climbing Competition
2014 Clif Bar Psicobloc Masters © Adam Walker/Sanuk

"Psicobloc climbing is really close to my heart," Sharma says in the video. "I’ve been really passionate about it for over ten years now." He and his organizing partners have worked hard to bring psicobloc to the competition arena, confident it will help bring more fans to the sport.

"It’s a dream of mine to see this event come to fruition," he continues. "We’re right there on the edge; climbing is right on the verge of overflowing into the mainstream."

Follow Chris and Sasha on Instagram for more of their climbing adventures. Check out the full competition bracket (with videos of each matchup!) on the Psicobloc Masters site.

Thanks to Adam Walker for the photos above.

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