Climbers gear up for Psicobloc Masters Series | ParkRecord.com

Climbers gear up for Psicobloc Masters Series

Seeding races will be Thursday, finals on Friday

By Griffin Adams
The Park Record

Nina Williams and Sidney Trinidad climb during the 2016 Psicobloc Masters Series finals at the Utah Olympic Park last year. This year's event is scheduled to return from July 26-28.

The Psicobloc Masters Series competition is scheduled to return to Park City from July 26-28 at Utah Olympic Park.

Professional climbers from around the world will travel to the area, all hoping to reach the top of a 52-foot climbing wall with a 26-foot overhang above the 1.25 million gallon training pool at the park.

"We absolutely love hosting this event," the park's marketing manager Kole Nordmann said. "The park is the perfect venue for such a compelling climbing event."

Reaching the top is easier said than done, as not every competitor — even the professionals — is capable of doing so, Nordmann said. The pro climbers have been invited to participate in Thursday's speeding contest and Friday's finals, but the competition is also set up to allow those interested in a spot in Thursday's contest to compete in a qualifying round on Wednesday.

"Anyone can come out and try to qualify," Nordmann said. "For a fee, any climber who thinks they have what it takes can come out on Wednesday and test their mettle against the Psico wall. If they do well enough, they’ll get to come back for Thursday’s prelims and climb against some of the best in the world, and maybe even beat them."

Thursday will act as the seeding round. The random order of competition will decide who comes back for the finals on Friday. Then, it's do-or-die time, as climbers are pitted against one another until the champion is crowned.

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While the professional climbers are some of the best in their sport, the Psicobloc Masters Series provides a foreign feeling for some of those participating.

"The unique thing about Psicobloc is the fact that participants are free soloing above water," Nordmann said. "Even though all of the climbers that come to Psicobloc are world class, they may never have free soloed over water, which adds a whole new element."

Nordmann expects the Utah Olympic Park will be a popular destination at the end of this week.

In addition to hosting the Psicobloc competition, the venue will also hold the Springer Tournee. Running one national event is enough work in itself, but two can get tricky, Nordmann said.

"It takes great effort on the part of everyone involved to pull this event off," Normann said. "From planning the vendor village to planning shuttles and parking options, it all comes down to the details.

"With Springer Tournee during the same week, you have to be on top of things. That’s when we lean on our amazing team here at the park that has the knowledge and skills to pull everything off without a hitch."

During the event, DJ Juggy — the official DJ of the Utah Jazz — will provide the crowd with tunes, while the Vendor Village is expected to be open from 5 p.m. to the end of the night on both Thursday and Friday.

Vendors that will be present include Mountain Hardware, Black Diamond and Clif Bar, to name a few.

Nordmann and company also want to ensure they are prepared for anything. Two years ago, the event was greeted with thunderstorms. With rain in the forecast this week, the group has plans should an unexpected storm make its way over Utah Olympic Park.

"Since we are situated on the side of a mountain, we are well versed in dealing with random storms," Nordmann said. "If it’s a short duration storm, we will simply wait it out. If we have to cancel a day of climbing, we have built in contingency days on Saturday and Sunday if need be."

General admission tickets for Thursday's Seeding Round are $15 for adults and $10 for youth, ages 6 to 12. General admission tickets for Friday's Finals are $25 for adults and $20 for youth, ages 6 to 12. Kids ages 5 and under are free both nights.

On Friday, there is a $5 parking fee and free parking accessed via shuttle from the lower Olympic Parkway roundabout near the Park City Kimball Junction Visitor Center.