Psicobloc contest returns to UOP
The climbing wall that towers over the new Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool at the Utah Olympic Park will be in full use Aug. 5-7, when the Psicobloc Masters Series returns to Park City for the third year in a row.
Featuring some of the top climbers in the world, the competition will showcase deep-water soloing, a style of climbing that does not use ropes or harnesses.
The wall reaches 50 feet above the pool, with an overhang of about 25 feet. The pool depth by the wall is 16.5 feet. Athletes will compete head-to-head, with the first person to reach the top advancing to the next round.
Though climbing isn’t a winter sport, Utah Olympic Park Marketing Director Sandy Chio said it’s a great summer activity for the Park to host.
"For us, with our niche in winter ice and snow sports, being able to partner with climbing organizations has opened up a lot of doors," she said. "It makes so much sense — there are a lot of skiers who are also climbers in the summer."
As the sport of climbing gains popularity, Chio said the Olympic Park is happy to help support it by hosting a spectator-friendly competition.
"The climbing world is definitely eyeing Olympic aspirations in the summer," she said. "Us being able to use the Olympic Park to showcase that is great. The Psicobloc event is one step toward bringing the sport of climbing toward anyone who can spectate."
Michael Beck, one of the co-founders of the event, said the Olympic Park is the perfect venue for the Psicobloc competition.
"[The UOP has] worked really well with us and have helped out," he said. "The venue is really spectacular and intimate. Venue is a really big thing with a competition like this. It’s very difficult to find a venue that works. But here, everything comes together — you’ve got the mountain setting under the stars and the view out into the valley. The whole thing was built as not only a training venue, but a spectator-friendly facility."
Last year, Sean McColl and Claire Buhrfeind won the men’s and women’s competitions, beating out Daniel Woods and Delaney Miller, respectively. Those four are scheduled to return in 2015 to headline the talented group of climbers competing at the Olympic Park.
Chio said the Olympic Park is expecting a big turnout for the finals on Friday night.
"Our goal is definitely to sell out," she said. "On the finals night, we hope to bring in about 3,000 people. We’ve been right around the 2,500-guest mark the last couple years."
Beck said watching the finals is a great way to spend a Friday night.
"It’s just a fun time," he said. "Everyone can come out and grab some food and a drink and watch some of the best athletes in the world go head-to-head."
Tickets for Thursday’s seeding round cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids 6-12. Friday’s finals tickets cost $25 for adults and $20 for kids 6-12. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.psicocomp.com . The wall is also open to the public through Labor Day weekend. Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for kids 7-12 and are available at the guest services desk at the UOP.
Psicobloc Competition Schedule
Aug. 5 — Qualifiers — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Aug. 6 — Seeding Round — 7 p.m.
Aug. 7 — Finals — 7:30 p.m.
The lift, called Over and Out, will pick up guests near the base of the Tombstone Express lift and drop them off near the top of Sunrise lift, allowing skiers to more easily descend into Canyons Village.