A couple weeks ago I competed in the Psicocomp in Park City, Utah. It was incredible! I’ve never been to a more exciting competition. The competition consisted of two identical routes side by side on a 52 foot wall that stood over a 10 foot deep pool. Two climbers went at a time and the climber that got further on the route or got to the highest point the fastest advanced to the next round. The finals round began with 16 women and 16 men ready to give it their all and take some narley falls. The energy in the comp was unbelievable! Everyone was cheering and screaming while the climbers raced to the top. The men’s route was 5.14b while the women climbed a 5.13c. Due to the duel nature of the comp, finals consisted of four rounds. This means that some climbers, myself included, had to climb their route four times virtually back to back. It was a true test of power, stamina, and commitment.
Thursday was a practice day for all finalists. I felt pretty beat up from the single fall the day before, so I was definitely nervous for what the day would bring. I just kept telling myself "its just water, you'll be fine." The truth is that I had trained very hard for this competition. There was no way that I wasn't going to do everything I could to make it to the top. First try I fell on the last move. Second try I sent. When I manteled over the ledge at the top, there was a brief feeling of relief and excitement. That feeling quickly dissipated as I stood up and peered over the ledge. There was no way I was not going to jump, but it was hard to make myself do it. After about 30 seconds of mental preparation, I stepped off. This fall went much better than the first and I came up smiling and psyched. I couldn't have been more excited for the finals round the next day.
On Friday, finals began around seven o'clock. I got to the wall around 6 to begin warming up. As I scoped out the crowd, I could feel the excitement in the air. I've never been to a competition with such tangible energy! As the hour approached I grew exponentially anxious to get on the wall.
I was in the third bracket and climbed against the lovely Chelsea Rude. She dry fired off a hold in the beginning, so I could have dropped off early, but I wanted to keep going to get my feel for the route again. I topped it and quickly jumped off before I could psyche myself out. It felt good to get the comp started off with a send, but now I was cold.
I went back to the warm up area shivering and trying to stay warm for the next round. When it was time for me to go again, about 15 minutes had passed and I was still cold. I did some quick jumping jacks and then pulled onto the wall with Angie Payne. She climbed faster than me and fell very close to the top. I was still tired from the first round, so in an effort to conserve energy, I climbed just until I knew I had passed where she fell and then jumped off. I came to the surface cold and tired. I went back to the warm up area to stand underneath the space heaters provided.
I have never been so cold at a competition. Angie gave me her jacket to wear while I tried to keep warm. I didn't have much time before I had to get on the wall again. Within 10 minutes I was stepping up to the holds again, fingers numb but still psyched to climb. Meagan Martin fought hard up the route and fell very close to the finish. When I got past the point where she had fallen, I began quickly weighing my opportunity costs. I was freezing, but I had finally started to dry off. I knew that if I jumped in the water again I would be even more cold, which would not be good for the final round of climbing that I'd have to do. I opted to spend my energy going to the top and save my body heat.
After topping, I slowly down climbed the back of the wall and then made my way back to the warm up area. As I stood shaking under the space heaters, the judge came over to me and told me I had two minutes and then it was time for me to climb again. I was still pumped from the last climb, but I tried to ignore the fatigue and stay positive. I was quickly ushered over to the wall again to get on with Sasha DiGiulian. Then the final duel began! I pulled on to the start and began climbing as quickly as I could. Unfortunately, my exhaustion caught up to me. At about the thirty foot mark I reached my limit and fell. Sasha topped the route to claim first place and I took second. I was a little bummed that I didn't have it in me to send the route again, but still very excited to have made it as far as I did.
Overall, the comp was incredible! I can't wait to go to another! I think it was an excellent way to showcase climbing to both avid climbers and people unfamiliar with the sport. The format of the competition made it exciting for anyone to watch and was a great way to raise some hype for climbing in general. I look forward to many more comps like it and hope to see even bigger crowds and more competitors. Thanks to everyone who helped put the comp together! Y'all did a stellar job and I loved every bit of the comp!