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Road Trip Post 6: Psicocomp and My First 5.14! - Vikki Weldon

Road Trip Post 6: Psicocomp and My First 5.14! - Vikki Weldon
Road Trip Post 6: Psicocomp and My First 5.14! - Vikki Weldon
Road Trip Post 6: Psicocomp and My First 5.14! - Vikki Weldon
Road Trip Post 6: Psicocomp and My First 5.14! - Vikki Weldon
Road Trip Post 6: Psicocomp and My First 5.14! - Vikki Weldon
Road Trip Post 6: Psicocomp and My First 5.14! - Vikki Weldon
August 12, 2013 - 

As many Five Ten athletes have already alerted the masses, there was a pretty amazing competition held in Park City, UT last week. I remember first learning of the event on Facebook a few months before. Deep water solo competition! 50 foot wall above a pool of water at the Olympic Park in Park City. How could I resist? I have fallen out of the competition scene in the last few years. After over 12 years of competition, I burnt out from the stress, the training and the injuries. I have instead chosen to focus my goals in outdoor rock climbing endeavours, and for the past 5 months my partner, Tom, and I have been on a roadtrip around the States. Yet this competition was a different breed, and I was more psyched to enter and see what this psicobloc craze was all about than to actually focus on the competition aspect.

With the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in SLC looming, Tom and I had decided to spend a few weeks in Maple Canyon. Big conglomerate cobbles and steep angles is the name of the game in Maple. I hunkered down on a route called Millennium, a hard 5.13d (8b) that runs out the steepest part of the Pipedream Cave. After two weeks of intense effort, wobblers and small successes, I finally clipped the chains, just one day before the show.

Relieved my project was wrapped up, I turned my focus to the Psicocomp. PLASTIC! Ahhhh! I haven't touched plastic since April! That, combined with this monstrous wall over just 13 feet of water made my stomach churn a bit. I started up my qualification route with no expectations, just experimenting to see how climbing 50 feet without a rope would feel like. Unfortunately I made it to the top. Which meant I had to jump. It was then that I found out I don't have the best water entry skills. A sore neck and bruised butt the next day were my rewards for qualifying to the final round!

In finals, I had two goals: To have fun, and to make it past the first round. In that order. Shaky and flash pumped, I scraped past Sierra Blair-Coyle to face Andrea Szekely in the quarter-final round. I know Andrea from back in the day when we both competed in Youth World Cups. I know that she is strong and slow. This meant a lot for strategy in a competition where the person who gets the highest the fastest wins. I knew that I would be climbing faster than Andrea, but I also knew that she would probably get quite high on the route. So I had to try and get to the top. Luckily, my strategy worked. I squeaked out a few more moves than Andrea to make it to the last bottleneck crux before pumping off.

Moving to the next round, I had less than 5 minutes to find dry shoes, a dry chalk bag and a towel. I was up against Sasha D. Pumped out of my mind, I barely squeezed into my shoes and walked up the wall, knowing there wasn't a hope in Hedes that I was going to do well in this round. I did my best, pumping off low on the volumes. 4th place! I couldn't have hoped for a better competition! I completed my goals and enjoyed watching Sasha and Delaney battling it out for first. Nice work girls! And congrats to Meagan Martin for a strong 3rd place finish. Thanks to Chris Sharma, Mike Beck and all the other organizers for such an enjoyable and futuristic competition. Can't wait for next year!


Back to Maple. Exhausted from the competition and trade show, I headed back up to the Pipedream to give a couple of efforts on Eulogy, an extension to Millennium that trends up and right to the top of the cave, adding 9 bolts and another letter grade (5.14a). I had tried the extension from an easier start (Don't Mess With Texas, 5.13c) [The Pipedream is cave of link-ups!], and although I hadn't linked the crux moves, I felt hopeful that this would be a suitable route for me to try. Having Millennium dialed after the 2-week epic, I quickly climbed up through the crux and to the junction where Eulogy starts. Pumped out of my mind (once again), I told myself to be patient and rest. Rest, rest, rest. What happened next was a dream. It was a rare occurrence when my mind and body worked together to create the climber that I always aspire to be. I climbed well; with conscience and confidence. Clipping the anchors, and letting out a whoop, I could scarcely contain my surprise and delight in the completion of my first 5.14a! A life goal accomplished!

Two very diverse and incredible experiences! What an amazing sport we enjoy. Keep up the love and the crushing out there folks. Visit my blog for more pictures and news!

Photo credit: Tom Wright

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