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Psicobloc Was An Electrical Climbing Experience

One of the wildest storms of the year to hit the Salt Lake City area forced an early wrap-up of the 2015 Psicobloc Masters Series.

Psicobloc was as “psycho” as it could have been, as a massive storm system brought high winds, heavy rains and lightning the Utah’s Salt Lake City. Spectators ran for cover when the “storm of the year,” as more than one journalist called it, pounded the Psicobloc arena.

Before the rain brought an unfortunate end, the evening was one to remember. Some of the top climbers went head to head as ski jumpers entertained on the opposite side of the Park City pool.

The chilly and wet weather rolled in just before finals. The 16 men and 16 women who advanced to the last round opted to push through in hopes the weather would improve. The rain, however, only worsened, which made the upper holds wet and created an unfavourable situation that led to nasty falls.

The women were able to complete their entire finals, which had Charlotte Durif from France capturing the gold and American Meagan Martin taking home second.

The final round of Psicobloc with the storm creeping in.  Photo Brendan Nicholson
The final round of Psicobloc with the storm creeping in. Photo Brendan Nicholson. For more photos visit Momentum Indoor Climbing

After the women, the men completed only one of eight rounds before lightning struck within a few kilometres.

“We had lightning strikes within a mile of us, and the wall is basically a lightning rod,” wrote Chris Sharma on the Psicobloc Facebook page. “Far too dangerous with water and a ton of spectators.”

After nearly an hour of waiting out the weather, the event organizers called off the event and the results from the first of the final rounds be the deciding scores. American Jimmy Webb, who won the first-ever Psicobloc two years ago, finished in first place. In second was Canadian Sean McColl, who wrote this on social media after the event:

“It’s too bad that the men’s finals got rained out but with the wet holds and thunder showers things were getting scary.”

Sean McColl slightly ahead of Brenden Mitchell during the finals. Photo by Brendan Nicholson
Sean McColl slightly ahead of Brendan Mitchell during the finals. Photo from Momentum Indoor Climbing.

After the event, Chris Sharma wrote the following on the Psicobloc Facebook page, “Climbing is an adventure, live events are an adventure, and Mother Nature is always going to have the final say in outdoor activities.

“We are incredibly proud and inspired by the athletes for not only climbing so well but by the spirit in which they approached this event.

“Though less than ideal, it felt like it brought out the true spirit of climbing, adventure, and camaraderie. It was really impressive to see all of the climbers, as well as everyone who came to watch, and the hardworking crew of staff and volunteers, put in such a rad effort to make this year of Psicobloc Masters Series one we will never forget. A huge thanks to everyone who participated whether as a competitor or a spectator.” For an image of the rain falling on the Psicobloc wall, see here.

Watch the 2015 Psicobloc Masters Series and check back here for full resutls: