Daniel getting ready for the belly flop
As many already know I spent last weekend hanging out in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. It was the first annual psicobloc and more importantly the first ever deep water soloing competition held in the USA. Chris Sharma teamed up with locals Mike Beck and company to create something none of us had ever been a part of. Standing there underneath the 55 foot wall overhanging the only 10 foot deep pool I was skeptical. Sure I had jumped off higher cliffs in my day but this was a bit different. It took the control out of it. We climb with fierce aggression in these competitions and I knew that if I wanted to do well I had to let go of all fear and doubt. Turn your brain off and just go. Don't think about the fall or the worse case scenario. Things like this sneak into your head and the next thing you know you're getting pumped, doubting your ability, and falling. For me, this competition was more taxing mental than physically. You had to be consistent and confident. That was the key. Fresh off my recent trip to South Africa I really had no expectations. I just wanted to take this opportunity to hang out with my friends and do something brand new. Experiencing yet another amazing aspect of this sport and sharing it with the people around me.
The competition format was different then your average sport climbing comp. Instead of focusing everything into one effort you had to spread out your energy and go head to head multiple times on the same route. This required an absurd amount of stamina and as I inched closer and closer to the final round my endurance, or lack there of, was winding down fast. I knew that If I had any chance to win I had to climbing quick. Every time I pulled onto the wall I became more and more in tune with the route. It felt like I was back in the comfort of my local climbing gym training hard on some sick circuit me and my mates created. I went into this mode that was somewhat mechanical. As I was climbing up the route it was almost as if my body was doing all the work, and my brain was still 3 moves below. The dyno became a formality and instead of worrying about falling there I just would turn it all off and jump. My body knew what to do and every time I did it I felt more and more comfortable. The final came down to my good bud Daniel Woods and I. Honestly, at this moment I was sure I would take 2nd place. Daniel is a phenomenal climber and really brings it when everything is on the table. He is a competitor. A very good one at that. So with my heart set on 2nd place I just went out and had fun. A huge weight was lifted and at this point it was icing on the cake. Climbing side by side with a good homie, guaranteed cash in our pockets, and being part of this unbelievably surreal moment that was psicobloc. In the end I inched out Daniel but just barely. We were both exhausted and luckily I had just a little extra in the tank. Although I won the competition I don't feel that I was the best climber there. Everyone of those athletes I was up against is one of the best rock climbers in the country. These big comps come down luck, and execution. I believe it could have been any one of us up there on that podium. I feel super grateful to the fact it was me, and I can't express the amount of fun we all had throwing ourselves at that wall! I had an absolutely amazing time and am so glad to have been a part of it. Events like this are history in the making and it is so rad to see it all coming together. Cheers to everyone who put in the effort to make this competition go down. Climbing is really heading in the right direction and I feel proud to be in the mix.
Here's a sneak peak into what went down!