How To Deep-Water Solo (Psicobloc) in Park City, Utah
Psicobloc (pronounced psycho-block) is a form of climbing, also known as deep-water soloing, where climbers spider around boulders over deep water (or in this case a wall) without ropes. Psicobloc means psycho-bouldering in Spanish. I agree, it is a little psycho.
At the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, there’s a 55-foot wall built over a pool for exactly this purpose. Climbers from all over the world convene here to psicobloc. Built for competition, this wall hosted the first US psicobloc competition in 2013. In subsequent years, the event has been held in the summer (obviously) as a 3-day climbing event.
Both professionals and amateurs compete, racing each other to the top of the 55-foot wall with a 26-foot overhang that drops climbers into the Park’s ski-jump training pool. The public is invited to attend this exciting event. Check the Psicobloc Masters website for 2018 dates.
Deep-water soloing has its roots in Mallorca, Spain. In the 1970s, Miquel Riera sought out better, harder climbs in his local area of Palma. He and his friends soon discovered routes along the sea cliffs that were untapped and didn’t require climbing equipment. The risk is minimal, being that water will catch your fall, so most routes are high-difficulty where climbers of all experience levels can challenge their abilities.
In the 1980s, sport climbing overshadowed DWS, but psicobloc ramped up in popularity with the release of a couple films in the early 2000s. Now it’s a spectator sport with a hefty winner’s purse at the Utah Olympic Park.
How to get there
The wall is located in the Utah Olympic Park just outside of downtown Park City.
What to consider
- The wall is only open in the summer, what with winter being so frozen.
- It’s open to the public and day passes can be purchased from at the Olympic Park.
- If you just want to spectate, consider taking a tour.
- Since your only exit is over a pool, you’ve got to be able to swim.