The sun had just set on Utah’s Olympic Park. A wave of orange and red gave way to the night sky as spotlights beamed across the arching 55-foot wall perched atop the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool.
At the base of the wall, just above the water line, Kyra Condie gripped the starting holds of one of competitive climbing’s most daunting and unique walls.
Less than ten feet to her left, last year’s Psicobloc Masters Women’s Champ, Michaela Kiersch, settled into those same holds. The climb, a head-to-head speed race, would culminate an evening that saw Kyra top out (and leap off) the towering wall six times already, win the first tie-breaker climb in competition history and notch a 44-second record ascent.
Moments later, MC Tim Emmett made the call as Kyra topped out ahead of Kiersch, raised her hands in celebration and then leaped one final time into the pool below, the splash muted by the uproar of applause from the crowd of more than 3,000 spectators. As Kyra emerged from the water, she had officially added another milestone to her burgeoning young climbing career: 2017 Psicobloc Women’s Champion.
As the buzz from Kyra’s path to victory reverberated around the park, Mountain Hardwear was also playing host to the Gearheads and Merchants of Backcountry.com. For some time, we had been looking for the right opportunity to engage with this group, some of the most connected outdoorsmen and women in the industry. We wanted to provide them a truly unique climbing experience, as in, say, soloing a 55-foot wall over an Olympic pool typically reserved for climbing’s elite. Before the competition kicked off, we invited the Backcountry team to climb the wall, with Kyra offering tips and advice, as well as participate in a series of product roundtables. The day was capped by a presentation from deep water soloing pioneer and Mountain Hardwear athlete, Tim Emmett and a VIP viewing experience of the competition. Check out more from the Backcountry event on SNEWS.