Intense free climbing at the Psicobloc Open Series

Part American Ninja Warrior, part extreme free climbing, the Psicobloc Open Series is an awe-inspiring test of body and mind. Returning to Montréal for a second edition, from August 24 to 25, 2019, Psicobloc will again wow audience members with feats of athleticism that are, as the name implies, totally insane, and with a greatly expanded roster of lively, family-friendly activities.

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A different kind of waterfall

Psicobloc, which can trace its roots to 1970s Mallorca, takes its name from the Catalan words for “psychotic” and “bouldering,” and rightly so. The sport pits two competitors against each other who, in a masterful display of speed, agility and endurance, scale a nearly 17-metre inverse wall overhanging a diving pool at top speed without ropes, harnesses, climbing equipment or any protective gear. The losing climber’s effort is often rewarded with an (always entertaining) approximately 60 km/h plunge into the pool. This year, some 400 athletes will compete in men’s and women’s as well as junior events for their share of the $30,000 purse.

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Fun bells and wet whistles

The Psicobloc Open Series will again be held at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s picturesque and popular Aquatic Complex on Île Sainte-Hélène, which boasts an international calibre competition pool, a diving pool and a gradual-slope recreational pool for the young’uns. And it’s not just the climbers who get all the watery fun: there are free swim times on the Main Wall open to everyone, and the brave-hearted will be permitted to climb the entire wall to the top. There are also organized water balloon and water gun battles, a slackline over water (and in the park), a Kid Zone pool and more. And when it’s time to dry off, just head to the Sunbathing and Family area to chill out, or help yourself to free yoga classes (mats on loan for free) or amazing eats from one of Montréal’s famous food trucks.

What’s new under the sun

In addition to all the aforementioned, the Psicobloc Open Series has ramped up its entertainment game even further with the addition of a whole slate of new activities. Need a new do? Get a $20 haircut from Brent Harasimovitch (voted the best hairdresser in town three years running), $10 of which will go to a cancer research non-profit. There are also new yoga morning classes for athletes, a Main Wall 20-foot Dyno Competition, select times for kids-only Auxiliary Wall bouldering every day, a Kids Zone inflatable splash park, and both kids and adult scavenger hunts. There are tons of things to be won all weekend with $70,000 worth of prizes being awarded to attendees, so be sure to get a ticket. Also great? Kids six and under get in for free.

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Prepare yourself for a fab time

You won’t need to bring much, but there are a few key items you’ll need to have for maximum good times: a bathing suit, sunglasses, sunscreen and a towel. Attendees will be able to climb on the big wall and on the smaller ones as well, so if you have climbing shoes, bring them; if you don’t have them, no worries: the event will be loaning out climbing shoes for free all weekend. For all other information, including athlete registration and competition info, visit the Psicobloc Open Series site.

Jamie O’Meara

Jamie O’Meara, blogger

Jamie O'Meara is Editor-in-Chief at C2 Montréal and the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

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