Splash Down: Olympic Climber Dives Into Deep-Water Soloing

Kyra Condie is one of the most decorated climbers of all time. She’s bound for the 2021 Olympics. But until then, she’s keeping busy with deep-water soloing.

Psicobloc, more commonly known as deep-water soloing, is the practice of climbing rock routes above water. No gear, no rope — just pure strength and focus. Usually, the consequence of falling while climbing are ultimate. But with this sport, if you fall, you simply go for a swim.

In this film, deep-water soloing pioneer Tim Emmett takes on international psicobloc routes with American climber Kyra Condie. And trust us, this isn’t just casual bouldering in a scenic bay. The two athletes tackle routes as difficult as 5.13.

“From a deep-water soloist perspective, [Vietnam] is the ultimate place to be,” says Emmett. The country has more rock above water than any other country in the world. That translates to a lot of potential for deep-water soloing.

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The two are climbing Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, a scenic locale with sweeping, 360-degree views of over 3,000 limestone formations and ocean waves. “Tim Emmett helped put psicobloc climbing on the map in Vietnam in the early 2000s, and has returned again to pass the torch to Kyra Condie, an aspiring and versatile climber with deep roots in competition,” reads the film description.

The film focuses on the mentor-and-apprentice relationship between the two athletes and the true stakes of the sport. If you’ve ever been to Ha Long Bay, you know that feeling of staring out over the side of a boat to get a glimpse of those limestone towers that rise in every direction — just waiting to be climbed.

Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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