It was a wild idea from the get go—one just feasible enough that we thought it could be done, but crazy enough that we wondered if it really could be. Would it attract enough competitors? Could we find enough unclimbed projects to make it work?
The concept was simple enough. Get sponsors to post cash bounties on unclimbed boulder projects. Whoever bags the FA any time in the month of November wins. We called it the New River Boulder Bounty from the beginning. The name seemed perfect.
From hour one, the psyche was ridiculous. Taylor Mcneill, Daniel Woods, Roman Yalowitz, Kensie Whitfeild and more were here for the shootout of the decade. Jimmy Webb (pictured above on an unbountied project) rode into town and nailed the Philly Rock Gyms/Pies and Pints Problem in the first half day, and over the course of the next week and a half, he reeled in five bounties for a sack of loot that, in the end, totaled $5k. The projects he sent included:
Jimmy rode off into the sunset leaving only three projects unclimbed—the hardest and/or most dangerous:
Nathaniel Coleman came to town. Taylor McNeill came back. But as the month stretched toward Thanksgiving, it began to seem as though none of the remaining rogues would be brought to justice.
Then, he sauntered into the saloon—an unlikely hero, a trad climber from tea-sipping, queen-loving England, with huevos grande enough to tackle the highball, the Organic Climbing/ASCEND Pittsburgh Project, which once sent, he named....
As the New River Boulder Bounty closed, two rogues remained unsent, their bounties unclaimed. Maybe they'll be back next year.
Sometimes the greatest ideas come from the least likely places. In this case the wildest climbing competition in America happened in the back woods of West Virginia... which also happens to have one of the best deep water soloing resources on Earth.
The New River Alliance of Climbers is proud to present Tara Kerzhner's award-winning documentary about PsicoRoc 2016, America's first DWS climbing comp on real stone, including a touching tribute to Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins, who came out of nowhere to win the women's division.