What’s being called the first, permanent deep water solo wall in the world is now open at the U.S. Whitewater Center near Charlotte, North Carolina. The new wall is part of a the U.S. National Whitewater Center’s sprawling outdoor adventure center that includes two other climbing walls, one reaching 30 feet (underneath a covered awning), and a spire topping out at 46 feet. The center is also home to numerous water sports and high-ropes courses.
The deep water solo walls, which range from 25 to 45 feet tall and are perched over a 20-foot deep pool, were built in an effort to connect with the next generation of climber. Eric Osterhus, Communications & Brand Manager for the center, told CBJ, “We recognize Deep Water Solo as a growing trend in the climbing community and feel strongly that offering it at the USNWC will continue to grow our mission of promoting healthy, active lifestyles.”
The deep water walls are open to the public now and will be showcased at the upcoming outdoor festival called, Tuckfest, which features a $15,000 prize purse. “We believe there’s a lot of opportunity for this sport to grow tremendously in the next few years, and we’re excited that the USNWC will offer the first permanent Deep Water Solo climbing complex of its kind in the world,” Osterhus said.
There have been other deep water solo competitions in the US, most notably Chris Sharma’s Psicobloc which is held at the Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. That wall, which is 50 feet tall, is not permanent and is build on-site before each event. Psicobloc has been held during the summer Outdoor Retailer show in nearby Salt Lake City, however the sprawling trade show is planning to move out of Utah in 2018 amid controversy over the state’s environmental stances.