This year climbers will be represented in the Olympics for the first time following a decade-long journey that will culminate in an event that combines lead climbing, bouldering, and speed climbing. In 2024, climbers will be honored once again, when the Paris Games feature separate speed climbing and bouldering/lead events. But there is one group of climbers that has not-yet been considered for the world stage—until now. On Thursday, April 1, the International Olympic Committee held a vote and, due to a communication error, no one showed up. Since no one voted against it, aid climbing has been added as an official event to the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
The event will take place on a 3,000-foot artificial cliff that will be erected in downtown Los Angeles. It will feature long seams, cracks of all sizes, flakes, roofs, and a few decent-sized ledges that are perfect to chill on. Teams will be provided a topo map of the route one month before the starting gun fires, which they must not lose in the interim period. Each team will begin at the bottom of the wall and climb until they reach the top. They will be expected to rappel the line to descend, but they may toss their haul bags from the summit to the sidewalk below. At the conclusion of the games, the cliff will be left to the city to serve as a sundial.
The event will be scored by a panel of judges (similar to gymnastics or diving). The goal is not just to get to the top of the wall, but to get there in the best style. Climbers can seek to earn a good score by completing multiple bodyweight-only placements in a row, confidently deploying a portaledge, pooping in a bag without incident, ripping a skyhook and taking a gnarly whipper but then going back up, nabbing a pendulum on the first big swing, hauling superfluous items like a beer keg, and climbing with a hangover. Freeing a move will result in instant disqualification, and teams will lose points for drilling bolts or peeing somewhere the rain won’t reach
The event will not be timed. Each attempt continues until the climbers reach the top of the wall or decide to bail because they don’t like the look of that next section, didn’t bring enough water, or have to get back to work tomorrow. Fixing a line to rap and camp on the ground, or grab dinner somewhere nearby, then jugging back up to a high point is allowed, however. Organizers think the event will probably run over the course of a week, maybe two, though some attempts may take up to a month if a team really wants to connect with the stone or are waiting for the heat to die down due to outstanding warrants.
In order to field the best athletes, anyone that has purchased N0. 0 copperheads during the previous two years will be invited to compete. The Olympic Committee hopes they can located at least two teams.
The sport’s governing body, a private Facebook group of wayward Supertopo members, responded to the news with a flood of comments, such as “I probably won’t watch it” and “You think they’ll put my beer gut in the ESPN Body Issue if I win?” The other 93 comments were too vulgar to print.