BSO 2019: A crazy weekend!

By Alexi Hachey-Brunet, October 2, 2019

On September 21st and 22nd, Bloc Shop Chabanel hosted the third edition of the Bloc Shop Open, a local competition that is now attracting the best international athletes. What makes this event one of the most anticipated in North America in the climbing scene?

Photo by Nico Charron


Of course, an event of this magnitude is not organized overnight. For this third edition, the entire Bloc Shop team has been mobilized for several months to ensure the event’s success. From sponsorships to creating a custom beer for the event, hosting a competition like this is not an easy task.

One fundamental aspect of preparation is the routesetting. Creating boulders that will challenge athletes and provide a good show for spectators is at the heart of the event’s success. This year, our  team was accompanied by French routesetter Romain Cabessut and Manuel Wiegel, from Germany. The team worked with new arrivals of Blue Pills holds and Dimension volumes engineered to create inventive moves that would make the BSO show. For the routesetters, setting for such a high caliber is pure pleasure: “You can create a series of movements at your limit, and it is rare for a routesetter to have this opportunity! “. The difficulty is to create boulders complex enough that the competitors do not all succeed, but that the boulders represent a challenge big enough to give a good show. For Romain, the idea is to open a good variety of different styles: “We know athletes. After, it is impossible to predict everything. I would say it’s a mix between a 70% that is calculated and a 30% that is left to chance.”


Here we go! The event starts on Saturday morning with the qualifying round for the Pro category. Here, athletes must complete the most boulders during a “scramble” format to access the semifinals. These are reserved only for the top 20 qualifiers. Red Bull was on site to distribute drinks during the day and Scarpa had its display to make different models of climbing shoes avaiblable for everyone. It was also on this day that the BSO beer from Camp de Base was unveiled: a special Pale Ale made for the occasion.

The semi-finals were open to the spectators and they delivered a great show as the athletes fought for one of six final places in their respective categories. On a special note, we were treated to an amazing performance by Yoshiyuki Ogata, who managed to complete the 4 boulders of the round in just 5 tries!

Photo by Nico Charron

Saturday could not end without the the traditional Open Case, a 1 vs 1 break competition where participants compete to become “King of the Hill” and win up to $800. It was finally Madtrack from Funky Steps in Sherbrooke who won the competition after several duels, all very impressive!


Sunday was the highlight of the BSO, with the Citizen competition and the evening finals. Starting at 9:00 am, 200 participants assaulted the 50 new boulders that had been created specifically for the event, while another 200 were going at it in the afternoon. The goal of the round was simple: climb the most boulders, from 1 to 50, over a period of three hours. It was therefore necessary for everyone to manage their efforts to be able to complete their best score.

On Site was also there with its outdoor climbing wall used during the Citizen round. The North Face was in the venue as well with its photobooth competition, offering two mythical Nuptse coats to the winners. Scarpa set Instagram on fire with its social network contest, offering a free pair of climbing shoes to the winner! Dimension Volumes entertained the crowd with its “no-hand” contest where participants had to complete a volume traverse only using their lower body parts. People went crazy for this one!

The table was set for the finals! We expected a lot of people. And I mean, a lot…

Photo by Nico Charron

The tickets for the final round had actually sold out in a few minutes online. Doctor Step was back in action for a third year in a row as the MC, and Funky Falz again took the DJ spot. The energy of the crowd was already palpable even before the first athletes jumped on the mats. Here’s the recap of the final round:

Beyond climbing, which was spectacular, what aspect made an impression on your during this year’s edition of the BSO? Kaito Watanabe, who placed 2nd, presented it this way: “This competition is not just like the others, it was so fun! The energy of the crowd and the animation of Dr. Step, we do not find that anywhere else! “. Petra Klinger also highlighted the atmosphere of the competition: “The crowd is so amazing, we see that they are people who really love climbing. Usually, the crowd doesn’t react to each movement as much. Here, the crowd is at your feet and it feeds you the energy to give a show! “. When I asked her what could possibly be improved in the years to come, she was eager to answer me: “Don’t change too much, please! “.

We will try Petra 😊

So, see you there next year?