Last weekend, the North Face’s Chile brand put on Latin America’s biggest—and loudest, and rad-est, and rowdiest—bouldering competition. The event is called “Master de Boulder,” and from March 24 to 25, it showcased some of the world’s top climbing talent in the Chilean capital of Santiago. Big-name competitors included Alex Honnold, Emily Harrington, Alex Megos (Germany), Cedar Wright, Valentina Aguado (Argentina), and Daniel Woods. But in the end, what made the competition stand out was its atmosphere: glowing Santiago Sunsets; wickedly supportive spectators; and the backdrop of the Andes Mountains. Taking first place for the women was Argentina’s Valentina Aguado. For men, it was Alex Megos. The whole event ended fiesta-style, with a party in Casa Boulder, a local bouldering gym. Photo: Ronny Escobar (Chile) stares up at his first problem of the finals. He didn't podium, but placed fourth in the 2016 edition of Master of Boulder.
Before the competition began, everyone was given a sneak-peek at the problems. Here, competitors study the final (and hardest) route of the night.
A moment before falling, Lucas Gaona (Chile) swipes at the top hold in the first route of the finals. Competitors were given four minutes to attempt each problem, during which they were allowed to fall and re-try as many times as they were able to. As long as their feet were off the ground by the time the buzzer sounded, a final attempt at the route was fair game.
After wrestling with this problem for nearly the duration of his four-minute allowance, Daniel Woods finally makes it to the top of this volume-only route. Here, he lets out a whoop after reaching the top.
Alejandra Contreras Pérez pumps up the crowd before taking on an intermediate route in the finals. She completed the route within her time limit, and ultimately took fourth place overall in the women's competition.
Emily Harrington dances between holds on the women's third route of the finals. Here, she swings over the wall's lip to reach the problem's top hold.
Lucas Gaona thanks the crowd after failing to tackle the last problem of the finals.
Alex Honnold watches the finals. "Before the competition, there was an old lady walking by who just started asking me questions in Spanish," he said. "In the end, she was just wondering what was going on here, so I explained the sport and why we were climbing."
Felipe Camargo (Brazil) navigates his way over a protrusion during the finals' last route, which was comprised solely of volumes.
Daniel Woods grapples with the competition's toughest problem.
Emily Harrington begins her first move in the women's final (and most difficult) problem of the night. She placed third overall.