Chris Sharma

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June 5–8, bouldering’s World Cup returns to the U.S. for the first time in two decades, at the Teva Mountain Games, in Vail, Colorado. And Chris Sharma, who’s been living in Spain of late, comes with it. The 27-year-old Californian is one of the world’s strongest technical climbers but has lately favored travel over competition.

OUTSIDE: Why compete when you get paid to climb for fun?

SHARMA: Usually climbing’s something we do by ourselves up in the mountains, so competing is a way to share it with an audience.

And this World Cup?
There hasn’t been a World Cup in the U.S. for over 20 years. It’s going to be a big deal.

Why now?
In the last ten years there have been a lot of strong Americans breaking onto the scene. It’ll be a cool opportunity for us to compete on an international level.

But do Americans care about climbing as a spectator sport?
Climbing in general is kind of a hard thing for the non-climber to grasp. It’s really subtle. But we’re bringing climbing to a mainstream audience.

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