2014 MEC Canadian Bouldering Championships

After two weeks of break from school including four great climbing days in Red Rocks Las Vegas my spring break has unfortunately come to an end. The long drive home from Vegas has given me the time to reflect on the past few weeks. Last weekend I was in Ottawa for the Canadian Open Bouldering Championships. Going into the competition I made sure I set no expectations for outcomes other than to just be in the moment and have fun. Although I had consistently placed top three at local competitions and I won the Western Canadian competition just a few weeks before, I knew there were many incredibly strong ladies that on any given day could come out on top; so I tried to think of the competition as just another training day.

Saturday morning was the qualifying round. I walked into isolation with a smile on my face ready to crush some boulders. I had a good three hours before it was my turn so I tried to keep myself stoked by helping my teammates who were climbing before me with their warm-up. After what seemed like an eternity, it was my turn to climb. I sat down in the on-deck chair and cranked my pre comp jam Lose Yourself by Eminem, thinking to myself just go out there and have fun, you have trained hard for this, you are prepared.

Creds: Aidas Odonelis

 

I got problems one and two on my first try, giving me a good eight-minute rest before problem three. I turned around only to face my nemesis, a vertical wall with few, far apart holds. I managed to get to the second hold, a giant feature. I breathed for a brief moment then I attempted to press over to the bonus hold, realizing I would have to find a way to get my foot up really high or do a one hand jump to reach it. I think we can all guess how that worked out….not very well. After not obtaining the bonus hold on route three, I was not a happy camper. So I decided to let all my anger out on problem number four. Problem four consisted of an awkward push into a corner then a sideways jump to two holds on the roof before a few more holds to the finish jug. I managed to get this problem on my first try by just grabbing the last hold with two fingers. Maybe I should get angry more often, haha.

After my attempts on the five boulders were complete, I ended up in 8th place qualifying in the top twenty for the semi final round Sunday. I knew I had given it my all on Saturday, topping four out of the five possible boulders, which I was extremely happy with. But I knew I would have to climb even better in Semis to move up to the top six to qualify for the final round.

Unfortunately semis did not go as well as qualifiers on Saturday. I was not able to top any of the boulders, falling numerous times on the last move of problems one and three. To make finals, the females needed at least one top and two bonuses to advance. I had four bonuses and no tops, so sadly my semis climbs were my last for this year’s MEC Canadian Bouldering Championships.

The Alberta Girls Representing!

As much as I was a bit disappointed with my result, I am really proud of how far I have come this year. I ended up placing 12th at the competition and 5th overall in the national ranking (top 3 local+regional+national). Thinking back to last year when I couldn’t even make finals at local competitions to where I am now feels incredible. My first Nationals experience really made me realize how important it is to embrace the journey, every single moment, the good and the bad. When things don’t work out it’s not the end of the world. After all, there is always another competition and another route to climb.

As for what is next on the agenda, I have Youth Lead Regionals in a week and a half in Coquitlam followed by Youth Lead Nationals in Montreal during the May long weekend then the IFSC Bouldering World Cup in Hamilton.

 

 

 

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Projecting in Bishop

A few weeks ago I made a return trip to Bishop. I’ve been there a bunch and having visited briefly last November I was eager to return.


Dave on Saigon – Photo Max Moore

I returned to try a small list of problems which I made on my list. I only strayed from my list once and kept things strictly prioritized. I didn’t have many sends obviously, but that wasn’t important. I really only wanted to climb Stained Glass V10 or Thunderbird V11. If I didn’t get those getting any one climb from the rest of my list would make me satisfied.

I went with my friend Eric. He was excited for a climbing trip and I managed to convince him to come along with me. He climbed really well – unfazed and solidly. He climbed a new personal best difficulty wise and was just getting in gear when we were leaving. It was really fun to support him when I was resting.


Eric


Max is psyched


Liberty

We also met up with a bunch of friends who would be down in the area or come down to climb with us. Max, Liberty, Seely, and Moher and his family. It was cool to have a big friendly crew of excited people. I also ran into CWP, Alex Brunel and family, and met a bunch of other new cool people.

I didn’t climb a lot of problems because I was totally focussed on my two projects. On rest days or in between problems or warm ups I did manage to get some sends. At the beginning of the trip I flashed both Flyboy Sit V8 and Solitaire V8. I had an epic topout on Flyboy having barely grabbed all the holds up top. My flash of Solitaire was better. Solitaire, if you haven’t been to it, is an amazing problem. I suggest every V8 climber head over to the other side of the road and do it – it’s perfect and it’s the best V8 in the Buttermilks.

In between bleeding tips I managed to climb Water Hazard V10 and Saigon V6. Water Hazard was a great experience climbing together on it with Max. Eric and Lib were also in the cave trying their problems so it was a great environment that afternoon.

Later in the trip I climbed Saigon with Max and then watched Eric climb it a couple days later. This climb was so much fun. I did it on my second try and enjoyed every minute of it. It symbolized a lot for me: I’ve been coming to Bishop since maybe 2007 and at that time I was about a V7 climber. At that time, and up until only recently I’ve been pretty intimidated by the Buttermilks. The boulders are so big and uncompromising. I’ve got to be bold and climb with boldness to have success there. The movements are subtle on very sharp small holds and skin maintenance is an important factor. For me, it is the most important factor.


Eric before he did Saigon

The same day we did Saigon we tried Evilution V10 too. I’ve never considered topping it out because I don’t want to hurt myself, so I was only interested in going to the lip then dropping like Sharma. I had tried it for a couple minutes in 2012 and I hurt my shoulder on the first move. This year I tried a couple times before falling going for the lip. At this point some guys with some bad attitudes came around so we decided to call it a day. I didn’t think I’d get another run at it because a) I was still pretty intimidated by it and I would get a little anxious thinking about trying it again and b) I didn’t think we’d get enough crash pads together to pad it well enough another day.


Melting snow in the Buttermilks

Thankfully it snowed and drove everyone down away from the buttermilks. With a perseverant attitude I dragged Eric back up to the cold snowy buttermilks and encountered a group of cool climbers who threw down pads so I could give it a try. I did it first try, fully committed, not scared, and not hesitant. I climbed it perfectly and I felt strong. It was a great day. It was nice climbing with a true group of dedicated mature boulderers that day. I just can’t relate to the motivation / attitude of the new generation of young boulderers. I guess I’m getting older.

Most other days were spent supporting my friends Matthew and Eric and trying my two main projects: Thunderbird V11 and Stained Glass V10. I tried Stained Glass on the first day and managed to get up to the last dyno move. It injures the finger skin at the same spot as Thunderbird so I stayed away from it and focussed on Thunderbird. I did however try stained glass again at the end of the trip and the last move is still impossible for me. I just don’t understand how to generate the jump as I’m barely hanging on to the terrible handholds and the feet are even worse. Maybe one day. V10 – haha. For me it will be one of the hardest problems I’ve ever done, right up at the top of the list.

At the absolute top of the list would be Thunderbird. A three move V11, Thunderbird should be absolutely no problem for me but it couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve tried it at least over 70 times since 2010. The funny thing is that I’ve never stuck the second move, the crux dyno.

One day, the snowy day this trip, I managed to finally stick the dyno and hold it. I was so excited I fell on the next move (you can’t practice this move from the ground so I’d never tried it). I was very excited that I stuck the dyno!! Ecstatic. I stuck the dyno 7 times in a row that day but fell on the next move every time! Eventually the rock cut through my skin and I couldn’t try any more for the trip. I was heart broken but still happy with the improvement and it was enough to keep my spirits up. One day, perhaps, I’ll complete that problem.

Projecting hard at your level is very emotional and exhaustive thing for me. I don’t get to climb often, and when I do I want to make the most of it. What I like about bouldering is doing HARD moves that I can barely do. My top physical challenge. The hard part is when I find this physical challenge in a problem that I have a lot of difficulty with and then it becomes a project. The mental energy involved with staying motivated, being a little anxious to finish with a time limit (I have no local bouldering), and managing resting / skin / external factors becomes really tough. I can see why some people never prefer to project at their limit because the commitment is deep.

Bouldering at the Buttermilks is such a unique feeling for me. There are no other boulders I respect more than the eggs up on the hill. The thing about the Buttermilks is that the landings aren’t bad or anything. They’re not dangerous and you can highball quite safely. For me it’s more that the boulders are committing, and you have to focus. I’m loving it there lately and learning a lot when I climb there still, even at 32 years old.

Unfortunately it looks like this might be my last big climbing trip for quite some time. Maybe I’ll get to sneak away somewhere in the fall, but who knows. That’s six months from now…

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Day Trips

Driving down to Joe’s Valley has to be one of the most satisfying things I can think of. The drive down from Salt Lake to Joe’s takes about 2 hours, but it really depends on how quickly you drive. Since I’ve started climbing 3.5 years ago, I’ve been to Joe’s only a handful of times, and each time I try and make the trip worthwhile. On my most recent trip to Joe’s I decided to do homework on each problem that I had my sight set on. I watched and re-watched multiple videos of the same climb. I tried to visualize the moves in my head and sometimes I would even imagine myself standing on top of the boulder.

This trip had a certain positive ambiance to it, only because my birthday was coming up and I was feeling good and the weather was perfect. Our first climb we got on was Fingerhut (v10). I decided not to warm up because the short hike to the boulder felt good enough. I hadn’t tried Fingerhut since the last time, which was about 2.5 years ago and back then I could not even do the first move let alone get my butt off the pad. However on my first attempt I nearly managed to top the boulder out but fell short of the juggy lip. On my third go I was on top of the boulder and I couldn’t be happier. Afterwards we drove to Left Fork to try Kill by Numbers, a classic v5, I managed to flash the boulder and off we went to work on Nerve Extension (v10).

Nerve Extension felt hard to me because of the endurance required to finish out the boulder, the moves consist of easy climbing up until the throw to the top out jug. I fell matching the jug multiple times and decided to work on something else. We hiked to Dunkin Donuts (v10), but it might be softer, and I managed to flash the boulder. I realized watching all those videos really did payoff in the end. My psych was high because it was only 2 pm and I had managed to send 2 v10′s already. I decided I should head back down canyon and try Nerve Extension again, I managed to execute the moves effortlessly and was hanging on the top out jugs after my first go. Then it was on to Hydrogenated Oil (v11). I managed to stick the mono move and thought I might have flashed the boulder but fast forward an hour or so and still I was at the bottom looking up. However on my last attempt of the day before we headed back to Salt Lake I managed to use up whatever energy I had left and stuck the jug to a nice finish. At the end of the day I managed to send 3 v10′s (and 1 flash) and a v11 as well. This trip really helped in maintaining my psych but it also made me value time and efficiency when climbing. Onward to Bishop in a few weeks.

You can check out the videos of each climb on my facebook page.

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Journeying Upwards

The competition season has been busy in Alberta. With a competition almost every weekend, it is evident it is getting closer and closer to the height of competition season. Which means Regionals and Nationals are right around the corner!

The past month has been quite the whirlwind, between training, competitions and final exams and I have finally found some time to share my latest blog post, which is exciting…. I have so much to talk about. For this post I want to mainly focus on two important competitions that just recently took place. Bouldering provincials in Calgary and my two favorite lead competitions in Edmonton this past weekend.

 

On my way to sending open female final #2-Creds: Sara Frangos

Going into bouldering provincials this year I was pretty psyched. After surprising myself and making open finals at every bouldering competition this season I was ready to give it my all. I really used to dislike bouldering competitions, last year i kept getting shut down at every competition. Maybe it was self doubt or just getting too frustrated at the seemingly impossible problems but either way, something changed this year and I think I have a pretty good idea of what that is. Ever since I first started competing I have looked up to local climbers such as Stacey and Vikki Weldon and many of the other strong Calgary adult bouldering team. When I got the chance to compete with many of them last year I felt intimidated, how will I ever be as good as them I asked myself. But after the first bouldering comp this year I realized I was not that far from the top adult competitors. Their dedication and drive to train and win the competitions only made me stronger and more motivated to try and catch up. So when bouldering provincials arrived this year, I knew I would just go out, have fun, give it my all and see what happens. It ended up feeling like I climbed the best I ever had in finals at that competition, despite the jump start on problem #3. Haha at least I know what I need to work on :)

Check out this video from Bouldering Provincial Finals!

http://vimeo.com/87305417

After bouldering provincials we had a week of rest then it was off to Edmonton for the two rope competitions at Vertically Inclined and Rock Jungle Fitness. These are two of my favorite rope competitions of the season, I’m not exactly sure why but I think it is just the fun vibe both comps give off and all the super motivated competitors that attend them. For the first time in a while (at a lead comp) I felt like I climbed confidently and I just had fun. After all, like my coach Sonnie Trotter says, “if ya screw up there is always another competition!” That is what I kept in mind last weekend and what I will keep in mind as I journey upwards towards the National Championships.

Quali #1 RJF- Creds: Pam Eveleigh

As for my busy upcoming schedule I have two rope competitions this coming weekend in Banff and at our home gym in Canmore. Then I’m off to Edmonton the next weekend for Tour De Bloc open bouldering Regionals, should be a blast!

Team Trotter (Canmore Climbing Team) representing Five Ten- Creds:Monika Helbig

My Results

2nd Place 16-17 Female Bouldering Provincials and Overall Provincially

2nd Place Open Female Bouldering Provincials and Overall Provincially

1st Place 16-17 Female Verticaly Inclined

1st Place 16-17 Female Rock Jungle Fitness

2nd Place so far for Lead open Female

View Full Results Here http://albertaclimbing.org/category/results/

 

 

 

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Dreaming of Summer

Screen shot from the video by Chris Schulte. My yellow Flashed shirt.

The last few days in freezing snowy Boulder have made me pine for the days of summer when we hiked way up big hills to get out of the heat. Now it’s the opposite, it’s nearly as cold as Banff, and we can’t really even leave the house.

In better news, it's warming up a bit in the next few days. Still below freezing though.

It’s definitely too cold to climb. With all that in mind, I present to you a write-up and video from this summer when I surprised myself by find a hard problem within my reach.

Here’s the link: Full Chaos: The Boulder on Top of the World – The Mountain Blog

Another great joy this summer was discovering that my new Temple carried as well as my Ninja. The Temple was my go-to pad for all the high alpine hiking I did this summer, and I hiked quite a lot. I found a good system for fitting all my stuff in that made it feel fairly light. Also, the rolled shape helped with the sections of tree and talus navigation in Rocky Mountain National Park. You can’t see the pad in this screen shot, because it’s covering the huge hole that you also can’t see that I was trying my best not to fall into.

The View

In the video you’ll also notice my spotters wearing raincoats (it wasn’t raining) and waving their hands erratically every now and then. What you can’t see are the clouds of mosquitos they are attempting to wave away. I may miss summer, but I definitely don’t miss those mosquitos!!!

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Hueco and Wheel Life

This winter break from school I again made the journey southwest to Texas and Hueco Tanks.  This is the fifth time that Sharkbait, the Fit and I have made this drive and each year it feels a little more grueling.  During the drive I found myself questioning everything from my actual interest in rock climbing, to Sharkbait’s safety in the feral desert.  As my sister pointed out when I reported some of these distorted lines of reasoning, ‘it is a very long time to be by yourself doing something incredibly boring’, fact.  Like every year before, all it took was arriving in Hueco to reset my psych.  It was another amazing climbing trip with some of the best people I know.

The Hueco Home

This winter I parked my Honda Fit (home) on my friends’ the Strongs land called Wagon Wheel.  The Strongs own a lovely chunk of desert just outside the park and also operate the guiding concession Wagon Wheel Co-opt, which offers tours in the backcountry of Hueco.  Staying here is a blast, there is always a crew of pretty rad folk around to fill the days with.  There is also a great dog pack which Sharkbait is pretty into.

The view from The Wheel

Shark with his homies (he’s the cute one, no not the one on the left…)

The Dream Proj

Two years ago I spent a full season in Hueco.  By the end I was part of a three girl band called The Tipi Girls, such named as band practice often happened in our tipi-dwelling band mate’s abode (pictured above).  When we weren’t covering classics by artists as diverse as Neil Young to Rhianna, we roamed the mountains of Hueco.  We established some dream projects, one of which was El Techo de Los Tres B, a roof climb on North Mountain.  That season the moves felt difficult to me, but I had fun messing around trying to figure it out.   Last year when I was down for my winter break, I dragged a friend over to the dream proj.  I just wanted to feel the moves.  My friend watched me try a bit and suggested I add the problem to the list for the season.  At that moment I didn’t really feel close, but I was able to do substantially more moves than the year before.  It really took my friend’s encouragement for me to believe that this wasn’t out of range for the trip…and so began an epic.  Last year I had to leave Hueco without Techo. Despite falling at the last move numerous times, I just couldn’t make it happen.

This year I went back to Hueco with a vendetta.  Techo was at the top of the list for the season.   The first couple days I tried it I was feeling pretty positive it would take my entire time down there to get it done.  Instead I was gifted a Christmas miracle by the Tanks.  On Christmas Eve and my third day of trying, I climbed to the top.  Psyched and oh so relieved.

Me on El Techo, photo Melissa Strong

The Pursuit of New Projects 

After enjoying the summit of Techo for a moment, I down climbed with an overwhelming sense of relief to have finished something I had worked hard at.  But at the same time laughed at myself knowing for certain it wouldn’t be long before I dived into a new pattern of epic projecting proportions.  I got to do some new problems I was excited for, and also got to try a lot of new things that I am looking forward to investing more energy in.  Armed with North Mountain reservations, it ended up being Barefoot on Sacred Ground, another North Mountain classic, as the one I chose to invest the most skin and try-hard on that I again had to leave behind.  Next year.  I drove away from the Tanks wanting to come back physically stronger, but also with more mental fitness.   It would be nice to learn how to manage these mental blocks I am meeting while projecting, this could be an interesting goal…

Substance for my dreams, photo Christian Losh

The Game Nights

This season I’m pretty sure consensus at the Wagon Wheel would be that Game Nights were going almost as hard as the climbing.  We posted up in the Strong’s camper, warmed up with some Apples to Apples, and then jumped into fierce rounds of Catch Phrase.  For those who haven’t played, it is a disc with a digital display showing a phrase that you have to describe without saying to your team mates.  The game disc is treated like a hot potato, thrown between teams, no one wanting it in hand when the buzzer goes off.  It was boys against girls; the game disc was a flyin’; and climbing the next day would never go terribly well.  If it happened at all.

The Drive Homeward

Always the toughest part.  Teary-eyed Sharkbait saying bye to his dog pack.  Me hugging friends goodbye I don’t get to see nearly enough.  Beginning the drive back for more dreaming, climbing and schooling in Quebec.

 

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2013 world cup season

After a disappointing youth worlds where I just wasn’t climbing my strongest, I took some time to really figure out what I needed to work on. I realized that a lot of the issues I had were just based on a lack of experience competing at that level and a lack of power when I really needed it. I started training more intensely and more specifically with the lead world cups in Valence and Kranj quickly approaching. The goals for the competitions weren’t to have a specific placement but instead to climb every route as efficiently as possible, without making mistakes. Then the results would fall into place.

With support from the boulders climbing gym I made a last minute trip to the British lead championships, to help get back into comp mode. The event was very well put on with lots of interesting movements and holds. I ended up second in the open category running out of energy just a couple moves shy of winner but I felt good about the comp, as I climbed much more efficiently than usual.

I then turned my attention back to the world cup in Valence. I felt nervous as usual as the comp approached but arrived at the venue ready to pull hard for the qualifiers. The first route was my style for the most part, involving lots of small crimps on an increasingly steep wall. I managed to get quite high on the route, before messing up on a big move and falling just a few moves from the top. On the second route the moves felt a little bit more foreign, with the holds being more slopey and the moves being larger and less secure. I climbed nervously through the first section, but managed to find my rhythm again in the middle and ended up reaching about the same height as the first route. When the results were printed I sat in a comfortable 21st place heading to the semi final.
The semis seemed quite intimidating at first but in essence it was just another route. The route turned out to be quite my style and I managed to push quite far up the route before falling on a cruxy throw. I did however manage to get a hand on the next hold longer than a few other competitors and was granted a .5+ on the move. Moving up to 17th, I was happy with the results but knew I could have gone further on the route.

Sheila McCarron

Sheila McCarron

With a quick stop at the Slovenian nationals where I managed to grab a silver in youth and a 4th place in open, it was onto the world cup in kranj. The comp progressed very similarly to the one in valence but involved a tougher and larger field of competitors. After having my foot pop in the semi finals, I ended up in 22nd place due to a few strong competitors falling early on the route. The 2 comps really made me realize that being in the finals in a couple years is quite attainable with the right motivation and training.

Along side all the training, I managed to catch a few sunny days outside for some bouldering. Sutton pass has been the destination of choice lately, boasting Squamish quality granite in a more remote fashion, (despite being located right off the highway). Hundreds of first ascents still await and those that have been climbed, have only seen a few ascents at most.  Another bonus is that bouldering here as no ferry requirement..  I managed to climb many of the areas classics as well as establishing a few FA’s myself. The Sawfish Dyno, Speed Chess and The Contortionist’s Perspective (stand/sit) are just a few. This area is located about 30 minutes past Port Alberni on the way to Tofino, just past the old Sutton Creek boulders that are visible from the road. It’s defidently worth visiting for anyone who happens to be passing by. Thanks again to The Boulders for making these world cups a reality, Flashed for all their support (and awesome chalk) and the Romper Room for their continued support.

The Contortionist’s Perspective Sit

 

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Will it and it will

To say last year was challenging for me and my family is a huge understatement. A series of health issues and misdiagnoses pretty much stole the better part of the year for me. Eventually, I was properly diagnosed with an inflammatory/auto-immune disease called Sarcoidosis. During my last flare-up my symptoms included sudden major weight loss, debilitating fatigue, muscle and joint pain, granuloma formation in my lungs, and a general feeling of illness much like persistent flu symptoms. Since my diagnosis I have been doing all I can to manage the disease through diet and lifestyle changes. The dietary changes I have made include cutting out all gluten, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and vegetables belonging to the “Night Shade” family (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.) I have also reduced my intake of soy and refined sugars to a minimal amount. I am much more careful about my exposure to dusts, molds and other inhalants that might affect my compromised lungs. As a result of these changes I’m doing much better and I’m able to climb again! That said, I have to be a little more careful with how much I climb to make sure the inflammation doesn’t get out of control, and I have to be really careful with scrubbing due to the high amount of dust it puts into the air. Also, I don’t climb indoors due to too much chalk dust in the air.

Photo by: Israel Cruces

This past fall and early winter has been really productive for me. I’m back to my old game of finding and cleaning new boulders and establishing new boulder problems. I now wear a respirator while scrubbing – it gets me some odd looks from passers-by, but does the job! Most of my recent work has been focused on a new sector on both sides of the Stawamus River in Squamish. It’s a beautiful setting -the boulders are surrounded by ultra-green forest beside the pools and chutes of the creek. The area has its own micro-climate which stays cooler in hot weather than most other places in Squamish. The rock also has features that aren’t typical in Squamish, which adds to the unique experience. This fall, I also managed to establish a couple of fun lines that had been overlooked at the Base of the Grand Wall; these have already seen quite a bit of action. It feels so good to be back at it as I’ve always found the process very therapeutic and satisfying. It’s been really nice to be out there again, doing what I love and enjoying the company of family and friends in our beautiful Squamish forests.

Here is a series of the FA’s.
Poetry In Motion
Sinking Ship
Israel is Real
Wrestling With A Salamander

Here’s one from a few years back.
Pine Box Cars

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Mind Control :)

It was last Friday when my coach Sonnie Trotter and the rest of my team were going over mental preparation before the Tour De Bloc at the Calgary Climbing Center. Sonnie mentioned the infamous quote, Whether you think you can, or think you can’t you’re right – Henry Ford. This made me realize how much control my mind has over my body and that if I was to do well at the competition, my mental state would have to be in tip top shape.

After already finishing a respectable second place in female open at the first bouldering competition in Edmonton, I was feeling confident about my climbing abilities but I could not stop thinking about how every year the boudering competitions in Calgary always go terribly wrong for me. Every year before the comp I would try to figure out why I had done so badly the year before. Was it the routes? Was I not prepared? Did I just fail miserably? These were the thoughts going through my mind until this year. This year I realized maybe I was doing so badly because I was psyching myself out by believing I can’t climb well at specific competitions because I never had before.

Well this year that changed. I went into the competiton thinking positively and I just climbed and had fun. I ended up placing third in open female and first in youth A (16-17) female and I think it was all because of my mental state. So now going into the height of competition season, I am going to think positively and just go out and crush some holds. Next competition is January 11th at my local gym in Canmore!

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it is always your choice – Wayne Dyer

Happy Climbing,

Becca :)

 

 

Rocking my new Flashed tank on Finals Route #2. Photo Creds: Ben Haley

 

Eva Thompson crushing…like always :) Photo Creds: Ben Haley

 

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Getting Schooled…

When I finished University, I set out on a bouldering adventure. I found my calling: Climbing Gypsy. I took notes and held interviews. How exactly did climbers turn a calling into a reality? I learned at least one thing from my Economics degree – I needed to make this lifestyle economically feasible. Forest fire fighting sparked my interest, good money and winters off. So I did it. But halfway through the second summer of work the magic of saving the world one woodland creature and tree at a time faded. I enjoyed the work but the five-plus months off from climbing and the remote locations were vibing me out. More notes and more interviews, and I believe this time I got it right. Travel nursing. While saving trees was great, what’s more glorious than helping people, working months on and months off and travelling all over?

So last September I went back to school, remaining optimistic that it was only three years before I could fully embrace the plan.

Since starting back at school I have questioned my existence more than ever in my life. What am I doing wasting my prime (‘cause late 20s are the new, you know …) in school when I could be earning pay cheques and climbing rocks? Also, ya’ll know how many diseases there are out there? Cuz I do now. And isn’t life too short for interruptions like school?

While ever-battling with these questions I go forth bravely. A part of the transition from ‘wanna be Gypsy’ to student has been spending more time in the gym learning to train. The goal: the elusive dream proj in Hueco Tanks. My plan is to head south for Hueco again over my winter break, until then I study, train and dream!

 

Tatonka. I spent some time in Squamish over the summer, it was magical. Thanks to the RV Project for the pic.

Some Hueco...The Egg. Great problem on the east spur! Can't wait to get back to the desert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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