"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it, so it goes on flying anyway. "
-Mary Kay Ash

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Lead World Cup Circuit 2016 - My Experience

Why did I not try this two years ago? That's the question I asked myself after my first lead World Cup experience in Chamonix just a few weeks ago. I had competed at four bouldering World Cups since the time I was sixteen but I had never really considered lead even though it's the discipline in which I've always excelled. In Canada, the competition circuit includes all three disciplines of sport climbing - lead, bouldering and speed - but over three quarters of open competitors just compete in bouldering, at least at international events. Maybe I never considered lead World Cups until now because of this focus on bouldering, the lack of female competitors attending lead World Cups and the Canadian "lack of psych" for lead.  But I'm SO glad I decided to compete at three lead World Cups this season because it was such an incredibly motivating experience! I now am certain that I want lead to be my focus for international competition for the next few years, which is super exciting for me!

The Team in Chamonix Photo: Kimanda Jarzebiak
A lil pre comp sightseeing with mom!! :)

When I arrived in Chamonix just a few weeks ago for my first lead World Cup, I was definitely anxious to see what the competition would be like. As much as I had competed at lead events at Youth Worlds over the years, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, especially when it came to how hard the routes would feel. Not surprisingly, the routes did not feel super different from what I competed on at Youth Worlds in Arco last year. Also not surprising is the fact that most of the competitors on the female side who are making finals are in their last years of youth competition or are freshly out of the youth circuit.

Friends are the best :)

Concentrating on the first move of route 1 in Briancon Photo: Sheila McCarron

Stepping off the ground on my first climb in Chamonix I felt confident through the first ten moves of the route, right up until the first angle change of the wall. I knew from watching other competitors that there was a big move right at the angle change that looked awkward but the hold that was next looked quite good. When I got to that section I was hit by the intensity change of the route. Until then the route itself hadn't been particularly hard but once I reached that move I panicked a bit because I hadn't rested on the hold before and was feeling out of juice. I went for the move anyways because it was too late to backtrack and peeled off, just missing the good part of the hold by a few centimeters. Luckily my next climb was much better and I was able to really give it my all. I ended up placing 33rd at the comp thanks to my better performance on the second route, only missing semi finals by one hold.

Quali 1 Chamonix Photo By Sytse Van Slooten

The trend of having one great climb and one not-so-great climb continued with me throughout the next two World Cups in Villars and Briancon. In Chamonix my first climb was the worse of the two, so initially I thought maybe I wasn't warm enough or rested for too long before I climbed. But when I had a better first climb in Villars I was back to square one trying to figure out what was happening. What I began to realize is that World Cup routes are just unforgiving. It is very easy to make a small sequence mistake, place a toe instead of a heel, have a foot pop or just not commit far enough to a hold. These small mistakes proved to be devastating. As much as I was frustrated with one of my two climbs at each of the World Cups, it never felt like I physically couldn't do the move or that I was too pumped - I just made a mistake. Mistakes can be fixed with more attention to detail and being smarter while on the wall!

Villars Quali 1 Photo: Eddie Fowke @thecircuitclimbing
An uncomfortably high high step in Briancon Photo: Sheila McCarron

After the three comps came to an end, I wasn't necessarily pleased with how the results ended up, but as competition climbers we all know that results can be deceiving. Most of the time the difference between five or more placings was only a hold or even just a plus to the next hold. What gives me hope for the future is that I know I am not far off from making the semi final round. That being said,  I do need to have two good climbs (which is easier said then done!). With more specific training for lead and some new cross training I am implementing in the fall with the Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence, I know I will be able to come back to the World Cups stronger and more prepared next year!

Try Hard Face Quali 2 Briancon. Best Climb of the trip :) Photo: Sheila McCarron
Cool Shot of quali 2 Briancon....no I didn't kick the German guy ;P Photo: Eddie Fowke @thecircuitclimbing

As for the rest of my summer, I am now back in Canmore outdoor climbing lots...and hopefully sending lots :) before I head to the University of Victoria at the end of August. Training officially won't start back up for me until September so I will have a nice break to rest my body until then.

Until next time,


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

España-Europe Trip Part Two

It's been just over two weeks since we've left Kalymnos. Although it may be fifteen degrees colder here and we are not surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the landscape here in Rodellar, Spain is just as beautiful. As I sit here writing this post I am reminded why so many climbers chose Rodellar to hang up their hats for a few months. The amount of sheer rock here is insane! We spent the first week of our time here just exploring the different crags and trying as many fun looking lines as possible. We have now been here just over two weeks and we still haven't climbed at all the areas but we have chosen a few specific areas (Ventanas, Surgencia and Prince Sans Rire) that we have been trying the more difficult routes we are hoping to get done before we head to Siruana.

I was actually in Rodellar four years ago with my family, friends as well as my former coach and climber extraordinaire Dung Nguyen. It was one of my first times outdoor climbing for much more then a day here and there on a weekend, Rodellar was where I sent my first 5.12a, the first time I took a big whipper outside and where I first became mesmerized with outdoor climbing. It's been really cool being back four years later and warming up on routes I struggled to even make it to the top of. The first thing I said looking at my old 12a project was "oh my god it's so short" (even though it's over 20m) . Lots has changed since the trip four years ago but the one thing that says the same is the reason I'm here, because I love to climb.

We now still have two weeks left here to enjoy. Which is a wonderful thing because I have not sent my projects, actually come to think of it the only thing I send each day of climbing are my warmups, if I'm lucky ;) haha. I am currently working on a route called El Chorreras la belle inconue which is a beautiful overhanging 5.13d (8b) . The crux itself is only five or so meters from the top so as you can imagine it's hard to feel fresh enough to do it after just under 30m of climbing below. But if conditions stay okay (it's been raining) and I can milk the shitty rest before the crux and give it my all I think it will go very soon. I was initially trying a world known route called Les Chacales 5.13d (8b) but I am three inches too short to reach a big bump move coming out of the crux...I found alternate beta for myself that requires me to do a very big cross off a two finger half pad undercling. But this sequence is really physically taxing and after I complete it, I am just too exhausted and pumped to do the top big moves on the route. So for now I have left the route and if I have time at the end of our stay I may go back to work on it some more. Yesterday we also tried a 5.14a (8b+) called Iexia. We have been wanting to get on it sooner but it's been quite wet, it for sure feels like next level but doable, If not in these next two weeks when I am back next time :) above all it just feels awesome to try hard!

That is all for now! If you guys are interested in seeing more about the trip I am updating Facebook and Instagram quite regularly with posts/photos :)

Until next time,


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Europe Trip-Part One

Hi Everyone,

It's been a while since I last posted but I wanted to give you guys an update on my European adventures so far!! It's already been almost two months since I left Canada and it's crazy to think how much has happened since then. From the last bouldering World Cup in Munich,  the Youth World championships in Arco Italy, exploring Greece with my wonderful family and climbing in paradise here in Kalymnos, the past few months have been a whirlwind of adventure and fun that I can't wait to continue.

We've been here in Kalymnos for about 2 and half weeks now and island life is treating us well. We have been climbing as much as our skin can handle and taking the occasional rest day to relax by the pool and enjoy the ocean. Island life here operates at a crawl, especially in the mornings. It is rare to find people out and about before 10 unless they're going climbing, in which case people are sprinting up the hill to the Grande Grotta just past 8am to grab the most popular routes before the masses of other climbers arrive. Lucky for us hardy mountain folk who are used to 45 minute approaches to crags, most people's "sprint" to the grande grotta is turtle pace so we can leave our studio at 8:45 and get there at a reasonable time as well. :) Another example of slow Island life...The climbing shop here  opens at 5pm which I find particularly amusing.

Kalymnos in October is rather crowded as a result of numerous climbing camps and the North Face climbing festival around the corner. Although the crags are busier it has been awesome meeting many people from different countries as well as many fellow Candians. What's really cool about the crags here is that lots of the sectors grades are really diverse. I was working my way up a 7c+ at the Odessey wall only to look over and find Magnus Mitboe working on his 8c+ project a few lines left and down from him there were others working their 6b+ routes. Everyone here is just having fun and getting super inspired no matter what grade they climb.

We still have another week and a half left here which is prefect for us as we all have either some unfinished business to attend to or want to try a few more inspiring lines. Sara is getting as close as close can be on Daniboy (8a) , Andrew is wanting to get on Racomello (8b) and I want to try a steep pocketed line called Labyrinth (8b) at the Jurassic Park sector.

As far as what is next, we are flying to Espana to tour around Barcelona for a few days then we are off to Rodellar and Siruana to crush some hard routes :) and eat some Pallella!

Anyways that's all for now friends...another update to come once we get a taste of some Spanish rock.

Thanks for reading,

Becca :)

P.s sorry for no pictures...they wouldn't upload

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Toronto and Vail Bouldering World Cups

It's been a busy but exciting few months! Between taking the top spot on the podium at Lead Nationals in Victoria, studying for finals, graduating high school, competing in my second and third Bouldering World Cups in Toronto and Vail respectively and training for Youth Worlds I have been really busy. But over the past few months I have gained so much valuable experience in my climbing that I am so excited to share! Instead of giving you guys a play by play of each competition I thought I would write about what competing at world cups means to me and my experience in Toronto and Vail this year. So here it goes!
When you finally figure out the beta and the time runs out Photo: Terry McColl

Stace and I reppin da sponsor in Toronto! Photo: Laurie Weldon

Whenever I watch Bouldering World Cups live or on the stream I can't help but try to imagine myself climbing to the top of those foreign looking problems. Yes, they are different then what we train and compete on in Canada but they still are doable. What I found most interesting this year competing at two separate Bouldering events was that the problems weren't that out of reach. Last year competing at my first World Cup I felt like I was flailing on everything, and although this year I only manged to top one problem out of both separate qualification rounds the problems didn't feel so difficult. I found myself falling not because I wasn't physically capable of doing the move but because I had never done a move similar to that before, I just didn't really know how to approach it.

Knowing I will be competing in the Munich Bouldering World Cup and Youth Worlds in just a few weeks time I have been working on some of the things I think will make a big difference competition wise. After Toronto and Vail I wrote down a list of specific movements I saw practically every round and I tried to implement those into my training.. Ie. explosive moves from non existent feet, moving from feature to feature with no holds, slab jumps etc. What I realized after Toronto and Vail are that the best climbers in the world aren't necessarily the strongest climbers in the world but they are able to climb on all terrain, they are strategically smart and most importantly mentally strong. I guess what I am trying to say is what I've realized is the be able to excell at the World Cup level its not just about training 5 or 6 times a week it's about what you do all around to make yourself into the best athlete possible.

The beast that was problem 5 in Vail Photo: Terry McColl

Knowing this, I am really hopefully for future competitions and I am so ready to become the best possible all round athlete I can be over the next year. Competing at the Toronto and Vail World Cups were such incredible experiences and I am so glad we had such an amazing group of Canadian athletes competing this year. Although I didn't do as well as I hoped the knowledge I took away from these two comps will most definitely help me to achieve my World Cup and competition goals in years to come!

The Vail Canadian Team training at the Spot gym in Boulder Photo: Mom

As far as what is next; I leave on August 10th which marks the beginning of my four month European adventure! I will be competing at the Bouldering World Cup in Munich then the Youth World Championships in Arco Italy and after that I am heading to Greece, France and Spain to climb my heart out on some rock with some friends and family, before heading back to Canada for the more important half of the competition season! I will try to update my blog while I'm away every 3-4 weeks or so but internet access could be intermittent!

To finish off this post I would like to say a huge thank you to my sponsor Flashed, my parents, coaches and my teammates for making the past few months possible!

Adios amigos and hope you all have a great rest of your summer!


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Youth Bouldering Nationals 2015

A few weeks ago I was in Burlington Ontario for the fist ever Youth Bouldering Nationals held at Climbers Rock. To say it was a great competition would be an understatement. I cannot begin to describe how happy I am with my performance and how honored I was to compete alongside one of the strongest categories of Junior female climbers to date.

My Sister Sara the Stegosaurus

This post is going to be slightly different then usual. Instead of giving you guys a play by play of the competition, I'm going to write about what was different for me this year at Nationals then other years. Enjoy!

A bit of background...The competition spanned over three days, with a Qualifying round for all competitors, a semi-final round for the top 16 competitors and final round for the top 8 competitors. Going into the competition I knew I was physically and mentally prepared but it became evident that it would not be easy to podium at the event, much less make the final round. What made the competition so unforgettable this year was the caliber of athletes in my category. Until a few years ago the Junior female category (18-19yrs) always had a few strong competitors but this year it was different. We had 16 INSANELY strong and intelligent female climbers ready to battle it out for the top spots so I knew I would have to bring my a-game during every round and that there would be no room for any dumb mistakes.

I have now attended 6 Youth National Championships and every year I always feel prepared to the best of my abilities. I know I'm capable of placing top three but what I have realized is there is a huge difference between being prepared and actually performing well at the most important competition of the season. With the exception of my Nationals win in 2011 and my win this year I would always qualify for finals in the top three positions but something would go awry in Finals causing me to drop four or five places. It was mind boggling to me how I could climb so well the whole weekend then not be able to perform on my final climb(s). So below I have outlined a few points that helped me perform my best at Nationals this year.

Shane Murdoch Photo

1. Mentality- Going into the competition I knew I had done everything in my power to be prepared physically but I knew I had to stay strong mentally. Over the weekend of competition I made sure to take the competition round by round and only focus on myself and what I was going to do to be able to get to the top of each Boulder since the only person you can control is yourself.

2. Route/Problem Style- It is always important to expect a wide variety of problems styles some of which may not be your strong suit. Previously to Nationals I had trained at Climber's Rock before so I knew their angles were mostly steep which is what I excel at but I knew they still could make more technical/awkward climbs. Problem style will always be one of the largest factors contributing to how you place which is why leading up to Nationals I made sure to focus on my weaknesses (Big moves and technical vert. climbing).

3. There is always another competition- Part of why I was able to climb my best at Nationals was my mindset, I was very relaxed the whole weekend. And no by relaxed I do not mean so calm I could fall asleep and I don't mean relaxed as in I didn't care about the competition. But relaxed from the standpoint that I knew I was ready to climb my best and I was just going to have to wait and see how everything played out. I made sure to continually remind myself that there is always another competition and there was still another opportunity to qualify for the National team at Lead Nationals in May so I wouldn't put too much unwanted pressure on myself.

4. Not getting discouraged- In finals I was unable to send problem 3 which later I found out no one in my category had done but falling over and over again on the last move of a  after climbing a solid 10 moves is always a bit discouraging. When I was back sitting in the chair before problem three I made sure to focus all my energy on sending the last problem and not worry about what could have been done earlier because I had a feeling it would come down to the last moments to determine who was National Champion. I made sure to take a long time to preview the problem before getting on... stupid mistakes would not be in my vocabulary this time! I fought as hard as I could to the very end and stuck the last move of the problem almost simultaneously with the Junior male winner Sam Tiukuvaara which secured both of our wins.

The last move of the competition-Matt Chapman Photography

Just for a Nationals wrap up...I ended up qualifying for the Youth National Team and I will be heading to Arco Italy for the Youth World Championships in August so very excited about that! Also a massive thank you to my coaches, my parents, my sister and my incredible sponsor Flashed for your support. It means so much!

And finally an update on whats next! I have two rope competition in Edmonton this weekend then I am leaving next Thursday for Open Bouldering Nationals at Bloc Shop in Montreal then I'm of to Vegas to gamble... I mean climb in Red Rocks. SO STOKED! 

That is all my friends and Happy climbing,

Becca :)

Route-Setter/coach extraordinaire Eugene's photo

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Pan American Championships 2014

Hi Everyone,

It's been a while since I last posted…I wanted to save my newest post for after the Pan American championships in Mexico City so here we go! I’m sorry this is quite lengthy, so I separated the paragraphs into the different days of competition if you guys only are interested in a specific part.

First of all, I would like to say how incredible the Canadian team is, not just as climbers but also as people. I had such a great time the whole week in Mexico getting to know everyone even better; we shared so many laughs and had tons of fun competing. On top of that, our team brought home a total of nine medals including three gold, one silver, and five bronze and had 19 Canadians make finals in a combination of Lead and Bouldering. That is 17 more people then we've ever had! Such an amazing job team :)

It’s a bird it’s a plane…its superman Creds: Shane Murdoch

Where do I begin? For me, Pan Ams is always a very interesting competition given the fact that it only happens every two years. If you are reading this as a competitive climber you probably know how much everyone improves over one season let alone two, so for me one of the most enjoyable parts of Pan Ams is being able to see how much other teams improve as well as how much I personally improved since the last Pan Ams in Chile. Going into the competition this year I really didn’t know how I would fair against all of the other youth competitors in my category. With the exception of the bouldering World Cup in Hamilton, I hadn’t competed in any international competition since Pan Ams in 2012 since I decided not to go to the World Youth Championships in Noumea this year. So I must admit I was a little bit nervous but nevertheless always excited to get the opportunity to represent Canada in Mexico City.

DAY 1-Lead Qualifiers
The first day of competition was on Wednesday and this consisted of two lead qualifying climbs, with the top 8 advancing to the final round. Our first climb was up the right side of the wall, a somewhat vertical/slightly overhung technical climb. Earlier that day I had watched the youth C climb an easier version of our route so I already had a pretty good idea of the crux. From what I could tell looking at the route there were two cruxes; one about halfway up on some side pull crimps with small feet and the other being near the top, consisting of large moves in between features and finally a stand up to an undercling.  For the majority of the route I felt solid; it wasn’t until I got past the first crux that I started to feel a bit pumped. About ¾ of the way up just at the end of the second crux is where things started to get interesting. After I stuck a small side pull I swung my left foot over a small roof and leaned over to reach a small undercling, I stuck that hold with my pinky finger and used all the strength I had to pull up and get the rest of my hand on the hold. After being very close to falling I hung on as tight as I could for the rest of the climb and managed to top the route a few moves later. After completing the first climb I knew most of the Americans would top so I had a feeling it would all come down to how well I could climb on the second route.

On my way to sending route #1 Creds: Shane Murdoch

The second route was the steepest roof I have ever climbed in my entire life. The holds weren’t bad for ¾ of the roof until the footholds became sparse and I had to resort to double toe hooking or heel hooking.  Just as I was nearing the lip of the massive overhang I stopped to take a rest and evaluate my next moves. The next move was a one arm throw over the lip to a hold that looked like a jug from the ground but ended up being a sort of round and greasy ball. As I jumped over the lip I latched onto the hold and screamed as loud as I could; I swung my foot over to the feature on the opposing wall only to have my foot not be able to reach the hold. After two great climbs I qualified in fifth for lead finals.

Thank god the roof is over....14 draws later Creds: Shane Murdoch
Route #2-Creds: Shane Murdoch
DAY 2-Bouldering Qualifiers
Day two was bouldering qualifiers. After a great showing of strong climbers on the previous day it was evident the problems were going to be really difficult. I stepped out onto the mat mid morning ready to pull hard. I flashed the first slab problem and topped the second problem on my second try. I tried incredibly hard on the third slab problem but I didn’t end up being able to get the last few moves. The fourth problem was a big overhang, more my style but so powerful. After a good qualifying round, I was tied for 6th with fellow Canadian Beth Vince going into the semi final.
Getting my slab on-Qualifier #3 Creds: Shane Murdoch

Qualifier #2 Creds: Shane Murdoch

 DAY 4 Lead Finals
After a well deserved rest day watching speed it was finally time for lead finals. I woke up that morning feeling a bit off; maybe it was my nerves kicking in or the mystery meat I ate the night before but either way I accepted it and got prepared to give it my all. About an hour after we got into iso it was our category’s turn to preview. We walked out to the wall, facing the crowd - a moment later we got our first glance at the wall. My first thought was wow, what a perfect route. Slightly overhanging, crimpy and powerful - this is going to be so much fun. Fourth to climb, I stepped to the wall, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and smiled beginning my journey upwards. I moved confidently through the first three draws then moved right to a gaston before going over the lip and up onto the headwall. I grabbed the gaston with my right hand shifting my weight over to match then bang, just like that my left foot popped and with that I was flying through the air. What just happened? When my feet touched the ground it hit me. My dream of making the podium at a continental event was gone and a rush of anger and frustration washed over me. It should've been my perfect route. I had climbed so well in qualifiers and I knew I was capable of getting so far on this route but unfortunately things don’t always work out. As much as I was really upset with my performance I realized I had to forget about finals so I could perform well in bouldering semis the next day.

 My foot is still on the wall right?! Creds: Shane Murdoch

DAY 5-Bouldering Semis
Bouldering semis and finals were a bit different at Pan Ams this year. The format was still five on five off, however instead of four boulders there were only three each round which leaves little room for mistakes or for that matter falling at all. Semis problem number 1 was a technical route with a mix of slopers, small finer rails and non existent feet - a theme common at the competition. I managed to flash problem number one, which gave me the confidence boost I needed to tackle problem number two.  The second problem was a 40-degree roof, which I was beyond excited about. Looking at the problem to me it seemed like there were two possible ways to get to the bonus hold. Either a big move from the second hold or a few extra moves left on some flat looking holds. I was torn between which way I should get there but in the end I went with my gut instinct and took the long way around, as it looked like the way the route setters intended it to be climbed. I got to the bonus my first try and jumped and screamed my way up the rest of the wall (literally) securing a flash on the second problem as well. The third and final problem was a balancey slab problem with the smallest flattest crimps I’ve ever held onto. I secured the third and fourth hold rocking onto my left foot in an attempt to reach the bonus but every time I moved my foot slipped off the hold. I didn’t end up getting that move but later learnt that many people had trouble with this move as well. After my semis performance I moved into finals in fourth place from count back to qualifiers.

Semis problem #2 Creds: Shane Murdoch

Semis Problem #1-Shane Murdoch

Bouldering Finals
Bouldering finals was that same night. After three stellar climbs that morning I knew I had to climb just as well or better in order to keep my position or move up in finals. The finals problems were on the opposite side of the wall from semis…the more vertical section. Problem one consisted of a split start on two pinches for the hand and two features for the feet. After the start move to a small edge there were four more precise moves on large slopers before a rock-over to the finish hold. I took my time to look at the problem and figure out the sequence to make sure I didn’t make any dumb mistakes. I hopped on the wall and made my way to the top reaching the finish hold with my arms in full extension. Problem two was a 9 move awkward problem that moved out of a corner and traversed left on some big flat holds then one move upwards to a feature with a foothold for the finish. It took me two tries to get the first move but once I did, I made it to the last move. I set up for the final move and just missed the seemingly non-existent finish hold. After that attempt I was sure I could do it, however with about 1:30 left on the clock I had no time to rest. When I attempted it again, I couldn’t get the last move. I ended up with only the bonus hold on this problem. As I was sitting waiting for my attempt on the third problem I couldn’t help but notice the continual and familiar thumping noise of feet hitting the mat. I chuckled to myself the last problem is a dyno…nice! In the months leading up to the competition I had been working on dynos so I was ready to give it my all. After what seemed like only seconds it was my turn to climb the final problem. I turned around and realized I was right…the first move a double hand dyno from two pinches to two round slopers over a lip. I got on the wall, glared with anger at the two holds looming above me and geared up to jump with all my might. My fist attempt was not great but the move felt possible. On the attempts following I would grab the holds with both hands sticking them for a second but I wasn’t able to hold on long enough to stop my swing. Unfortunately I had to walk away from this problem empty handed, although my scorecard was full with 13 attempts.

Finals problem #1 Creds: Shane Murdoch

My try hard face Creds: Carlos Cardona
I ended up placing 8th in Lead and 5th in Bouldering. Initially I was frustrated as I didn’t achieve my goal of a top three finish, but I was half a move away from making the podium in bouldering. With the exception of one climb I can honestly say that I climbed the best I ever have at any competition which is a feeling that in my opinion no result can top.

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the event organizers, route setters, judges, my incredible parents, teammates, my super amazing coaches and my sponsor Flashed. Without you guys none of this would be possible. Also a shout out to Delaney Miller’s parents - you guys are wonderful - thank you so much for your support!

Full results of the competition

Next up is a TDB at my home gym Jan 10th - can't wait!

Hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and have an awesome New Year!


Sending fist bumps with Dad-Shane Murdoch

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Hamilton World Cup 2014

I remember watching the Hamilton World Cup last year on the live feed, analyzing every move, every problem and watching intently as the seemingly impossible boulders were completed by the world's best. Last year the World Cup seemed like a distant dream for me, almost unattainable. But this year things changed; at every competition I tried to keep a smile on my face and climb every problem how I did at training - with determination. And after my first Tour De Bloc Nationals this year, I qualified to compete in the Hamilton World Cup. It was an experience I'll never forget!

The morning of the comp, I watched the men's qualifiers. I sat down in the second row of the stands with my teammate Alyssa Weber and my mom, only to find Juliane Wurm, Alex Puccio, Shauna Coxsey and Anna Stohr sitting in front of us. That's when it hit me. I would be competing against the top climbers in the world...wow! As the men's qualifiers got underway it became increasingly evident that the problems were EXTREMELY challenging, so I had more of a sense of what to expect during my qualifying round in the afternoon.

Alex Puccio and I :) - Photo Creds - the amazingly fabulous Alyssa Weber

At 3:30 I walked into iso with the Canadian girls. At first I was really nervous; I didn't know what to expect or what the vibe would be like in iso. But the first thing I noticed when I arrived was all the top-ranked girls warming up together, laughing and just having fun. I was quite surprised by this; I was expecting the vibe to be serious at an international competition but it was just like they were climbing on a normal training day which made me happy and stoked to climb.

After a long 3 hours in iso, it was my turn to climb. I was brought to the gym on a golf cart and I had ten minutes to get my shoes on and get my mind psyched and ready to go. Once I was in the on-deck chair I reminded myself to just go out and have fun. In what seemed like a few seconds, I was walking towards problem 1 with a smile but ready to crush. Unfortunately, problem 1 didn't go so well :( It was a vertical problem that consisted of a press into a corner and a jump sideways to the second hold...I bet you can all guess how that went for me - haha. After my not-so-successful attempts on problem 1, I was pretty frustrated but told myself to release all my anger on the next boulder.

Problem #1-MK Photography

Problem 2 was more my style. It began on a complete roof; the opening section was three campus moves before a giant purple volume. Once I got there, things got interesting. After I grabbed with my right hand around the volume, it was a massive bump again to a giant sloper. It took me two tries to just stick that move as I was fully extended and could only do the move with a heel hook around the right side of the feature. Once I got that move the bonus hold was next. I matched the bonus hold and campused to the second-last hold. I was so close; my heart started beating faster and the crowd began to cheer loudly. I threw for the last hold, grabbing it on the very edge. Immediately, I felt myself falling backwards. That happened two more times. I never topped problem two but after I had gotten so close I knew that the problems were actually doable and that maybe I could pull off one of the next ones.

Gearing up for the big move on problem 2-MK Photography

Problems 3 and 4. Ohhhhhhh man, where do I begin? The move to the bonus hold on problem three was the stopper move. There were two really crappy flat crimps on a feature, then it was a big pull over the lip to a tiny slot (the bonus hold). I tried time and time again to heel hook the feature, to push off the feature, to bicycle the hold to the right of the feature. But nothing was working. I later found out that a knee bar may have been slightly useful unless you're Shauna Coxsey and can do it with a double heel hook! Problem 4 was a giant sideways dyno off two very bad flat side pull crimps. Knowing dynos are not my strong suit, I was a bit worried. I tried super hard and actually managed to catch both holds every time, but had too much momentum so I swung off every time.

Then came the last problem. I turned around to look at the route and thought, heck yah! As I scanned up the route I noticed the bonus was the second-last hold. I paused for a moment and thought what in the world.....the span between the bonus hold and the last hold was massive. I saw the top of the wall was not taped out and I knew I had to shuffle my way along the top to reach the finish hold. On my first try I got to the last move but fell trying to match the lip. Every time the same thing happened, no matter how much I hung down on my arms and kept my core tight I was just one inch too far from the finish hold. So with that I knew my time competing at the World Cup for this year had come to an end. As much as I wasn't happy with how I climbed, I put a smile on my face, waved to the crowd (that felt SO cool) and walked off the mat to join my fellow teammates, my mom and my Dad sitting in the crowd.

Good ol' last move on problem 5 - Creds: Miguel Jette

Quali routes getting done by the world's best!

I think what I learned the most from the weekend was to really think about the different possible ways to do problems. The reason I got stuck on problem 2 was that I was basically trying the last move the same way and not pressing my foot against the right wall, which would have been way easier. Normally at local competitions, I'll think about many different ways because if I try a move and it seems really difficult, I always think I must be doing it wrong or missing something. But when I got stuck at the World Cup, I thought I was doing the correct beta but the move was just too hard because they're World Cup-standard problems. But I shouldn't have thought of it that way. For me what it came down to I think is experience. Looking back, I know I had the strength to do problem 2 and 5, but I need to gain a lot more experience which will evidently come with time.

My first World Cup experience was one I will never forget. It was amazing to see so many young up- and-coming climbers in Finals...so motivating! I ended up placing 35th, not the result I would have liked, but so grateful for the opportunity to represent Canada. Thank you so much to everyone who helped me get to where I did this season. You all rock! :)

Current Word Ranked #1 Akiyo Noguchi

Just a quick update on what has been happening with me recently...my sister and I were featured in the June Gripped issue - shout out to Brandon Pullan for making that happen. As well, Sara and I were on Banff Center Radio last week talking about our climbing experience so I will try and find an online version of that when it is released! As for what is next, competition season is over for the summer. I'm stoked to be attending the National Team training camp here in Canmore in July. I'm going to keep training hard for the Pan American Championships in Mexico in November and try to get outdoors as much as I can!

Happy summer shenanigans,


The not so photogenic but awesome Canadian Team