Toronto/Hamilton Bouldering World Cup 2014

Surreal- the best word to describe my experience at this year’s Toronto Bouldering World Cup at Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, Ontario. My very first bouldering world cup.

From “brusher” at last year’s Toronto Bouldering World Cup, to competitor this year. It seems like yesterday I was idolizing the athletes who possessed the ability to go to world cups. I had thought that the status of “world class” was untouchable for me, and the climbing ability of these athletes beyond what I could ever achieve. Even entering the Tour de Bloc (competition) season I doubted that I would qualify for the National Team. I thought my performance over the Tour de Bloc Season was good, but would not be enough for me to join the National team. It was a huge shock to me when I received the email that I was accepted to attend the Toronto Bouldering World Cup.

This competition was probably the best competition of the year so far. I entered with an attitude of have fun, and have no expectations. My only goals were to enjoy the experience, and learn as much as I can from watching other athletes. I found that I was really happy when I was climbing. I felt really strong, confident, and focused. It surprises me now how optimistic I was during my time climbing, and reflecting on how I felt climbing, that feeling of positivity is something I want to have in all my competition experiences.

The qualifying round consisted of 5 boulder problems…

On Men’s 1 I got bonus, which was the second hold, but no top. I’m happy with my climbing on this problem, since I was generally happy and was trying different beta to solve the second move to the finish hold. At first glance I intuitively thought of a beta that I could use, but for some reason I tried a different beta. Perhaps it was because the second beta was more static- “safer”,  where as the first is more of a dynamic movement- “risky”. After trying variation of my second beta for roughly 3 minutes, I tried my first original beta. The first try was close, but I didn’t stick it, so I tried a variation of the same beta until the rest of my 5 minutes was up. After the competition was over I reviewed a video of Sean McColl doing Men’s 1, and saw that he used the same beta that I first thought and stuck the move. Perhaps if I had trusted my intuition and worked on cleaning up the movement Men’s 1 would have been a different story.

Trying the “safer beta” on M1    |   Creds to the super strong Sara M.

Men’s 2 looked hard from the ground. The first part to the bonus looked hard, and the second part harder. Something my coach, Andrew, had said to me 3 days earlier came in to my mind, “Work the problem as if it were two problems. The first to the bonus hold, and the other to the top.” I never got to the bonus hold, but every attempt I made got cleaner, and cleaner.

Men’s 3, top! My very first top at a World Cup! From the ground I was confident that if I stuck the dyno in the bottom portion I could possibly top. The dyno looked a bit tricky though. It was a mostly sideways dyno to some good holds, but the holds were slopey so that too much power would send you flying off. The dyno took me 2 tries. The first try I used too much power and flew off. The second try was just right, and I not only stuck the dyno, but sent the problem.

Men’s 4 was really powerful, and I had a similar experience to Men’s 2- get to the bonus. The move to the bonus hold was really big, and I didn’t end up sticking it. Maybe if I had tweaked the movement a bit I would have caught bonus.

Men’s 5 had super small start holds, and I got tired on the first move really quickly. I kept falling on the second move to the bonus hold, and sadly never got it. The problem looked within my ability, but I couldn’t quite get the movement right in my 5 minutes.

I ended up placing 26th, which I am super happy about. This Toronto Bouldering World Cup has been an important experience for me, and I’m grateful for having experienced it. After qualifiers I stayed and watched semis, and finals which were really cool. I really want to go to more Bouldering World Cups but I know the best thing for me to do right now is have a break, then start training my power endurance for Youth Worlds in September. I’m really psyched for the next season, and hope to compete in next years Toronto Bouldering World Cup as well.



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