Hotsprings and Monkeys (2015 Canadian Lead Nationals)

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  Following a successful first place finish at the BC provincial championships, I set my sights to the Lead Nationals, also to be hosted at the Boulders Climbing gym. I felt strong and confident from all my hard training sessions and extremely motivated and excited for the event. Although I had nerves as usual, I also had a certain degree of relaxation in my mind that I’ve seldom felt before large competitions.  Part of this is due to regularly being out in nature in between trainings and also taking moments to be silly and enjoy the small things in life.

  On the morning of the qualifiers I arrived at the venue, previewed the routes and set to work. On the first one, I felt as if I was gliding up the wall effortlessly like a vulture who spots his pray and executes his moves with unparalleled precision. However on the second route, I felt more uncomfortable and also a little more nervous. The feet were smaller and I chose a few positions that were less than ideal for clipping.  Arriving at the top feeling more like a seagull this time, one that had more than his fair share of food from tourists; I clipped the anchor thinking about my climb as I was lowered to the ground. 

  Semifinals brought with it, more nerves but also some elation! I previewed the route, that involved lots of slopers and powerful looking crux moves. Working together with the other climbers to decipher the intended sequence and bring my nerves down. One particular section worried me that involved a round sloper with an unhappy face written on it with chalk.  I climbed the route quickly to that point, looked around, and then proceeded without hesitation through hard move after hard move.  Eventually only falling due to a lack of commitment on a tough roof move.  When the dust settled I was ranked 2nd and one move behind the leader (Sean).

  With only one route remaining, and my nerves reaching a height comparative to the top of the wall, I decided I needed some time to take my mind fully off climbing. This is where the monkeys and hotsprings came in.  In Japan there exists a species of macaque that lives in the far north and relies on the many natural hotsprings to survive the harsh and bitter winter conditions. They balance their time and attitude in perfect harmony. Spending time for them to relax in the springs (hot shower), be silly and have fun ( watch funny videos, think of silly things and have silly conversations) to keep the mood light, and finally they possess an ability to attain the food they need with a more serious attitude (approach the competition with the silly thoughts all out of sight and out of mind). So all I needed to do was compare myself to a macaque to reach the mindset I needed to perform at my best!

  I arrived for isolation for the final once again feeling nervous but also ready to bring out my inner macaque.  This time the route looked much more straight forward, still having powerful looking crux sections but the moves in between these looked much more sympathetic.  I stepped on the wall, pulled hard and found that the route felt the same as it appeared like it would. And the moves flowed in the same way I had imagined.  I wasn’t troubled by any crux moves until I arrived at a slopey feature near the top! I grabbed everywhere on it, hoping to find a section that was slightly better but ultimately was subdued by the sloper.  Upon arrival on the ground it was apparent that I’d keep my 2nd place spot as Sean received a + off the same hold and would finish in first. I felt satisfied with my performance but also left with the thought that I could’ve pulled to the top.

  All together the event was amazing, the Boulders Climbing Gym and Kimanda did a great job hosting it as well as the speed World Cup! I’d like to thank my sponsors for helping me achieve the result that i did, The Boulders Climbing Gym, Kailas, Kimanda J, and Flashed. I am psyched to now be a part of the Kailas team, they are an amazing company that shares the same goals as me!

  Photo by Shane Murdoch 

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