Back to the Rockies

Well it’s been a long while! I supposed I haven’t been feeling the bloggo-spirit for the past few months. School seemed to take over my soul for a bit there. But I am now FREE for the summer! Yahoo! It’s been a long year and a half since I have had any sort of extended break and I am relishing every moment of it.
This summer is going to be EXCITING! I have already been home in Calgary for about 3 weeks now and it has been fantastic to relax at home and enjoy the company of my wonderous family. Next week I am moving to Canmore for two whole months, where I will be working as a student nurse (aka Baby Nurse) at the town hospital. I am stoked to have a summer job that relates directly to my future career. Plus, it is in my most favourite-est place ever: CANMORE!! I am going to rock climb to my heart’s content!
Also on the agenda this summer is a trip to EUROPE! I was chosen earlier this year to be one of the National Team coaches for the Canadian Youth Climbing Team who happen to be heading to Imst, Austria in August. I am incredibly honoured to have been chosen for this position, considering I myself traveled to 6 different Youth World Cup events in the past. My coaches for each trip were amazing, and I have developed wonderful relationships with each and every one of them. I hope to be able to share similarly great experiences with these talented and energetic kids in Austria! Another pretty sweet aspect of this trip, is that I myself competed as a youth in the very same town when I was about 16 years old. That was 6 years ago. Oh how time flies! The competition will be at a different venue, but I think it will be a nice trip down memory lane to revisit such a beautiful town!

That’s the plan for the summer. I am stoked to take a break from plastic and focus on some hard projects for the summer. I have three major ones in mind. I think in the end I’ll have to boil it down to just one (but hopefully 2!). They include the following:
1. Endless Summer (13d) @ Acephale
2. Leviathan (14a) @ Acephale
3. The Illusionist (14a) @ Planet X
But I will have to hold that thought for one more weekend…

This year I decided to tighten up my booties and try my hand once again at some World Cups. Particularly exciting was the first WC ever to be held on Canadian soil, in my favourite town, which you all know by now…Canmore 🙂
You can read an overview of the competition that I wrote for the Gripped website here. But I would like to give a quick personal account from last weekend, because I think my experience is one that should be shared, because I learned alot from it!

First of all, let’s clear the air: I did terribly. There really is no way around it. I pooped the bed. 27th out of 29th place is not something that I am really that proud of. Sure, I am proud that I competed. That I was there for my country and for myself. That I smiled through out the qualifying round even though I knew after the first problem that I wasn’t climbing well. I smiled all the way until I ran behind the wall. Then the tears came, and they came hard. I was mad, I was ashamed that I didn’t read 3 out of the 5 problems properly, and I was really upset with the fact that I instantly knew just how poorly I had done. I knew I was better than that, and it ate me up inside. It wasn’t until the next morning that the knot of frustration in my chest began to ease and I was able to think clearly again.

It was one competition. I have competed in an innumerable amount in the past, and I am sure to have many more to come in the future. Sure, it sucked that it was this particular competition. I mean, first one in Canada! Argh! But I have to take a deep breathe in and just let it go. That breathe got caught up inside of me for a bit, but I think I can breathe out again. Competitions are a funny thing. As I sat by the wall, wiping my tears away, I watched as the route setters immediately set about taking down the blocs that had kicked my toosh only minutes ago. It all seemed so pointless to me. Why put so much time and energy into something that in an instant is gone? It is so different from rock climbing, where your project will remain long after you yourself are no more than a pile of dust (Unless your project happens to be on Yam..or at Grassi. Wink!)

But I think there is more to competition than just the boulders or routes you climb. It’s a test for yourself and for others. It’s a motivator to push yourself, to prove to yourself and to others just how hard you can work to be the best. It’s a venue to draw talented climbers from all over to come together, to form friendships, to push the standards, and to create a passionate atmosphere. It’s (usually!) a ton of a fun. It’s a bucket you pour all your emotions into. I am my most vulnerable at competitions, because I care so much about it. I care about my performance and the outcome. I think that is what has brought me to where I am today. It hurts like hell what I fall (figuratively, but sometimes literally as well!), but when I accomplish my goal and stand up tall, I am so happy! Either way, I stay motivated.

After this competition, I am motivated. I am motivated to stay positive. To push myself through thick and thin. I have another WC this weekend in Vail. My goal is to keep my eyes open wide and my heart open even wider. I want to smile even after I run behind the wall. I want to push myself to be as strong a climber as the likes of Anna Stohr, Julianne Wurm, Akiyo Noguchi or Jain Kim. Those girls inspire me to no end!

Anna Stohr: Climber Extraordinaire. Photo: Simon Parton

A big congrats goes to Sean McColl for placing 3rd! I definitely had tears on my eyes watching him climb. I hope he has a fun and fulfilling summer in Europe this year!

I also want to congratulate all the Canadians. You rock! I especially want to congratulate my sister, Stacey, because she rocks! As well, congrats to Alannah Yip for rocking such a wonderful first WC performance, and Josh Muller for killing it. Final, a big congrats to my boyfriend, Ryan Olson, for entering into the competition fairly last minute and putting in a strong performance! Super proud of everyone!

Sean McColl finishing up the problem that earned him the bronze. Photo: Simon Parton
Jamie Chong smiling through the low percentage moves on Qualifier 5. Photo: Simon Parton

See some more wicked photos from the event, taken by Pam Eveleigh here! Check out the ones of my sis (the crazy canuck with short hair) jumping off of the 5th qualifying problem. Psyched!!!

So wish my luck for Vail! I know I will come back smiling, because I get a whole three months of fun, fun, fun! I will leave you with the cutest photo ever of my little pup, Logan, trying to stay warm at a mission up to Planet X yesterday. It was COLD!

Best!!

Trendy pup!

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