Happy to be Climbing

It’s been sunny here out on the West Coast for a number of days (Gasp!), making it a perfect opportunity to head up to Squamish for some sticky rock and sunny skies. Tom and I headed up to the Squish on Thursday night, to spend some time with my big bro, Chris and his girlfriend Nicole before they headed to Spain for a 2 month trip. I wasn’t jealous at all! Nope not me…

The next day, Tom and I headed out to the Smoke Bluffs for an afternoon.

Paul McSorley enjoying a little bit of Smoke Bluff Action

It was a gorgeous day, and I was able to shake off a little bit of the gear rust and do a bit of trad climbing myself. It’s so humbling to watch trad climbers sail up cracks in the smooth and effortless way that I feel when sport climbing. Then I hop on that same route, and the words “smooth” and “effortless” aren’t exactly what comes to mind. Nevertheless, I’m hooked, and I can’t wait to turn my trad bumbling into trad crushing! 🙂

Ass out, feet high. She sure knows what she’s doing 🙂

On Saturday, I switched up gears for my first climbing competition of the season. The Hive bouldering gym is the newest climbing establishment in Vancouver, and boy is it awesome! As a gym dedicated purely to bouldering, the gym is well laid out, with tons of wall space and amazing angles. Combine that with the mad skills of head route setter Dustin Curtis, and you have one wicked gym. The Hive was on top form this weekend for it’s first ever Tour de Bloc. The scramble format in the morning was full of fun, challenging problems. I had a blast, climbing with some really good friends from Calgary who made the trek out West. The female category was stacked, and it was a bit nerve wracking for all involved as to who would make finals. In the end, I qualified in third place, just behind Tiffany Melius (Vancouver) and Regan Kennedy (Calgary).

After a couple hours of rest and a quick power nap, I entered into isolation for the evening’s finals. Isolation was full of good vibes and laughter. It was so inspiring and fun to be in a room filled with great friends and friendly competitors. Just being in this room full of new and old friends rekindled my love for competition climbing and just plain climbing in general. This is what it’s all about. Climbing is an individualistic sport, but in many ways, it’s defined by it’s community. I was full of happy thoughts when I turned around to view the first problem, and I remained happy all the way through finals.

Regan Kennedy on Problem #2

In the end, the finals problems were a tad too hard. For the female category, only one problem was sent by two competitors, Kelly Drager (Calgary) and myself. The rest of the problems, we were all happy if we made it to the bonus hold. They were well set problems, and I enjoyed myself on each one, but boy did I sure feel powered out at the end of the competition.

Making my way through the delicate moves of problem 2. This was the only problem to see a send during the comp.

The winner of the competition for the girls was Calgary’s own, Kelly Drager. I was ecstatic that Kelly took first place, for so many reasons. First of all, because it’s KELLY! If you’re reading this and you know KD, you’re nodding your head right now. Kelly is a bundle of joy. She’s always smiling, making jokes, and making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Secondly, Kelly didn’t even think that she had made finals in this competition. She ended up qualifying in 6th place. With only 6 girls moving to finals, she had just made it! In the end, she was the only girl to flash the 2nd problem, which by the way had a huge dynamic move at the end. And Kelly ain’t no giant if you know what I’m saying. Wink! It goes to show what no expectations, a big smile, and “go big or go home” mentality can get you. So proud of you KD!

Staring down the final move of problem 2
First place winner, Kelly Drager!

Overall, it was a great experience. I had a ton of fun and didn’t get my head wrapped around numbers. I remained uninjured (a real feat for me I have to say!), and I was able to reunite with a number of friends from Calgary that I truly love and miss dearly. A big congrats to Matthew Johnson for pulling an alleged “off the couch” win in a deep field of male competitors.

Matt Johnson pulling hard for the boys on Problem 2

The last few days have served as a reminder just how positively climbing has influenced my life.    It’s the beautiful places we live, and the community of people I love that truly keep me grounded, sane and happy.

The 6 girls and 8 boys who got their butts kicked at the Hive TDB. Thanks Dustin Curtis (bottom right) for all your hard work! We know now that we need to step it up!

Go here for full competition results!

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