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Lead Climbing World Cup 2016: Chamonix, Villars-sur-Ollon and Briançon

August 26, 2016

Chamonix was my first lead World Cup. I knew that the competition would be strong since most climbers there had been competing on the international scene since a while. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since this was my first world event.

 

 Watching other competitors on my first qualification route in Briançon, France

 

I knew for sure that the routes would definitely feel much harder than what I had experienced at the provincial or national level... I wasn’t too surprise to see that several female competitors that made finals were in their last years of youth competition or just coming out of the youth circuit. To give you a rough idea about the grades, women qualifications in World Cup events are normally around 8a+ (13c) flash, semi-finals around 8b (13d) onsite and finals 8b+ (14a) onsite.

 

 First qualification route, Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland

 

Falling relatively low on the wall was definitely frustrating, and I did get at time angry with myself. I never felt like I physically couldn't do the move or that I was too pumped.  I simply made mistakes. Among other things, I blame my inexperience in climbing competition at this level on this. There is a learning curve on everything, and competition climbing in world events isn’t an exception!

 

 The focus is on...

 

The first couple of moves on most of the routes at all three World Cup wasn’t particularly hard, but each time you suddenly had an intensity change in the route, mainly when the angle changed. It is very easy to make a small mistake on these routes, and I got cut not being able to fix them on most of the routes. These small mistakes proved to be unforgiving at this level...

 

Trying hard in the first qualification route, Briançon

 

I came to realize that we have a long way to go in Canada to be able to keep up with the level of other competitors across the world.  When you hear that the trainer of the German climbing team earns around 4 million Euros a year to train the team, it definitely rings a bell...

 

Crimping hard in Briançon

 

Unless you have the chance to get introduced to world events as a youth, train in a facility where you can be exposed to a wall somehow similar to what you might encounter on the World Cup circuit, are surrounded by liked minded competition climbers, have a trainer that knows what he/she is talking about, are ready to trade a lot of outdoor climbing to train in the gym most of the time, and potentially consider living in Europe for a while to experience a few full World Cup seasons, you might have a hard time making your way up there. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but honestly this is what I came to realize while there. Training really hard isn’t quite enough; there is much more to it... 

 

 Second qualification route, Briançon

 

I wasn't necessarily pleased with how the results ended up for me after the three competitions came to an end, but I also learned through my career as a professional horse trainer and competitor that defeat is valuable. I learned that there is always (always!) room to improve, and that there is extreme power in a single movement, especially at this level.

 

 Hard moves right from the start

 

Through all of life‘s challenges - and there are plenty - my childhood lessons from competing in the equestrian world have held true. Failing and moving on has helped prepare me to grow as a climber. Not taking myself too seriously has kept me motivated to chase climbing competition in the last two years. And most importantly, experiencing world events after climbing since a few years is an important accomplishment and all worth while!

 

 The crowd for finals in Chamonix, France

 

As for now, I am in Céüse (France) outdoor climbing a lot. There is something about the way I feel while outdoor climbing I cannot explain. I guess it is just my world, where I truly feel I belong. I am training hard all winter to perform in comps, but afterall my ultimate goal is to get stronger on the rock.

 

I am heading back home on August 20th. Specific training for the next comp season starts for me in September, so until then I am making sure that my body and soul are enjoying the remaining time outside as much as they can :)

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