As a professional athlete, a rock climber to be more specific I am very grateful and lucky to have such cool experiences. A good friend and coach of mine Mike Doyle named one of his routes A.D.A.T.O. which stands for “Another Day At The Office”. Whenever I’m climbing outside or on a cool trip, I try to remember that my office is constantly changing and many would love to be in my position. I love what I do and I work hard to make sure I can continue doing it! Another cool fact is that Josie Hetyei from Vancouver just became the first Canadian Women to redpoint 5.14b by doing ADATO!!!
Over the past week I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve been at the World Cup in Briancon France, climbed in Ceuse and got to test out a new knee-pad by SEND Climbing.
Before I left, I received my knee-pad which I’ve been pretty excited to try out. It’s too bad I didn’t have it while trying Hubble 8c+ up in the UK but at least if I go back I’ll have something for that task. I broke it in a bit at the gym and my first impression was just how well it strapped to my leg. I’ve always hated knee-pads that you have to put on from your foot because everyone’s leg is a different size. With the buckles on this kneepad, you don’t need to take your shoes off or anything and it could be the last thing you put on before a climb! I’ll talk more about the knee-pad with my adventures in Ceuse.
Briancon was the weekend of the 19-20 and a cool part of the weekend was that the Tour De France was going through the town on the same day as the qualifiers. There was also a big chance of rain and storms so they chose to move the semi-finals to the first day. There wasn’t too much of a surprise in qualifiers. As it was almost the same route setting team as in Chamonix, they were hard qualifiers. Of all the routes, there was only 4 tops, 3 on one of the women’s routes. The slightly poor result of the qualification was that 2 of the routes were “impossible” or merely not done on that particular day.
On my first route which was out right, I knew the top 6 moves were very hard. Because it’s flash, I chose prior to my attempt to skip the last draw all the way until the last move. I chose this because I was wondering if I’d fall if I clipped. In the end, I kept advancing on the route, had a huge run out for the last draw but still managed to clip it and tag the final jug. If the route had been a semi-final or final, I would’ve just clipped earlier and probably topped the route.
Because I chose to skip the draw, I eventually had to clip on the second to last hold in a slightly awkward position. Once I had done the clip, I couldn’t go back to rest so I just looked up and the last hold seemed pretty far. I jumped but didn’t think I’d get the distance. When I DID get the distance, I wasn’t anticipating having to catch anything so I fell out of a jug!
I was the last competitor on my second route and got up near the top in 6th position or something. The left route was much less enjoyable to climb as I was the 74th competitor to touch the first 20 moves and it felt like they were so slippery.
Semi-finals were later that evening as the weather forecast for day 2 was terrible. I went out 20th and the route looked similar to that of a final. I climbed pretty well and only got bogged down on one move in the roof after I was convinced my foot had to go high. I got to a big yellow hold as an undercling and knew the next move was going to be hard. I found a hand-foot match heel hook and grabbed the next hold out of sequence. From there I could easily clip the draw. As I was a little pumped, I was trying to think quickly. I knew I had to have my left hand on the hold, but there 3 different methods possible, two of which were crazier than the obvious. I could match hands (risky), I could match hands out left and cross (less risky, but still not what the route setter had intended), or I could do it as the route setter intended and go off the big yellow undercling. I chose the third one because I thought I would do the move. As I was coming in, my left foot came off at the last moment, followed by my hand.
I wasn’t happy with how I climbed that last move, but was very happy with the rest of the route. On top of that I wasn’t too pumped and I think I could’ve done at least a few more moves. Such is life and I was wailing off the wall. My try was over and the crowd was cheering. Unable to know if I was in finals or not, it changed nothing, my attempt was over. I waved at the crowd as I always do and smiled for my love of competing. It’s in these moments where luck plays a small part in competition. If I climb perfectly, I usually advance to finals. Here I didn’t climb perfectly, but there was still a chance that others also made errors. After finding out the results, I was indeed in finals!
As you probably already know, the finals for the World Cup had to be cancelled due to bad weather. The next day, it rained most of the day and the wall was pretty wet. We were all in isolation waiting for the wall to dry out when a lightning storm started. The lightning got closer and closer until finally struck the building next to the wall. Our whole block of power went out and we were in the dark. 5 minutes later, the organizers came in and said they had to cancel the finals.
It’s very unfortunate to have finals cancelled especially for me because I normally thrive in finals. In semi-finals, most of us are just trying to “make” the next round so we aren’t taking many risks. In Finals, everything is on the table and normally climbers who take good calculated risks come out on top. They took the results of the semi-finals so I finished in 6th place. Sachi Amma from Japan took his second victory of the season and Romain Desgranges from France and Jakob Schubert from Austria completed the podium. This was Romain’s first Silver medal so that was pretty cool to see.
On the women’s side, Jain took her 3rd straight victory of the season with Magdalena Rock and Anak Verhoeven taking second and third.
After Briancon, we took off to Ceuse for a few days and it was so much fun. I have so many good memories of being in Ceuse with JJ Mah and Marshal German from our Europe trip in 2008 that they all came rushing back and brought so many smiles to my face. I remembered us getting lost or not having enough food and could even remember where everything had happened.
I climbed in Ceuse for 3 days, but our first and third days were only half days. I knew I wouldn’t be there long enough to try anything crazy but I worked out all the moves on “Le Cadre” as well as “Biographie”. The next photo is me at the top of Biographie setting up a static line.
I’d love to go back there for a longer period of time, but finding the time to do that with my double world cup season is hard. I also got a chance to test out my new kneepad more.
The knee pad starts out a bit “hard” but just like a climbing shoe after a few times using it it breaks in quite nicely. I hope I can find a route that really uses a knee bar so I can take full advantage of my new tool!
For this knee-pad, it comes in two sizes and mine is the smaller one. I thought it was a perfect size though and like I said before, the ease of which you can put it on is extremely comfortable.
Next on my plate is the World Cup in Imst which is August 1st and 2nd. After that, the trade show in Salt Lake City!!!