"As the New Year settled in, the Olympics weren’t the only motivating event taking place on home soil. The Canmore Vsion Climbing gym, my home gym, was hosting the Adult Open Tour de Bloc Bouldering Competition. When competing at my home gym in a field of competitors twice my age, the desire to do well was exceptionally strong.
Once the chalk settled from the qualifying round, I managed to climb to the top spot, with Catherine Vaillancourt following in 2nd, and Selena Wong in 3rd. The Vsion has many interesting angles and features that route setters would go crazy for, so I was expecting an interesting final round, with no room for mistakes.
In the final round, there were four problems, with the 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off format. One very interesting route was problem 3. It started with a mini-dyno, following by swinging yourself across a roof using only core strength and pinching slippery baseballs hanging freely from the roof, and to finish it up, you mantled against an opposing wall with very bad ‘no-shadow’ feet holds (thank you sticky, Stealth® rubber for helping me not slip off those feet!) After the demanding final round completed and the results were in, I managed to keep my top spot and take home the gold for my home gym. I managed to on-sight all four problems, being the only woman to finish all the problems. The men’s round was even more interesting with Terry Paholek and Sam Tucker taking gold and silver respectively.
Unfortunately, youth appearance at Tour de Bloc competitions is seldom seen in Canada. Yet, surprisingly enough, the only two youth competitors at this event, Sam Tucker, and myself, both placed in the top two spots in a field of the best adult competitors in Canada. It is great to see youth succeeding in Adult competitions. Winning this competition makes me undefeated in both the Youth and Adult circuits so far this season!
Last season, I placed a very proud 3rd in the Tour De Bloc Canadian Bouldering National Championships, in Montreal. This year, I have my sights set on top, with hopes to place even higher on the podium in the National Adult Championships this May. Unfortunately, every other year, I have been too young to compete in the World Cup, at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. But this year, my passion is stronger than ever, and now that I am finally old enough, World Cup here I come!"
- Elise Sethna
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