A few weeks back, I drove inland to Kamloops and Kelowna to attend the Tour De Bloc’s Western Regionals. From Vancouver, it’s almost a five hour drive, but it was well worth it in the end. The competition consisted of two rounds held in two different gyms on consecutive days. The qualifying round was held in Kamloops at Cliffside Climbing Gym. Most of Western Canada’s strongest guys had shown up including Sean McColl, Jamie Chong, Terry Paholek and Josh Muller. The gym had some great steep terrain and the problems were well set. I struggled through the redpoint format, but at the end of the day I had secured a spot in finals.
Finals were held in Kelowna at Beyond the Crux. The owners of the gym, Mike and April Shannon, are just plain awesome. They put on an amazing finals, and went the extra mile to make it fun and exciting for both the competitors and spectators. I finished the first problem after a frustrating foot slip off a golf ball that had been bolted to the wall. I was worried that the fall would really hurt my placement, but I was able to refocus and flash the remaining three problems. Problem three involved starting on a playground swing and swinging over the “shark tank” to get to the start holds of the problem. They actually had sharks with laser beams… amazing. In continuing with the theme, the finish hold on problem 4 was pushing the button on a singing fish. The climbing in between the shenanigans was excellent, and I would love to see more comps look like this in the future. The lightheartedness made it easy to have a good time, regardless of how I was climbing. In the end both Terry and Sean flashed all the finals, putting me right behind in third place. I was pretty satisfied with my performance, but above all I had a ton of fun. I’ll definitely be back there next year!