For the first World Cup of the 2016 season I got to go back to Switzerland! I arrived in Zurich at 8am local time after 12.5 hours of flying the day before qualifiers. I met other members of the Canadian Bouldering Team at the airport and we drove directly to the town of Meiringen, where the competition was to be held. We had a quick lunch and promptly passed out for a few hours to try to shake some of that jet lag off. Elise Sethna (the other Canadian woman competing) and I took a walk around the town before attending the opening ceremonies.
I was so tired it was easy to sleep that night (I feel like jet lag is going to be one of those recurring themes on this trip). The men’s qualifiers were the next morning and luckily all the Canadians (Sean McColl, Andre DeFelice, and Will Johnson) were out early. That meant that Elise and I could watch all of their climbs before we had to go eat some lunch and get to isolation for qualifiers.
- Problem 1: Slab. Right out of the gate they hit me with the angle I am least confident on. I really struggled with this one and started to panic as I flailed on the first move but forced myself to step back and for a few seconds before trying again. This definitely helped me and I ended up at least getting the bonus hold.
- Problem 2: I previewed and felt like it had a bit of a tricky sequence but I was confident that I understood it and that I could climb it. The first move was very different from what I previewed but the rest was fine.
- Problem 3: I knew I could flash this, being a fairly powerful climber with good hand strength, but I rushed my climbing and kept falling. What I failed to realize right away was that it was powerful but also quite delicate. Finally I managed to get it on my 4th and final attempt.
- Problem 4: An overhanging volume climb. I previewed and thought that I might be able to climb it….then I got on the wall and it felt hopeless. My next attempts got progressively worse and I failed to even reach the bonus hold.
- Problem 5: From the ground the moves to the bonus hold looked perfect for a double clutch dyno. However as I had been standing in front of problem 4, the girl who was trying said dyno had fallen and nearly kicked me in the face. Needless to say I was a little hesitant to try it…which actually worked in my favour. Doing the two moves without dyno-ing was quite easy. The top was interesting as well: it looked quite similar to a men’s qualifier from the morning, but you had to make your way around a volume the opposite way (left first vs. right first). That meant that those girls who had watched the guys climb would usually try it the wrong way and fall. I had watched the guys and thought about trying it their way but it felt much too hard, so I backtracked and ended up flashing the problem.
My final score of 3t6 4b9 was enough to put me in 8th place in my group and 16th place overall, which meant that I was going to semifinals the next day! Sean had also qualified in the men’s field in 4th place overall.
The next morning I was psyched and calm – I felt ready. But when I got out to the first problem…that calm cool and collected feeling disappeared. I couldn’t really make sense of the sequence on the first one, which forced a “facing out” start, and after five minutes I still had no idea what to do. The second problem was another slab and again, I could establish on the start but after that could not do anything.
The third problem looked doable to me – crimpy and body tensiony. However my first go I didn’t try hard enough and then it took me a few tries to actually stick the bonus hold. Too many attempts and not enough rest hooped me and I was too tired to finish the problem.
The fourth problem was again a gong show. I couldn’t figure out where I wanted my hands on these volumes and by this time in the round was pretty down. I knew I was placing right at the bottom of the field and (unfortunately) I let this affect my level of try hard.
I finished the round with just one bonus and a placing of 17th – my best placing in a World Cup event ever! I was definitely disappointed with how I climbed in semifinals but I am also realistic. It was a tough round. The problems were difficult and confusing. I am extremely happy with my qualifier round, both physically and mentally. I climbed (pretty) well on the problems that played to my strengths and although my weaknesses stood out like a sore thumb, being in Europe for the next few days gives me a chance to really work on my slab and volume climbing.
Today we had a lazy rest day watching the Youth D climbers (under 12 years old) in their Swiss National Bouldering Championships. It was so cool that their competition was on the world cup wall and their problems looked amazing as well.
My next few days will be spent in Zurich before flying to Tokyo for the next World Cup next weekend, training and hanging out with friends.