MEC Canadian Bouldering Championships

On April 14th and 15th, the Centre Vertical d'escalade hosted the MEC Canadian Bouldering Championships. I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a part of the route setting team alongside fellow Flashed team member Dustin Curtis, Adrian Das and chief setter Jody Miall. We also had the help of Sebastien from Vertical and several of his staff. Although this made for too many cooks in the kitchen, it worked out nicely and allowed us to get everything done, both qualifiers and finals in a timely manner. Our master plan was precise and easy to follow, as you can see below. Very quickly, we found out what our one major issue that we'd have to deal with would be - the unfortunate fact of missing t-nuts. Large portions of the walls were completely barren of t-nuts, making hold placement extremely frustrating. Volumes were used to help with this fact, but in the end, when only a hold would do, we grabbed the countersink bit and started piloting screw holes in the holds we wanted.

I was given the task of setting one of the qualifying problems and two of the final problems. My qualifier was men's #3, an overhanging open book that had a stem start to a dyno, followed by powerful, dynamic climbing that snaked it's way up the wall to the finish. The dyno off the start wasn't hard, but it was precise enough to throw several competitors off before sticking it. The next couple moves were easy, but then you had a hard, tensioney cross to an undercling before jumping to a sloper, then the finish.

The women's final that I got to set was problem #4. It started under a small roof and pulled a couple burly moves before getting the women onto a slightly overhanging face. From here, they had to grab a big undercling, hike the feet up super high and drive the body up, taking the undercling down as close to their knees as they could to reach the finish hold. The powerful nature of this climb was definitely out of the comfort zone for the women, but it's always good to push competitors past their limits.

The other final I set was men's #4 and it climbed out another steep section of wall on Teknik edges. The design of this problem was to separate the middle to bottom of the pack and to tire the guys out for the final problem. After a shouldery start, long pulls and lockoffs were the name of the game on men's #4.

After qualifiers, there was only one tie, and that was between Sean McColl and Alex Johnson. As a setting team, we reviewed the finals problems and made one minor tweak to one of the men's problems. We were fairly confident that the variety of climbing styles that we had incorporated into the finals problems would be enough to break the tie, but it's always nerve wracking until the tie breaks. Once finals was over, it was clear that we did our job - there wasn't a single tie across the men's or women's field; perfect division.

As much work as comp setting is, it's a ton of fun as well and I can't wait to do it again...