MEC Canadian Bouldering Nationals

It was the Canadian Bouldering Championships last weekend at Coyote Rock Gym in Ottawa.

The organization of the comp decided to change the format and add a semifinal round only a week prior to the comp.  This format change added a little pressure to everyone as only top 6 competitors would advance to finals letting no room for errors. It was a mental challenge, but I had prepare all season to be ready for that comp and I was feeling good. My main focus was to be able to get in the ”zone” to be able to climb at my best without stopping my flow. I have a tendency to climb differently in comps because I try to avoid risky moves. I think I managed to get rid of this barrier and it helped me to climb well. I still have to work on this but I think it was a lot better.

Qualifier problems were kind of hard for a first round with some tricky problems. Top 20 was going to semifinals and I was sitting in 6th place with 3 tops.

We had a strong field of competitors in semi-finals so I was more nervous about that round with only 6 passing to finals with a minimum of 4 Canadians. I was climbing right after my American friend Josh Larson and he was climbing well so it helped me being more focus. The only thing I knew about how the other competitors were doing was what Josh did and he was doing well so I had no choice to climb as well as him to stay in the game. I flashed number one without too much troubles. Second was in a roof and I knew Josh did it fast. I grabbed the bonus hold and went a bit passed it but could not complete it in five minutes. I had to stay focus and stay positive. I still had 2 problems to do and couldn’t let my emotions ruins my round. Problem 3 was a balancy problem on volumes with an awkward jump to the finishing hold. It took me couple tries to get use to the boulder and finally stuck it with only couple seconds left! In my five minutes rest on the chair, I heard the crowd cheering for Josh who sent my next problem. I knew the problem was doable and that I’d probably need it to go to the next round. With how I felt on #2 I knew it was the same kind of problem and that I’d only have one good try. I fell twice on the first move trying to go straight to the next hold. I don’t know why I didn’t see the obvious wall that I realized was there only on my third try. I gave it a good go and sent it! I was super happy to learn that I was in fourth place.
Dylan Barks and Josh Larson from the US were in the top spots followed by Sean McColl, Me, Jason Holowach and Yves Gravelle.
On the girl’s side, the top finalists were in order: Kerry Briggs, Jelisa Dunbar, Celeste Wall, Elise Sethna, Thomasina Pidgeon, Marieta Akalski.

Finals Problem #1 Photo: Aidas Odonelis

Finals Problem #1
Photo: Aidas Odonelis

Finals Problem #4 Photo: Aidas Odonelis

Finals Problem #3
Photo: Aidas Odonelis

The format of the finals was new to me. I saw lots of comps with that format but it was my first time doing it. Two minutes observing each problem. Then we were all climbing each boulder one after the other with a 4 minutes+. Problem 1 involved a sideway dyno to a volume slapping a sloper on the way then a weird feet high move to the last hold. On my first go, I tried to stop on the sloper instead of doing a dyno to the next hold and fell. It was one of those mistake where I try to avoid dynos and it doesn’t work. I sent it on my third try. Talking with the other guys in isolation, I knew they all flashed it except Yves in 2 tries. The second problem was super hard for me and I couldn’t even match the second hold. I was a little disappointed going back in iso with the other guys sticking at least the bonus hold except for Josh that also had a hard time on this one. Sean flashed it.

I knew problem 3 was my chance since last one was another powerful boulder. It was a long traverse on volumes and tricky moves. I fell once after getting the bonus and sent on my next try. Only Jason, Josh and I sent this one. It then felt like it was still possible. The last boulder was another long one making us do multiple turns around in the big bulge. It seemed super hard, and it was! I managed to touch the bonus hold on my first try and I knew from the crowd that it was going well. I took a long rest before trying it again. I stuck the bonus, continued to the next one but couldn’t move my feet so I jumped to the sloper but it was unfortunately too hard. The other guys didn’t do better.

Finals Problem #4 Photo: Aidas Odonelis

Finals Problem #4
Photo: Aidas Odonelis

Finals Problem #4 Photo: Aidas Odonelis

Finals Problem #4
Photo: Aidas Odonelis

Hearing the girls in iso. Their problems were super hard and there was not a lot of sends. I had the chance to see the amazing send of Kerry on the last problem making a second effort to stay on the wall. The crowd went crazy!

I’m very happy with my performance! I kept my 4th place!

The Final results:

Male (Open)
Rank Name Topouts Bonus Semis Qualifiers
1 McColl, Sean 2 / 2 4 / 6 3/3T – 5/4B 5/6T – 4/5B
2 Holowach, Jason 2 / 2 3 / 6 2/2T – 5/4B 3/3T – 4/5B
3 Larson, Josh 2 / 4 3 / 3 4/6T – 5/4B 3/6T – 4/6B
4 Lazure, Sébastien 2 / 5 3 / 4 3/9T – 5/7B 3/6T – 4/5B
5 Barks, Dylan 1 / 1 4 / 5 4/5T – 5/4B 3/3T – 4/5B
6 Gravelle, Yves 1 / 2 3 / 5 2/3T – 5/5B 3/5T – 4/6B

Female (Open)
Rank Name Topouts Bonus Semis Qualifiers
1 Sethna, Elise 2 / 2 3 / 4 1/1T – 5/3B 5/9T – 3/9B
2 Briggs, Kerry 1 / 1 3 / 6 2/2T – 4/6B 4/7T – 4/7B
3 Wall, Celeste 0 / 0 2 / 4 1/1T – 5/6B 4/7T – 4/10B
4 Dunbar, Jelisa 0 / 0 0 / 0 2/4T – 5/5B 4/8T – 3/9B
5 Pidgeon, Thomasina 0 / 0 0 / 0 1/1T – 4/3B 3/12T – 3/14B
6 Akalski, Marieta 0 / 0 0 / 0 1/1T – 5/6B 3/8T – 3/10B

Photo: Aidas Odonelis

Photo: Aidas Odonelis


In the overall ranking of the season Jason won the battle for the cup and I arrived in second. I had a very good season!  Kerry won on the women’s side for her second time. Overall ranking: Here

After a small rest, I’ll be training again in sight of doing World Cups this summer. I’ll be going to the ones in Switzerland and Innsbruck in May then come back for Hamilton in June! It’ll be lots of good experiences and I hope to be at my best!
Big Thanks to Aidas Odonelis for the pictures. (



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