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Indoor Weekly: Champ Allison Vest Talks Nationals 2018

Canadian 2018 Boulder champ Allison Vest Photo Aidas Odonelis

Allison Vest won the 2018 Boulder Nationals and is the new Canadian champion, taking the title from 2017 winner Alannah Yip.

The comp took place at Up the Bloc in Ontario on March 3 and 4 and had many of Canada’s top Female climbers, including Yip, Becca Frangos and Alyssa Weber.

Vest grew up competing based out of Alberta. In 2012, she placed third at the PanAmerican Youth Championships in Youth A and 2016 she finished 25th at the IFSC World Cup Mumbai.

Next to Vest on the podium at Up the Bloc was Yip in second and Bronwen Karnis. We touched vase with Vest after her big win.

Did you think you’d become National champ on March 4? Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about it. I wanted to qualify to be able to compete on the World Cup circuit this year and to try and stay in a good head space throughout the event but I didn’t necessarily have winning as an outcome goal.

Moving and competing with confidence has always been a challenge for me so it’s best to try not to think about it too much (although I normally put a lot of pressure on myself anyway).

How were you feeling heading in? Nervous! I have never felt that anxious before an event in my entire competition career. I’m not really sure why. I had an elbow injury just a few before the event so that played into it I think.

Had you been training specifically for the comp? I have been training with Jeff Thomson and Christian Core all season, mostly working our way up to the World Cup season.

But yes, this was the first big event we were preparing for.

What was Qualifications like? Like I said before, I was really nervous before the event and that showed in the qualification round for me.

I was hesitant and shaky and it affected my climbing for sure.

What were Semis like? I was going into semi-finals in 10th place and my goal was to just not move down in the rankings.

This goal relieved some of the pressure and I was able to focus on me and my climbing. The competition became about me and the boulder that I was on which clearly helped me out in the round.

What were the Finals problems like? Did they play into your strengths? The first Women’s boulder saw no tops or bonuses so it was a bit of a write off.

The next three were really fun and doable in relatively few attempts which made the competition very tight and left little room for error.

I keep saying it again and again but all of the women who made finals (and really, all of the athletes who were in attendance) are so freaking strong right now.

It is really exciting for me to be competing along side them and pushes me to train hard.

On top of that, they are really outstanding human beings too who are so engaging, kind, and fun to be around in isolation and between rounds.

I feel very blessed to be a part of competition climbing in Canada.

When did you know you had won the comp? After I topped the final boulder I knew that Alannah Yip and I would be close in the results but I was also just relieved to have sent.

It wasn’t until I hit the ground that I got a hug tackle from Becca Frangos who said, “You did it! You won!”

After that I was bombarded with hugs and congratulations and I was in tears.

It was a very visceral reaction and incredibly cool to experience all those emotions at once.

How did you celebrate? With a big ol’ bowl of Pho with some of my favourite people.

What’s next in 2018? Next up will be the start of the World Cup season!

I have competed on the circuit before but never done all that well so I hope to change that this year.

Yip had such a successful season last year and really made her mark as a trailblazer for competitive climbing in Canada which was so inspiring to me.

In addition, there has been some pretty massive and incredibly exciting changes to the structure and board of the CEC which will make it so much easier for athletes to compete and get the support they need.

Big things are ahead in this sport and I am elated to play even a small role in making them a reality.

Click on the clip below to play and be sure to follow Vest on Instagram for more great action.