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Inside the West Coast’s Base5 Open Performance Team

The open performance team at Climb Base5 is preparing for its second season, aiming to again provide high-level training opportunities for aspiring young adults. This past year, the eight-person team competed in all local events in B.C. and Washington, as well as the Provincial and National Championships. Two members, Alannah Yip and Maria Celkova, are currently competing in the full World Cup Boulder series.

Andrew Wilson Head Coach Open Performance Team and Youth Performance 4 Life Programs. Photo Shane Murdoch
Andrew Wilson is head coach of Open Performance Team. Photo Shane Murdoch

The program got its start with initiative from the athletes. “Tiffany Melius organized the group and chased me to put something together for several months. I pitched it to Dan Poggi [Base5 owner], got Matt (coach)and Len (physiotherapist) on board and off we went,” says veteran coach, Andrew Wilson. “The distinct thing about this program,” explains Wilson, “is the 50 years of high performance and competition coaching experience amoung coaches, which allows for focus on athletes in competition tactics and strategies.”

Matt Johnson, a coach both with the Canadian National Team and the Open Performance Team says that the Open Performance Team offers a place for individuals interested in continuing their pursuit training beyond the youth circuit—something which has been absent from the climbing community.

Matt Johnson Head Coach Comp Performance Team. Photo Shane Murdoch
Matt Johnson is head coach of Comp Performance Team. Photo Shane Murdoch

“Historically, much of Canada has offered fairly well-structured coaching to climbers in their youth development, but left young adults more or less out in the cold. I believe that this lack of support is why so many talented young climbers fall away from the sport as soon as they turn 19. The connection, support and mentorship that the team creates between youth and open athletes is pretty powerful.”

Alannah Yip is the presiding Canadian champion in both bouldering and lead climbing. She says gratefull to have a place to train for competition climbing. “Dan has been great in setting up this open team and letting us have a lot of freedom, especially by having comp-style problems set.” Alannah sees this as a key part of the vision of bringing competition climbing forward in Western Canada.

Base5 team in between session. Photo Shane Murdoch
Base5 team in between session. Photo Shane Murdoch

The team will hold their selection process in August and seeks athletes who have a demonstrated results both competition and on rock, with a capacity to perform and who in addition to wanting to improve their own performance, want to become part of the larger climbing community. The team is currently accepting applications, visit here for more.

– Drew Copeland is a West Coast-based writer and climber. He is a regular contributor to Gripped. For more on Base5 visit here.

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