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Interview with Tosh Sherkat on Competing and More

Tosh Sherkat is a team Canada athlete with a number of big wins to his name. He will be competing at the Canadian Youth Bouldering Nationals at Hive North Shore in Vancouver this weekend.

How long have you been climbing? My parents introduced me to climbing when I was about four years old and I climbed on and off until I was about 10 or 11 when I joined the local youth team in Nelson, B.C. I started competing at the age of 13.

It definitely stung to fall matching that last hold… nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed Bouldering Provincials @pccloverdale ! Thanks for hosting a great comp at a great gym! Despite not quite having the performance in finals that I wanted, finishing 8th in Open, 2nd in Junior, I realized that by making finals at Provincials, I made finals in all the comps I've been to this year! So STOKED! It's privilege and an honour to compete with some of the best climbers in Canada, and y'all are pretty fun to hangout with in iso! ANOTHER cool experience for me last weekend was being able to coach the athletes from the @climbgroundup team! These kids crushed! Much different experience being on the coaching end, mad respect to Andrew Wilson from @climbbase5gym for being my coach! Again, big thanks to my parents who make all of this possible for me! . #climbing #sportclimbingbc #e9canada #e9clothing #bouldering #coaching #mattysliquidchalk

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Where are you from? Born and raised in Nelson, but lots of places around western Canada can lay some claim on me. Unfortunately, about when I was 12 the climbing gym in Nelson closed down and I actually stopped climbing for almost two years. In pursuit of my climbing, I’ve lived in Victoria, Canmore and now Squamish and been able to work and train with amazing coaches and athletes around western Canada.

What was your first comp? I believe my first comp was in Spokane, at the Wild Walls gym almost 8 years ago. I don’t remember how I did, but I do remember winning the “most passionate about the sport” award and a free pair of shoes, a memory that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

Does everyone in your family climb? Both my parents climb, but their love of climbing originated and stays in the outdoors. My sister Tula is also a competitive climber, she recently took the Provincial title in Youth C Bouldering.

How many world events have you competed in? Last year I was fortunate enough to qualify for World Championships in Paris and Youth World Championships in Guangzhou. Although getting totally crushed, it was a super cool experience and I hope to do some more this upcoming season!

Any fond memories? Too many. After Paris I was able to sneak down to Font with a few fellow competitors and got lost in the sea of boulders that reside in the south of France. Definitely going back soon. And after China my family, accompanied by good friend and competitor Nathan Smith, went to Thailand to do some climbing. Although masses of climbers go in and out of Tonsai per week, the community feel there is so strong and welcoming, the cheering of the crowds from the bars at night almost makes you climb harder!

How has your comp year been this year? Really good so far. A huge improvement from last year where I only made one open final, this year I’ve managed to make open final in every competition I’ve attended. This year has also been a big step for me as I have recently become a part of the Ground Up coaching team. Coaching has always been of interest to me and I’ve been lucky to have some great influences in that area throughout the years.

What mental prep do you do before a comp? Tons of mock comps. I’m really lucky to be a part of the Climb Base5 open team where we have mock comps almost every weekend. Using mock comps to envision how you will feel during the comp, lets you find ways to deal with those feelings before hand. This method has been allowing me to get to comps and just CLIMB without having to think too hard about my strategy.

How often do you train and at what gym? Do you have a coach? I’m part of the Open Team at Climb Base5 led by Andrew Wilson and Len Chong. I’ve worked with Andrew for a few years now, but now being a part of the open team has been such an honour, as many of the original Edge team crushers are my teammates. Last year I tried out for it and most certainly wasn’t ready for the level that was expected  it’s really a confidence booster that I made the team this year. I train about four or five days a week, mostly at Ground Up in Squamish, but I make the journey to Base5 once a week.

What are your thoughts heading into this weekend? Goals? Mostly positive, its really hard to stop yourself from being nervous so its better just to accept it and just be excited. Last year went pretty well for me and this year I’ve been feeling a lot stronger so I think it will go well. I mean, my goals when I go into these competitions is just to give myself the most opportunities possible to climb the best I can, which is really all I can hope for.

What problems are you best at? I would like to say that I am well rounded, but I think I do prefer a good power problem. I like to power scream, so these problems really suit me theatrically and of course, the photos look better when you’re bearing down on some really bad holds.

Any last minute training before hand? It’s really tempting to get some last minute training in, but I’ve experienced over training effect my performance in past competitions so I’ll probably stay away this round. I have been working on doing more coordination moves with my teammate Kyle Murdoch, who is the absolute master at those things. Hopefully all the training from the season will pay off this weekend.

Will you be competing in Lead this year? I will be. Quite excited for Ground Up’s Gravity Wars comp the weekend after Youth Nationals.