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From Youth Star To Open National Champion

After a brutal series of rounds, the 2020 Youth Boulder National Champion earned his first Open title in the upset of the decade.

The Canadian Bouldering National Championships concluded this evening at Délire in Quebec City. The three round event took place over the last two days, providing upset after upset in what will be remembered as one of the greatest events in Competitive Canadian history.

Six women and six men approached the field in this anticipated event with fans unaware of the spectacle to come. It was incredible.

Even Canada’s newest National Champion could not have guessed it. Coming down from M4, Ethan Hoffman appeared disappointed. He had managed to take down the first two problems, seemed to doubt this would be enough. Moving onto M3 and M4, Hoffman earned Zone but could not push higher. Still, he retained first position.

Having qualified in fifth, Hoffman was the second climber to try each of the oncoming problems. Only Sean Faulkner came out before him on the powerful M4. Faulkner managed to secure Zone in four attempts. One attempt later, he became the only athlete to Top the problem.

Knowing it was close, Hoffman came out looking strong on the first moves of the boulder. He flashed through to Zone and approached the final hold. Unable to stick a powerful undercling move, he secured first position. He led Faulkner by two attempts to Top, one attempt to Zone.

Both Hoffman and Faulkner stared down the barrel of what was to come. Both Victor Baudrand and Lucas Uchida would win if the repeated Faulkner’s heroic ascent. Uchida took to that pads and found great difficulty in the paddle sequence required to acquire Zone. Changing tact, Uchida decided to go feet first with only seconds left on the clock. He pulled hard through the sloping grips before ultimately timing out before the zone.

Baudrand came next and Hoffman remained in the hot seat. Although Baudrand found a bit more swing than Uchida through the pre-set beta, he could not move to the finish. Instead, he too walked away without a Zone, but earned bronze with two fewer attempts to Top. Each of the top four athletes climbed two of the four final boulders. Although separation would occur between attempts and Zones, this density at the Top of field revealed an exciting new crew of top Canadian climbers.

In fact, the entire Top six showed promise throughout this competition. Although Nathan Smith and Oscar Baudrand concluded the round in fifth and sixth respectively, they each secured strong scores throughout the rounds. Smith earned first heading into finals where Baudrand secured second.

In the end, they may not have maintained, but this strength leaves little unclear. They all beat extremely strong competitors to be here tonight.

As Smith fell for the third time, on M4, Hoffman became the new Canadian Bouldering National Champion. Only then did it become clear that Hoffman would win. It took the final climber’s final tries to assure victory. It was at this point that Hoffman earned one of the most glorious upsets in Canadian Competition Bouldering.

Left to right: Sean Faulkner, Ethan Hoffman, Victor Baudrand – Photo by Philip Quade of Rock Digital Marketing


1 – Ethan Hoffman

2 – Sean Faulkner

3 – Victor Baudrand

4 – Lucas Uchida

5 – Nathan Smith

6 – Oscar Baudrand

Featured image of Ethan Hoffman by Philip Quade of Rock Digital Marketing