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Allison Vest and Alannah Yip Flash Hard Boulders

Team Canada's Allison Vest and Alannah Yip each flash double digit boulders in their local bouldering areas.

Though conventionally considered competition climbers, Allison Vest and Alannah Yip are two of Canada’s strongest outdoor crushers.

Though their abilities are generally tested by the intricate style of routesetting that goes along with National and International Championships, extreme finger strength and the heightened sense of body-awareness required to climb indoors, translates well to the real rock of their local areas.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, these two athletes have had to adapt their goals to maintain psych. While Vest has moved to the US to train, Yip as begun ticking off lines around B.C.

This last week has shown the intersection of these climbers’ competition prowess with the irregularly textured formations of their local areas.

On Oct. 16, Vest would flash Resident Evil, a classic V10 from Joe’s Valley. The problem ascends steep sandstone pocket-edges, on a beautifully black-streaked boulder. This line represents one of Vest’s many outdoor bouldering accomplishments, preceded by ascents such as Terminator in Squamish.

Just three days later, on Oct. 19, Canadian Olympian Alannah Yip would post her flash of Cereal Killer, a V11 in the Okanagan Valley. The steep edges of felsic granite make for some tensioned moves and severe lock offs. This newer area has been receiving increased attention recently due to is proximity and wildly different style to Squamish bouldering.

In an interview over the summer, Vest said, “One thing that I really appreciate (and sometimes honestly find frustrating) about climbing is that there is never really a cap or a limit to what an athlete is capable of. There is always going to be a harder project or another discipline or another way to experience and relate to the sport.” This appreciation for the limitless capacity of climbing is an important aspect to any climber seeking to push themselves even further in the sport.

To that effect, Yip spent the greater part of last year training to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This almost insurmountably high bar can only have increased Yip’s ability to execute under pressure, a necessary skill for flashing hard boulder problems, indoors and out. As one might expect from such an athlete, Yip credited her family and friends for their support as she worked toward her goal.

Yip concluded her reflection on her time in Kelowna, stating, “I am grateful to have been a guest on the unceded ancestral territories of the Syilx Nation,” a needful reminder of the origins of all of the beautiful places we enjoy in the outdoors.