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Team Canada’s Lucas Uchida Has Incredible Season

Lucas Uchida has taken down well over 10 double digit boulders since September, climbing four V12+ boulders in a single day.

Many of Canada’s professional climbers have had to put competition in the back seat as they respond to the pandemic. While some train at home, and others invest in home projects, many have decided to test themselves on Canada’s rock.

For some climbers, this transition offered new experiences. Others found peace in returning to their favourite crags. Ontario’s Lucas Uchida has found incredible multi-disciplinary success in this last year.

Uchida has climbed as a part of Team Canada for years. The CEC announced that Uchida would join the 2021 High Performance Program under new head coach Libor Hroza. While competition remains important to Uchida, the Toronto-based climber has always loved getting outside.

He has spent time climbing with area locals in some of Ontario’s best sport climbing crags. He has frequented Ontario’s Lion’s Head and found success on the province’s most elusive routes and boulder problems.

Following this summer of closures, Uchida headed outside and tackled the Georgian Bay test-piece: Titan 5.14a. Made famous in recent months by Sabrina Chapman’s story with the route, Uchida finished it in good style before beginning his outdoor route season.

Uchida on Personal Vendetta Direct (project) – photo by Cisco Juanes

Upon entering the Glen for the first time in over a year, Uchida would begin by taking down The Phoenix V11, Razorblade Rodeo V11, Rodeo Clown V9, and BFF V10, all in a single day. Rodeo Clown, despite its grade, remains one of the least repeated problems at the glen due to its competition-style double clutch that regularly stumps the locked off rock climber.

Day-tripping out to Calabogie, Ontario, Uchida picked up Samuel Tiukuvaara’s Intro to the Westside Story, a powerful V11. Less than a month later, Uchida would complete Karasu, his first Glen V12 before the rest of the area’s boulders began to fall. He would also complete Seppuku V10 in just a few attempts.

On November 13, Uchida would have the best single day in the Glen in recorded history. He would begin his day sending The Punt, a long V12 that has become an area classic.  He then completed the second ascent of Ethan Salvo’s Young Thugs V12 and getting the second ascent of Alex Megos’s Bruce Lee V12. Although fatigued, Uchida would also climb Megos’s Phoenix from the Ashes V13. This ascent completed his quadruple-double day.

Uchida’s incredible increase in strength seems less like an improvement in performance, but an adaptation to a discipline. His time in the Glen has not shown the limits of his ability, and instead presents Uchida as significantly stronger than the area.

This appears more the case as time moves on. Upon his return to the Glen this Spring, Uchida would achieve the second ascent of Salvo’s Rite of Passage. This problem represents the second most challenging problem in the area. Although Uchida had tried the problem once, two years ago, he had little previous experience with the boulder. To complete this problem in two sessions over two years shows incredible precision and ability.

Today Uchida works to complete the unrepeated low start to that infamous boulder. He also continues work on the scary Personal Vendetta Direct project that he and Salvo have spent a couple of sessions working.

While it remains unclear what will cap Uchida’s development going forward, it is exciting to see one of Canada’s strongest competition climbers in an area as small as the Glen.

Featured image of Lucas Uchida by Ilya Sarossy.