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Calgarian Paige Boklaschuk Talks V10, 5.13 and Olympics

The top Canadian comp climber had her best rock season to date

Calgary climber Paige Boklaschuk spent the past few months working hard rock climbs and came away with her first V10 and first 5.13c. We touched base with her shortly after he send of Chaos Amidst the Serenity V10 in B.C.

Like many comp climbers, Boklaschuk had her 2019/20 season cut short, which ultimately just shifted focus from indoor to out.

“Although I was disappointed to miss out on so many competitions during the pandemic,” she said, “I was able to redirect my energy towards climbing outside. I spent quite a bit of time at Acephale.”

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For those who’ve never climbed at Acephale, Boklaschuk said, “It’s known as a humbling and bouldery crag; many climbers will train all winter for the hardest moves up there.”

The steep sport routes forced Boklaschuk out of her comfort zone. “I’m already really scared on a rope outside, and being surrounded by so many strong climbers made everything feel more intense.”

Top climbers like Ellen Powick, Mike Doyle and Sonnie Trotter were making regular trips to the northeast facing crag on Heart Mountain. And while it’s intimidating having so many legendary sport climbers at one crag, it can often help you push yourself harder than ever… once the nerves calm down.

“Everyone up there was pushing their own personal boundaries so it created a really supportive atmosphere,” Boklaschuk said. After climbing Class in Session 5.13a, she would go on to send her first 5.13c with Army Ants; skipping 5.13b altogether.

“Sending Army Ants was way beyond anything I’d done outside until that point,” she said. “It was a really cool moment. None of the moves felt near my limit, but connecting it all and executing while scared was a challenge.”

From the Bow Valley, Boklaschuk went west to the Okanagan Valley and the popular Kelowna Boulderfields. The area has dozens of now-classic moderate to hard problems. Before moving onto harder grades, she sent 4 Horsemen V5, Axle Rose V7 and Surf Arete V7.

“I haven’t spent a ton of time projecting boulders outside,” Boklaschuk said, “so before this trip my hardest send was V8.”

Boklaschuk is no stranger to hard problems, as she’d visited Joe’s Valley and was planning on a return before covid. “My other main outdoor bouldering experiences have mostly been in Joe’s Valley,” she said.

At Joe’s in 2018, Boklaschuk ticked The Flu V8, Planet of the Apes V7 and Chips V7.

“The only other double-digit boulder I’ve really put the time into was Finger Hut V10, which I haven’t been able to send. I was planning to go there with my team this year, but unfortunately the trip was cancelled due to covid.”

There are a number of must-try V9s at the Kelowna Boulderfields, including the one that she was going to try before another line caught her eye.

“I was planning to try Serenity Amidst the Chaos V9. However, Chaos Amidst the Serenity, a V10 on the same boulder, was so beautiful and obvious that I had to try it.”

Boklaschuk, who finished third at the 2019 Open Bouldering Nationals and fifth at the 2019 Open Lead Nationals, explained why she went for the harder line, therefore skipping a grade: “Even though it made more sense from a progression standpoint for me to try the V9, I was so much more inspired to try the harder line. Chaos Amidst the Serenity runs on a flat face with small, slotty crimps.

“The moves were subtle and it took me a while to find the right body positions. I was able to work out the moves fairly quick, then it was just a matter of precision on the slots. It felt impossible unless it was executed perfectly.”

Boklaschuk recently talked with fellow comp climber Madison Fischer for Podium Partners. They discussed training, coaches, injuries and more. In the conversation, Boklaschuk said, “I think the hardest part of training is that I have a tendency to compare myself to others and feel like I’m never doing enough.” Read the full interview here.

From 2015 to 2018, Boklaschuk was on the Canadian Youth Team and in 2016, she competed at the Youth Worlds in Guangzhou, China. She’s currently starting her first year for a bachelor of science in kinesiology.

“I wish I could climb outside more this year, but now I’m committed to school and training,” she said.

And, what is she training for? Ultimately, the Olympics. Canadians Alannah Yip and Sean McColl will be representing the country at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics next summer, but it’s the Games in four years that many young climbers are focused on.

“Competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics is my biggest dream right now,” she said. “I’m going to be over the moon when competitions start again.”

We’ve been touching base with Canadian climbers for the past few months about their 2020 sends and goals. For those interviews and profiles visit The Canadian Climber Series here.