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Be the best climber you can be with Anna Lee

We’re excited to announce that Anna Lee (McColl) will be joining the Climb Base5 team to run a unique course for adult beginner and intermediate climbers!

Anna will be bringing her talents and skills as a climber, instructor, baker and mother of 4-time Overall World Climbing Champion Sean McColl to help adult climbers (ages 40+) improve on their climbing movement, strength, and endurance, as well as to foster friendships, provide resources and build the community.

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Since climbing at The Edge in the late 90’s, Anna considers climbing one of her many passions. In the last 20 years she’s climbed both indoors and outdoors around the world, judged climbing competitions at the local, national and international level, coached children and adults in climbing fundamentals, and, most importantly, supplied climbers, judges, route setters, gym owners and parents around the world with her amazing baked snacks and goodies!

She’s mainly a rope climber these days, trains in the gym and climbs outside when she can… she also likes bouldering, but (like some of us) doesn’t like the coming/jumping down. Not only does she want to share her love of climbing, but she’s also educated and experienced in maintaining good physical and mental health. Anna has a background in nursing and human kinetics and has worked as a nurse in hospital, community health, and palliative care settings for over 25 years.

“Anna brings to this program miles of climbing and life experience which will enable her to share her love of climbing in a safe, supportive, educational, exciting and loving way.” – Daniel Poggi, Climb Base5 Owner

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Climbing is my escape… Climb Base5 is where I feel like I’m part of a community.

He’s loyal, passionate, cares for the local climbing community, and is living a climber’s life – meet Climb Base5 community member and ambassador Julian Fok who embodies our philosophy to learn, grow, have fun and inspire!

Originally from Toronto, Julian grew up in BC and had plans to do something with his Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology degree. Instead, when the weather is right, he’s now living in a van to take advantage of his love of climbing and the outdoors… and he’s able to do it because he’s a talented freelance photographer and videographer. We’re jealous!

How did you get to live out Peter Parker’s life?
When I was studying Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology at university, I was doing part-time photography on the side. I ended up following the photography career path, and my studies became my hobby. Nowadays, I’m a freelance photographer and videographer based out of New Westminster. The flexible schedule gives me many opportunities to travel and climb.

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Adjusting your lifestyle around climbing must mean that you’ve been doing it for a while?

Actually I only started climbing in 2016 when I went with a friend to Climb Base5 using his guest pass. A few days later, I got myself a membership, and the rest is history… I used to play football and ice hockey (goaltender), but ever since I got into climbing, I’ve been exclusive to it. Since then I’ve continued to sport climb and boulder indoors and outdoors, been able to send V6, and even traveled to Yosemite, Zion National Park, Leavenworth Banff, Skaha, and of course Squamish to climb. I haven’t done it yet, but I’d love to climb The Chief!

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Sounds like you’ve been able to do the two things you love…

If I’m not climbing, I’m probably shooting, editing or traveling. If I’m not working or traveling, I’m climbing. Either way I try to combine and learn from both. My job is quite physically demanding. It doesn’t sound like much, but gripping a 5-pound camera and taking steady shots is like holding a pinch and locking off. Do that over a full day shoot, and I feel the pump just the same. It also doesn’t hurt that I can climb up and get different vantage points than others as well. If I fall, please catch my camera.

Climbing is my escape… Climb Base5 is where I feel like I’m part of a community.

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Follow Julian (@julianfok) or see how he lives a climber’s life (@vanlifevancouver) on Instagram. You can also get in touch with him on Facebook (@JulianFokProductions) or through his website.

This is part of a series to profile members of the Climb Base5 community and why they climb (#WhyIClimb).

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Andrew Wilson appointed as interim National Coach for CEC

Climb Base5’s Head Coach Andrew Wilson has been appointed as interim National Coach for Climbing Escalade Canada (CEC).

Andrew’s experience and results as a coach in Canada are well known to the climbing community and involve developing world class athletes such as Open Performance Team member and 2017 Canadian triple crown champion Alannah Yip and 4-time Overall World Climbing Champion Sean McColl.

At Climb Base5, Andrew has been developing the next generation of Canadian climbers with his vision and dedication through the Climb4Life youth development program.

“Interim National Coach is an incredible accomplishment for Andrew and the entire community. Not only is it because of all the hard work and commitment, but it’s from the love for the development of the sport and, more importantly, the development of athletes into incredible human beings,” says Climb Base5 owner Daniel Poggi.

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From left: Alannah Yip, Andrew Wilson, Sean McColl

The interim position will involve Andrew overseeing, together with CEC’s High Performance Director Jeff Thompson and the High Performance Committee, all aspects of the National Team Program. This includes reviewing policies, procedures, rules and regulations that govern the High Performance program, as well as working with the personal coaches for all National team athletes on their training programs.

“I am extremely happy that Andrew has accepted my invitation to fill the National Coach position. I needed someone in that role who has an extensive and proven track record of producing Podium athletes. Andrew’s success over many years has shown to me that he has the knowledge and skills the CEC needs at this critical juncture in our development. He is not only one of the best climbing coaches I have ever met, but also one of the best overall coaches I have ever seen in any sport,” says Thomson.

Andrew will also act as the interim coach up to and including the IFSC World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, from 6 – 16 September 2018. Following the World Championships and a review, the position of National Coach will be open to all applicants with a view to hiring a full time person.

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Climb Base5 athletes take top spot in 2018 Youth Boulder Nationals

UPDATE – Climb Base 5 athletes reached the finals in six out of the eight categories at the Youth Boulder Nationals, including Mika Hosoi and Connor Jones who took top spot in their respective categories!

See below for results of our athletes. Full results can be found here.

Junior Girls

  • Mika Hosoi – 1st (Finals)
  • Sophie Buitendyk – 3rd (Finals)
  • Chloe Earle – 4th (Finals)

Junior Boys

  • Adrian Kask – 5th (Finals)
  • Hayden Jones – 8th (Semi-Finals)

Youth A Girls

  • Brielle Zacharias – 16th (Semi-Finals)

Youth A Boys

  • Ben Newman – 6th (Finals)
  • Nathan Head – 21st (Qualifiers)

Youth B Girls

  • Sonya Colliander – 3rd (Finals)
  • Maki Koci – 6th (Finals)
  • Emi Takashiba – 9th (Semi-Finals)
  • Eladee Jamieson – 33rd (Qualifiers)
  • Alana Titerle – 37th (Qualifiers)

Youth B Boys

  • Ethan Hoffman – 5th (Finals)
  • Jaxson Macdonald – 16th (Semi-Finals)
  • Finn Grathwol = 29th (Qualifiers)

Youth C Boys

  • Connor Jones – 1st (Finals)

Youth C Girls

  • Nora Roos – 18th (Semi-Finals)

February 19th – Délire Escalade – AM Categories B & C

February 19th – Délire Escalade – PM Categories: Youth A and Junior

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14 February 2018: In a few days, Canada’s best and brightest youth climbers will be descending on Quebec City from February 17-19 for The North Face Youth Boulder National Championships. Of the 220 athletes expected to compete, Climb Base5 will be represented by eighteen of its youth team athletes in every category!

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In preparation and to help with their training, our route-setters set comp simulation boulders which will remain on our Tsunami Wall until early March. Come try them out before they’re gone!

Held for the first time in the city of Québec, the Championships is the highest bouldering competition at a national level sanctioned by Climbing Escalade Canada (CEC). Hosted by Delire Escalade in their Ste-Foy gym, athletes between the ages of 12 & 19 from across Canada will compete in the categories of: Youth C (from ages 12-13), B (14-15), A (16-17), and Junior (18-19).

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2018 will be a big year for the youth climbers. Not only will the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) 2018 Youth World Climbing Championship be held at Vancouver Island’s Boulders Climbing Gym from August 14-22, athletes will also be setting their sights on the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina from October 6-18 where sport climbing will mark its debut.

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Climbing gives me a mental break from work and family and whatever else is going on.

BC-born Kelli Keesey is no stranger to multi-tasking. She’s not only a member of the Open Performance Team, working in the medical industry, but also is a mom raising two daughters. As a former competitive gymnast, Kelli brings with her a wealth of life and competition experience… and we’re excited to see her progress as part of the Open Team. We’re inspired by how she’s been able to manage juggling the demands of family, work and being an an athlete.

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How did you get into climbing?

After a competitive gymnastics career through high school, I started climbing during university in Victoria at CragX. Not only was it a perfect fit and transition for me, I even met my husband shortly after I started climbing! After university, we moved to Calgary and, on a whim one weekend, we entered a bouldering competition and made it to finals completely unprepared and unaware of the rules. I was hooked! I did several more competitions before moving back to BC to start a family.

What climbing achievements are you the most proud of?

While still based out of Calgary I was primarily sport climbing and managed to send two 5.13a routes: Stygian Aire in Cougar Creek and Moonbridge in Kalymnos. For bouldering, I sent Stegasaurus, v8 in Hueco and flashed Nurse Ratchet a v7 on the same trip. This was a wonderful moment for me as I realized I could still set new goals and climb hard after having my daughters.

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How do you manage to juggle having a family, work and being on the Open Performance Team?
Ever since moving back to BC,  having two kids and losing touch with my climbing community after leaving Calgary, my climbing has been sporadic.  While I’ve continued to climb on my own and have been lucky to find a few very special people to climb with, scheduling is a huge challenge given my responsibilities as a mom and my work in the medical department of a pharmaceutical company.

I’m very lucky to have the support of family and friends and have definitely learned to ask for help when I need it.

Personal growth and the support of my family and friends has helped in finding a work-life-family balance. I’m also a problem solver by nature so I pretty much approach climbing the same way I do challenges in life by attacking challenges head on.

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What do you need to take your climbing to the next level?

Being on the Open Team has given me the chance to train in a structured environment with people just as motivated as I am. It’s also an opportunity to train in a way that I’ve never had before – with coaching and a personal plan for my growth as a climber. While I’m older than the rest of the climbers on the team, it’s a unique gift to see what I can accomplish and I’m very committed to following the program that Andrew has laid out for me.

I have already seen improvements and am really excited to see how much more I can improve. I love training, climbing and competing because it really allows me to put aside everything else going on to focus on me and the movement. I think the biggest thing for me is to believe that I can achieve some of the goals I have set for myself and give myself permission to put myself first when I’m training and competing. This can be hard to do being a mom!

What are the benefits of being a climber and a mom?
I definitely need physical activity to keep me from going crazy and climbing gives me a mental break from work and family and whatever else is going on. It allows me to refocus, re-energize and come back to the rest of my life with more patience and a positive attitude. Climbing also allows me to be a better role model for my daughters – they can see me being physically active as part of a healthy lifestyle and that girls can definitely show up the boys!

This is part of a series to profile members of the Climb Base5 Open Performance Team.