I climb because I love the feeling when my mind and body connect…

Derek is a first-time member of the Climb Base5 Open Performance Team. What we really like about him is that he’s honest, down-to-earth and found his way to climbing through life experience, perseverance and being a happy and healthy person… most likely something he learned as a former hypnotherapist!

You started climbing through Scouts?
Actually it was my brother who got into climbing through Scouts and I started climbing because of him. We’d only go a few times a year, but when I was about 17 I started to climb more regularly. I’m from Calgary and when the Rockies are your backyard, you go out as much as you can!

What brought you out to the west coast?
My climbing partner moved out to Victoria and I decided to follow him for the summer. After spending a few days living on the west coast I knew I wouldn’t be returning to Calgary. I ended up spending about a year climbing in Victoria before moving to Vancouver where I ended up taking a break from climbing regularly.

We’re definitely happy to have you on the Open Team – how much does it mean to you?
I’ve known for a long time that the Open Performance Team was something that I needed to take my climbing to the next level. Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve only really been climbing consistently since 2013. I never trained for climbing but after placing 4th in the 2015 November Sessions I started to train more regularly and wanted to see what I could accomplish.

So when I was accepted into the Team, I was so honored and humbled. The program and the coaching is world class and I’m really excited to train with my teammates and to see the progression and changes in my climbing. The team not only has very strong climbers but also great people too! It’s so motivating to be surrounded by people who are focused and determined to become stronger and reach their goals.

The 4th place finish was a surprise? What else are you most proud of?
I wasn’t expecting to finish 4th… I was hoping to place in the top 3rd of the group so needless to say I was surprised when I found out I made finals where the energy from the crowd really helped me to climb my best.

2016 was an exceptional year! While I’ve climbed V11 in Joe’s Valley, I’m most proud of sending my first V10 last year in Squamish. I started the year with a “unicorn day” by sending my V9 project (Sesame Street) and then flashing V8 right after it (Mantra). I finished off the season by meeting my bouldering goals of sending a V10.

Outside of climbing, I’m also most proud of my work as a hypnotherapist. For five years I helped people overcome all sorts of physical and emotional issues. I feel so lucky to have been able to help people to overcome their obstacles and become healthier and happier.

Seems your energy for climbing comes in waves. What do you need to do to improve?
I’m extremely motivated to train, to learn, and to get stronger, so maintaining a focus is pretty easy right now. I’m just as excited for early morning training sessions as I am with end of day workouts. The two biggest areas I need to improve on right now are my physical strength and my focus while climbing. The strength part will come over time as I work through my gym and home programs. Last year was my first year competing so I’m still learning how to maintain my focus and control my nerves while competing. I’m looking towards the coaching and team to help teach me new techniques and ways to focus and read routes.

So climbing’s made a positive impact on your life?
I’m the type of person to sit back, watch and gather all the information before acting. I like to know what I’m doing before I start acting on it. At the same time, climbing has helped me to build trust in myself and to learn to recognize my abilities and strengths. Whether I’m working through moves high above my crash pads or dealing with situations at work, climbing has helped me to stay calm in stressful situations and to trust in my abilities.

Follow Derek on YouTube or Instagram.

This is part of a series to profile the 2016/2017 Open Performance Team members.