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Perfect climb leads Gelinas to top of podium

Canmore's Oceane Gelinas was the only climber, out of the more than 170 competitors to climb perfectly, two more local climbers also reached the podium

CANMORE – Two Canmore climbers will have to make room in their trophy cabinets after reaching gold medals in a recent competition.

Oceane Gelinas and Alexa Vanier each climbed their way to first place finishes in their respective age divisions at the Alberta Climbing Association’s (ACA) bouldering competition at Elevation Place Saturday (Nov. 23).

Gelinas, competing in the youth C female division, made quick work of each one of her boulder problems throughout the qualification stage and finals, needing only one attempt on each. She was the only climber, out of the more than 170 competitors to climb perfectly.

“She’s had a terrific season, she’s been climbing like that all season. It’s quite an achievement to climb a perfect competition – you don’t see that very often,” said Canmore Indoor Climbing Society (CICS) coach Chris Neve about Gelinas’ competition.

She said her success this year can be traced back to the guidance of Neve. There were many hours spent training on the walls at Elevation Place, but Gelinas said the biggest factor has been learning how to be mentally tough.

“I wasn’t nervous at all during the competition. I just felt very confident and wanted to have fun,” said 12-year-old Gelinas.

“It was nice to climb at home. Even though the problems change, we know the angles of the walls really well.”

She has really showed off her confidence this season. With the win this weekend, Gelinas climbed her way to a hattrick in the three "local" bouldering competitions, taking first place in Edmonton and Cranbrook as well.

Competing in the division above Gelinas, was her CICS teammate Alexa Vanier. The 13-year-old climber also scrambled her way to a first place finish over the weekend, her second in the local competitions.

In the qualification stage, Vanier confidently cruised through the first four boulder problems, landing in first place heading into the finals. Facing off against seven other climbers in the finals, Vanier out-shone her competition to take home her second first place finish of the season.

“I climbed really well all day. The only route that gave me trouble was the fourth one in the finals. I messed up a little on that route, but I think more than anything I was just really tired from climbing all day,” said Vanier.

Also reaching the podium, was Canmore's Louka Gay, in the youth B male division.

“He climbed a real clean qualification stage and was in first place going into the finals. He ended up finishing in second because he took one more attempt at one of the problems than the winner,” Neve said.

Neve also had praise for Noah Folliott, who made his first appearance in the finals and climbed his way to a seventh place finish in a competitive division.

With the regular season wrapped up, the climbers will turn their focus towards provincials, western regionals and for some who are of age, nationals and even worlds.

“I really hope with the way everyone has climbed this year that they use the momentum of their results to climb onto the podium at provincials and further,” said Neve.

In her division, the highest level Gelinas can climb in is the western regionals. She has set her sights on a top five finish.

After competing at nationals last season, Vanier has set her sights on the international stage.

Before the start of provincials, Neve will have his climbers train on as many different kinds of holds as possible. He said training is vital to teach the climbers how to approach difficult, or awkward holds, they may not be comfortable with.

“There is not much more strength or technical training we can do now. Now it’s about staying healthy and preparing mentally and climbing with confidence,” said Neve.

Evan Buhler

About the Author: Evan Buhler

Evan Buhler is an award-winning photojournalist and reporter who joined the Outlook in 2019. A native of Calgary, he previously worked in Salmon Arm, B.C.
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