This year Climb Nova Scotia sent local young-gun Avery Schrader and his coach Adam Conner all the way to Ontario to show those Middle-Canada folk that on the East Coast, we not only have a “real life” aquarium, but that we can rock it with the best of them when it comes to climbing. In what was to be the perfect proving ground for all his hard work and dedication to the local climbing scene, Avery was to find out what it takes to make national finals, and what he needs to focus on in his attempts to put himself and his province on the map in the coming years. We were very proud to play our part in helping the both of them on their way. Here are some words from the horses’ mouths, and what they both gained from the experience…..
The Road to Youth Nationals by Adam Conner
I’d like to preface this story by thanking Climb Nova Scotia for all of the support, both financial, and more importantly the resources and people it has provided to help establish the Annapolis Valley youth climbing scene. I wouldn’t even be able to call myself a climbing coach if it wasn’t for the amazing support I’ve received from some of the amazing people associated with this awesome organization. Also, It’s a bit longer than some other posts and I won’t be offended if you don’t read it all 🙂
The journey from a small town in the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia all the way to the Youth Bouldering Nationals in Toronto has been an experience like no other. To start, it has been a two and a half year journey for me, Adam Conner (AVCC climbing coach), and one of my climbers, Avery Schrader, who I’m sure some of you already know. I first met Avery in my Science 10 class at NKEC where I am a high school math and technology teacher. He had never heard of rock climbing, but I convinced him it was a lot of fun and that he was going to have to listen to me talk about it every day anyway so he might as well find out what it’s all about.
Fast forward to Spring of 2015: Avery has been climbing hard now for a little over 18 months, he is climbing outdoor grades of V6+ and indoor grades even higher. He has long since blown me away with his dedication to the sport and he tells me he wants to set the goal of qualifying for the Youth Bouldering Nationals event in 2016. We sit down and work on some strategies to help him achieve his goal and before long he’s training like a machine.
Because there isn’t a qualifying event for nationals in Atlantic Canada (*cough* yet), Avery set his sights on qualifying in Ontario at their provincial championships. This was a lofty goal since Ontario was churning out a very high concentration of young and strong climbers. Avery went up and placed 9th in his category (Junior Boys – ages 18/19). Unfortunately he needed to place 8th or higher to qualify.
This is where a lot of people would have thrown in the towel and resigned that their goal would have to wait for another year. But, that just isn’t how Avery operates. He contacted the OCF and the FQME and worked out an arrangement that allowed him to attend a sanctioned competition in Quebec to provide him another opportunity to qualify for nationals. This event was actually the finals of the Quebec Bloc Cup series and every other climber there had already qualified through previous events. He worked very hard that weekend and with the support of his mother who went with him and sent me lots of pictures and videos, he placed 8th place in his category securing his ticket to nationals.
When Avery returned from Quebec he only had about 3 weeks before the nationals competition was going to start and so there wasn’t much to do in the way of training. It was a lot of preparing warm-up routines and mental strategies as opposed to trying to pull a Rocky IV training montage to get super strong super fast.
Myself, Avery and Frenzi (Avery’s lovely girlfriend) all set off to Toronto for a Valentine’s day weekend full of climbing and unfortunately a little bit of heartbreak. Avery went into the competition with a perfect mindset, a very relaxed attitude and a lot of determination. He pulled hard on all five of the qualifying problems and came one top away from securing a place in semi-finals. I got complimented from other coaches on his amazing attitude with which he always presents himself.
We then got to watch the competitors climb in the semi finals and in the finals rounds, and learned a lot about what was standing in his way of being one of those finalists. Avery had a great attitude after he finished his climbing and has told me time and again what a great learning experience it was. We’re both really excited about this year of training Avery has ahead of him and about his Nationals competition that he fully intends to attend next year as well!
The Most Vertical Of Roads by Avery Schrader
After two years of a positively life altering obsession, I managed to fight my way far enough through the toughest climbs I have faced to land myself a spot in the 2016 Youth Bouldering National competition in Toronto. Accompanying me along the way, my longtime climbing coach and personal hero Adam Conner as well as my girlfriend and newly recruited training partner Frenzi Ritter.
The process of getting there was simple really, perform a gazillion foot-switches and hope for the best. Technical training was my personal cup of tea, and I spent a lot of time dancing on slabs and and trying to beta-break burly problems. That did carry me through local youth competitions, but I am certainly not a contender for the next Beastmaker International Footless Festival. In Ontario, and then Quebec and finally Toronto, I noticed that the key difference between myself and higher placing contenders was brute strength.
I want to be sure to thank Adam and Frenzi, as well as my sponsors Earth Bones Climbing and Bandha Bar, two fantastic local businesses who I am very proud to have supporting me. A special thank you to Climb Nova Scotia who made it possible for Adam and I to fly to nationals and back. If you are interested in following my climbing journey you can follow me on instagram @Mraverydylan or add me on Facebook, both of which I post primarily climbing updates and competition results!
Finally, I want to thank the Nova Scotia climbing community, who have done nothing but supportive in my climbing experience.
So it begins.. The road to Canadian Youth Bouldering Nationals 2017