Repeat Crusher Sean McColl and Edmonton Local Thirza Carpenter Top MEC Canadian Bouldering Nationals

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Sean McColl on Men's Final 3. Photo by Knut Rokne.
Sean McColl on Men
Patrick Valade approaches the finish pinches on Men's Finals Problem 5. Photo by Knut Rokne.
Patrick Valade approaches the finish pinches on Men

For the third consecutive year, Canadian wunderkind Sean McColl took top spot at the Tour De Bloc Bouldering Championships this past weekend (May 18, 2008), having little challenge defeating a strong field of contenders. With McColl a bit under the weather prior to the comp, there was early reverberation that top Edmonton locals Terry Paholek and Marshal German might be able to dethrone McColl. Paholek’s exceptional style and technique and German’s pure power, grit, and determination earned them 2nd and 3rd respectively, topping two of five boulders each. But McColl could not be outdone, sending all the finals problems, with a stunning flash of the fifth and final boulder. The problem had seen most other competitors struggling through a pinch and heel-hook power section to reach a set up for a monstrous and incredibly difficult final throw, but McColl campused through the bottom, and dispatched the double-clutch jump with apparent ease — an awed and screaming crowd cheering the ascent.

Dan Archambault on Men's Final 5. Photo by Knut Rokne.
Dan Archambault on Men
Heather Sawitsky on Women's Final Problem 4. Photo by Knut Rokne.
Heather Sawitsky on Women

In the Women’s field, Vikki Weldon, National Champion of years past, and perennial Canadian contender Erin Ford-Zieleniewski were among the favorites, with the Edmonton locals betting the win would go to local strong girl Thirza Carpenter. With a difficult line up of boulders, most women in the field of 10 struggled their way through the middle sections of each problem, but could not top the finishes. In much the same form as McColl, Carpenter hiked all the finals problems with relative ease, leaving Weldon with a strong showing in 2nd, Sheena Osbourne in 3rd, and Ford Zieleniewski in fourth, chasing towards the end, with a near send of the final problem.

Hosted this year at Urban Uprising Climbing Complexin Edmonton, Alberta, the MEC Bouldering Championships, coordinated by the Tour De Bloc and sanctioned by Canada’s CEC (Competition Escalade Canada), is the top level bouldering event in Canada. The competition had a turnout of 100 + competitors and over 300 spectators. With major support from Mountain Equipment Co-op, the TDB Nationals sported a $5,000 overall cash purse, and selected the National Team representing Canada in 2008-2009 international competition.

Vikki Weldon straining on WF4. Photo by Knut Rokne.
Vikki Weldon straining on WF4. Photo by Knut Rokne.
Terry Paholek on MF4. Photo by Knut Rokne.
Terry Paholek on MF4. Photo by Knut Rokne.

Check for complete results and more photos.

Top Ten Results


  1. Sean McColl

  2. Terry Paholek

  3. Marshal German

  4. Simon Parton

  5. Dan Archambault

  6. Patrick Valade

  7. John Bowles

  8. Jaime Chong

  9. Nate Woods

  10. Mike Doyle


  1. Thirza Carpenter

  2. Vikki Weldon

  3. Sheena Osbourne

  4. Erin Ford-Zieleniewski

  5. Katie Mah

  6. Heather Sawitsky

  7. Sarah Austin

  8. Kerry Briggs

  9. Elise Sethna

  10. Bonnie de Bruijn

Date of Competition: May 18, 2008

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