As the outdoor climbing season begins to show signs of winding down in Alberta, I’ve found myself looking back at this past season and I’m a bit baffled with what I’m looking at.

Looking at myself as a climber even 4-5 months ago compared to now, the difference are striking. As I may have mentioned somewhere along the way, I’ve now been climbing – mainly bouldering – for about a year and half. Starting in January 2013. This season has been my first real introduction to outdoor sport climbing.

As of May, I was confidently bouldering V2’s outdoors and beginning to project 3’s indoors. This summer I sent my first outdoor V4! As well, I’m now comfortably working 4’s indoors and have even begun projecting a 5 or two. Those are results I can’t say I was even looking for, but with the exposure and mileage from climbing sport routes, my bouldering game has improved tenfold.

As for my progress on sport… In June I took the CCC Stronghold outdoor lead course to get myself started, and to open up as much opportunity as possible to get out whenever and wherever I could AND be a competent partner. Lead sure was a whole different ball game, that’s for sure!

We spent most of the summer divided between Prairie Creek and Lake Louise (avg. 10-15m walls v.s. 35+m) – So I quickly came to terms with my lack of endurance for a new style of climbing! But that came quick, and will continue to improve in time. As of May, again, I had never climbed beyond a 5.8 outdoors. Now, I have not only sent, but on-sighted 5.10b. And as of this past weekend, tackled my first 11’s. Check out my Instigram feed (right) for a look at Wicked Gravity 5.11a – One of the most classic routes in the Bow Valley.

Everyone has there own opinions on progress. How to measure it, what “counts”, what doesn’t and who’s opinion matters the most. For me, at the end of the day I couldn’t more stoked on what I have accomplished in only 5 months. I’m sure a lot of climbers develop fast than I have, and that’s awesome! Whether I’m “only”, or “already” climbing as strong as I am, I couldn’t be happier. Rock is rock, despite the grade. I’m just happy to be on it.

Can’t wait to come back to this topic in another few months with an update. We’re only goin up from here!