I’m thrilled and thankful to have had the opportunity to ask Sean McColl a few questions about competition climbing. I really appreciate his time and thoughtful responses. The fact that he responded isn’t completely surprising since Sean has a strong dedication to his fans and interacting with them, but it is still wonderful. Recently, he started creating live stream training videos, in which he puts forth a lot of effort to answer all fan questions and leave viewers with worthwhile information. I recommend checking them out, if you haven’t already: https://www.facebook.com/seanmccoll1987/videos
He answered a couple of my questions on the live stream video, which prompted the idea to take a chance on an interview. Below, I’ve included a couple of my questions from that as a brief example.
Sean McCollYou will never know… the struggle is real. You have to do a lot of hit or miss testing. Because my season is generally April -> November, I am usually tired from over training in the first month.
It gets easier over time.
Sean McColl is a 28 year old climber from North Vancouver, Canada, though he currently resides in France, and he started climbing back in 1997. Sean is friendly, energetic, and a strong competitor. According to http://seanmccoll.com/about, he is a 3 time overall World Cup Champion, the only competitor in history to come in top 8 in every discipline, 8-time Open Canadian National Champion, America Ninja Warrior Contestant, and much more. His hardest outdoor sends consist of V15 and 5.14d (9a). It’s safe to say that Sean McColl knows a thing or two about hard climbing, and competition climbing in particular. With his positive attitude, valuable information, and creativity, he is motivating to watch. He does a great job and looks like he is having a good time.
Climbing Together: When climbing in a competition each attempt matters a great deal. What is your thought process when you first look at a competition route? What do you try to figure out first, and how much thought do you put in before touching the starting holds?
Sean: As a competitor, you are always trying to flash the boulder. That is why sometimes we take so much time preparing for our first attempt. On something like a coordation or jump boulder, sometimes we need to try it 4-5 times to get the feeling for it, but our flash and 2nd go attempts should be very productive.
Climbing Together: Can you share an example or two of lessons you’ve learned when competing that might be helpful to someone looking to get involved?
Sean: Being a good competitor is not about doing the hardest moves imaginable but being able to problem solve and think on your feet. You must be able to route read, get into the mind of the route setters and do any “style” of problem. Have fortes and weaknesses are not a problem so long as you work on your weaknesses.
Climbing Together: Being able to travel to all these different areas and countries to compete sounds very appealing. Do you have time to enjoy the areas, embrace in the culture, or explore them? If so what are some things you are drawn to when entering a new place?
Sean: I can enjoy the areas I travel to as much as I want. Sometimes I like exploring the city and cultures, other times if I’ve already done it, I just skip it and rest for the next competition.