TJ Foley

“When it was my turn to go I oddly don’t remember what I was thinking on the wall, I just found my flow and climbed with speed and confidence.”

City/Home Gym: I live in Kimberley B.C. and climb at Arq Mountain Center in Cranbrook B.C.

Current Division: Youth A

How long have you been climbing? 5 years.

Do you have a favorite discipline? Why or why not?

 I love both difficulty and bouldering. In ropes I love the fight and grit you have to have to get up hard routes that seem above your comfort zone and the mental hurdle you have to overcome to beat “the pump” so you can get that unforgettable feeling of topping a hard route.  Although if you don't make it all the way I do enjoy the huge fall that always gets my adrenaline up. Bouldering is fun because of the variety of moves/routes and being able to work the problem if you don’t succeed on the first attempt. You almost never see the exact same move or routes from gym to gym or competition to competition. When you walk onto the mat with your back to the wall all the time getting more and more excited to find out what the route setters have set, to not only challenge you and make you think in as many different ways as possible, but to also put on an amazing show for the crowd. 

How often do you climb/train during the season?

During the season I train 3 hours Monday to focus mainly on technique and projecting with the last hour working out. I climb Tuesday for 3 hours where we focus on movement and do activities like yoga or parkour and the last hour is a slightly more challenging workout. Thursday is a hard and long one. It's full of conditioning to work on finger strength, power, strength, endurance, and power endurance. If the weekend is free I sometimes try to road trip up to Calgary to get some bigger gym climbing in.   

Photo credit: Ken Chow

Photo credit: Ken Chow

Can you tell us about your experience competing for Team Canada at the Youth Worlds in Arco this summer.

Wearing the Canadian flag on the back of my jersey for the second time was just magical as it seems. Traveling with Team Canada to Arco was a great bonding experience and a time I will most definitely remember. Arco is every climbers dream spot to visit, with beautiful views and an unforgettable vibe that attracts everyone. The climbing on the “big stage” was incredible. The routes were super well built and the environment was one that made you try your hardest. 

Do you have a favorite memory from one of your other past competitions?

Every competition is one to remember but one that is at the top of my list was a local at CCC Hanger last year. This particular lead competition was one to remember because of a super final between myself and Logan Jones. It was a close race (as it always is) with us both topping the two qualifying routes and our final route. We were put on the open mens final and the route looked hard but something clicked for me in that superfinal. When it was my turn to go I oddly don't remember what I was thinking on the wall, I just found my flow and climbed with speed and confidence. I ended up climbing higher than I had expected and I hadn’t read the route all the way to the top and ended up missing a hold hiding over a volume. It was such a cool experience to climb with the crowd behind me and to get an idea where I would have placed in the open category.

How do you manage the time for competitive climbing and the other parts of your life – like school ?

 Climbing is a very committing sport and I couldn't do it without all the help from my family. My mom and dad help with traveling and are great organizers. My sister is my travel partner and she helps me get out to all these great events and camps all over Canada. I have other support from other family members to help get me registered. I don't have a lot of distractions at home such as T.V. so I get bored easy at home and end up going climbing; I don't do a lot of extra curricular activities other than chilling with my friends. I am able to make time for volleyball and band to give my life some variety. I do miss a fair amount of Friday school days but the high school I go to is very supportive of me and I always talk to my teachers before time so not to fall behind.         

What advice would you give to other climbers who are starting to get into competitive climbing?

Since climbing is still a small sport, you will have to do lots of traveling; especially if you live in a small town! So don't be afraid to make those trips out for different competitions or camps and if you have an opportunity to go climb outside of Canada, take it. Try to climb with climbers that will challenge you and with a similar body type/height and learn their moves! Another thing I did that helped me was putting myself around lots of different people and different communities at different gyms. This not only improved my climbing but made the experience more fun and has allowed me to make great connections with other climbers.