Allison Vest was born in St. Paul, Minesota and moved to Canmore, Alberta when she was 7 years old. She started competitive climbing at the age of 9 and joined the Canadian National Team in her teens.
Allison’s nickname is “Albatross” due to her ape index (7+ that’s 7 inches or 180 mm longer than her height!).
After years of attending world cups and training extremely hard for competitive indoor climbing, she made the decision to take a step back at the start of 2022 and focus on her outdoor bouldering goals.
In an Instagram post she shared, “Climbing has been my competitive outlet for almost my whole life, but it has also been pretty hard on me mentally. I’m not good at separating outcomes from my self-worth which causes my confidence to dwindle.
Something that has helped me become more confident is following my motivation, which lately, has been outdoors. I’ve been idling along for many competitive seasons now, finding about the same results domestically and internationally regardless of how much better and stronger I get. That leaves me to believe that it’s my mind that’s lagging behind.
Although there were not that many comps last year, I was in the same fighting mindset all year long training with Kyra Condie for the Olympics and getting prepared for whatever event came next for me. Well, my brain is tired of feeling defeated and of nitpicking every single thing I do in the gym out of fear that I am not enough and won’t be enough at the next event. So, I’ve decided I need a year to remember why I do what I do, how far I’ve come, and to prove to myself what I’m capable of; for myself.
All of these things have led me to the decision to not do Bouldering Nationals this year and to let go of trying to stay on the Canadian National Team for the time being. Finding a balance has never been a strong suit of mine, so I’m excited to flip the script and go all in on rock.
Partially, I’m happier now than I think I’ve ever been which has shown me how miserable I was in the past few years of competitions. I hope this gives my brain the clarity and break it’s been begging for for years.
I’ll be back, but on my own terms and when I’m ready to be myself.”
2 months later, Allison became the first Canadian female to send V14 when she sent “Show Your Scars” in Ogden, Utah. She relates, “This boulder tested every single mental tactic I had and forced me to learn some new ones. I can’t believe, 10+ sessions and a landslide of doubt later, that I’m standing on top, after dreaming of being there for weeks.
Allison can be an inspiration to us all to take time to reflect and change course when needed.