MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Summer 2020

27 COMIN’ UP The stamps in Annabelle McDonald’s passport read like a rock climber’s bucket list. She learned in Australia and Thailand (at 5 years old!), led her first pitch in Whistler (age 8), bouldered and hung out in Yosemite’s Camp 4 in Yosemite, flashed routes in Moab, Joshua Tree, Red Rocks, Skaha, and the view from her home is the iconic Squamish Chief. But given the choice, Annabelle says for her the real action is climbing competitively in indoor gyms “It’s more dynamic and abstract, it’s almost like parkour,” she says. “Competition holds are strange shapes and knobs and stuff, you have to figure out these cool moves, it’s more fun than a tiny crystal seam on a flat wall. Plus, I like the pressure, and being there climbing with my friends. It’s just really fun.” With a drawer full of medals and an overall Youth C National sport climbing title in 2018, McDonald has been able to find that sweet spot of having fun and performing well. But when the COVID-19 pandemic put an early end to the 2019- 2020 competition season, McDonald was forced to go back to her roots—outdoor climbing with her dad and his friends. She has the second ascent of a route beside the Mamquam falls, is putting up new line at a new crag near Furry Creek, and at press time was working on The Clamp Down a local 5.13b. [Editor's note for non-climbers: North American rock climbs are generally graded from 5.0 (terrain steep or technical enough that you want a rope) to 5.15 (Spider Man-style), with a, b, c and d subgrades for each number. So 5.13b is super elite.) “I’m getting into outdoor more because I don’t have a choice—the gyms are closed! I started getting into outdoor in Cuba in January. The rock is 3D limestone and interesting, more like a gym, and I did my first multi-pitch.” Fifteen-year-old Squamish phenom on climbing, camping, and Cuba words :: Feet Banks ANNABELLE MCDONALD Annabelle on Mucho Pumpito 5.10d, Cuba. Father Trevor McDonald (belaying) calls it "the best multi-pitch in Cuba." SANDRA SAMMAN