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Neely Quinn interviews pro rock climbers, climbing trainers, and other insightful members of the climbing community about how we can get a little better at rock climbing. Subjects include how to train for certain aspects of the sport, how to rehab injuries, the best diet for climbing, and personal stories about climbing.

Jul 13, 2022

Allison Vest is a 27-year-old climber who lives in Salt Lake City. She’s originally from Minnesota and moved to Canada when she was 7, where she fell in love with climbing. She had a lot of success competing as a Canadian, winning the Canadian Bouldering Nationals in 2018 and 2020 and winning Canadian Lead Nationals in 2019.

In August 2019, Allison became the first female Canadian climber to send V13 when she did The Terminator in Squamish, which you can watch a video about here. She’s since done 4 more V13’s. This February, she became the first female Canadian climber to send V14 when she did Show Your Scars in Ogden, Utah.

She’s known for her hilarious antics on Instagram, but also for her huge ape index (+7), which at 5’6″ makes her reach the same as a 6’1″ person.

Allison was recently featured on Tyler Nelson’s Instagram (@c4hp) because Tyler tested her one-arm strength and her finger strength and said, “If I didn’t see it myself, I’d have trouble believing it.” Basically, she’s the strongest person (not just female) he’s ever tested, and he was completely blown away by that.

She’s kind of an anomaly, and she talks about how she’s gotten so strong in this episode. She wasn’t always that way.

Last year she decided to take a break from competition climbing to focus on climbing outside, so I wanted to talk with her about why she’s taking that break, how that transition has been, whether she misses comp climbing, and what the differences are in her training and performance tactics between outside and indoor climbing.

She’s also been vocal on social media recently about body image insecurities, and I thought it was incredibly brave of her to come out with this post on Instagram. She started it with, “I always worried that I didn’t look enough like a fitness model to be a professional athlete, and have been self conscious of the fact that I don’t have a resting six pack.” We talked about that and the response she’s gotten to her vulnerability online.

We also talked about eating disorders among competition climbers and what, if any, responsibility the IFSC or other climbing organizations have in helping climbers or disqualifying them from competitions.

We talked about so much… wow. I also got to ask her about her mindset in competition climbing vs outdoor climbing and how she deals with being a person who wears her heart on her sleeve (I can relate).

I loved this talk – I’m a huge fan of Allison’s and I was grateful for the chance to get to know her a bit. I hope you love it too :) 


Allison Vest Interview Details

  • Why she’s taking a break from comp climbing and how it’s going
  • What she thinks about FFA’s
  • What she’s had to learn in transitioning to outdoor climbing
  • How the gymnastic style of comp climbing translates to outdoor bouldering
  • Mental differences between comps and outdoor projects
  • What her coach taught her about spiraling mentally
  • What sets her apart physically and mentally from other climbers
  • Her thoughts on her physical strength feats
  • Body image issues and how she’s successfully dealing