Jacob Dorion climbs along the sea wall near Oak Bay marina. The 16-year old rock climber specializes in speed but enjoys lead climbing as well.

Oak Bay teen makes a speedy climb to Canadian national team

During the 13 most critical seconds of a competition, Jacob Dorion doesn’t think.

During the 13 most critical seconds of a competition, Jacob Dorion doesn’t think.

The speed-climbing Oak Bay teen lets training take over.

“You don’t think about where you’re putting your hands and your feet. You have to know where you’re going,” the 16-year-old explains. “You’re not thinking. You’ve already thought about it. You know what you’re going to do.”

His best time for flying up a 15-metre race wall is 12.67 seconds and 7.46s for the 10-metre. Times good enough to snag a spot on the Canadian National Youth Climbing Team.

“There’s something about speed climbing. It’s dynamic. It’s like a 100-metre sprint except with your whole body,” he says.

“It combines that hyper-athletic gymnastics with a head game. It’s almost like a puzzle.”

Like many young climbers on the South Island, he trains with The Boulders team at Stelly’s secondary in Central Saanich. Only about 18 months into competitive climbing, his roots run deeper. Dorion started as a lad clambering along with his dad, an avid climber. In search of a sport to really throw himself into, he opted to give climbing a shot. Now a speed specialist, he doesn’t get home most days until around 8 p.m. He trains at the climbing wall five days a week and hits the gym the other two. Weighted pull ups are a favourite (nudge and wink) of the “torture exercises.”

“He’s very passionate about climbing and he works very hard,” said Kimanda Jarzebiak, chair of the not-for-profit society that runs the Boulders.

At the recent national championships in Montreal, all 12 of the Boulders’ speed athletes earned places in the finals; 10 took home medals. While Dorion finished fourth, it was only by three-hundredths of a second and a personal best.

As a member of the national team, Dorion plans to attend training camp in Canmore, Alta. the first week of July and has invites to attend World Cup competition on the Pacific Island of New Caledonia and the Pan Am Games in Mexico in November.

“Climbing has one of the best communities, … I feel close to people all over the country,” he says. “I’ve trained with some of the best climbers in the world.”

Just last week Dorion’s coach Libor Hroza, who hopes to challenge the 15-metre wall world record, flew up the Boulders’ speed wall in six seconds. It wasn’t official or documented, but impressive enough with just his climbers watching. Boulders boasts the highest number of speed climbers on the national team.


“I find it really useful to train with people who can push me like that,” Dorion says.

Just Posted

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Lost wedding ring found on Valentine’s Day

Dan Milbrath’s ring is back where it belongs

Victoria installation for the blind causes problems for those with mobility issues

The truncated domes installed at Blanshard and Fort streets aren’t helpful for everyone

Fire destroys South Island Concrete building in Sooke

No injuries resulted from large structure fire

Funds being raised for double-amputee Ecuadorean dancer

North Saanich woman is putting out collection jars if people would like to donate

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

A Mother’s Wish: Ryan Shtuka’s mother wants her son to be ‘forever known’

‍‍‍‍‍“Let me tell you a story …. it all began with a boy named Ryan”

Most Read