Alannah is many things: engineer, athlete, coach, to name but a few. She holds seven Canadian national titles for climbing, was the first Canadian female to make the final rounds of an International Federation of Sport Climbing World Cup and became the first female to climb Pulse 15.4a in Squamish, BC. She can now add Olympic qualifier to her ever-expanding, incredibly impressive list.
While climbing is her sport of choice, Alannah enjoys all aspects of problem solving, a trait instilled in her from childhood when building and racing go-karts with her father. She recognized a desire to be an inventor, to create, to think critically about a problem and approach a solution in a logical manner. Experimentation and trials are the basis of progression. To do the same thing over and over, expecting different results is Einstein’s definition of insanity.
Experimenting means putting yourself at risk of failure, but without pushing boundaries, growth is near impossible. Utilizing her studies in robotics, she built a training wall with sensors, analyzing move efficiencies. However, learning from others is a key element to producing a repertoire of techniques and viewpoints on a problem. By watching others climb a route, she ascertains different applications and methods. All of this data combine to help define the technical approach, efficiency and elegance over brute strength and power.
But what about those times when a problem seems unsolvable? When the inevitable moments of failure and self-doubt in all of us surfaces? Alannah smiles. “Smiling forces you to gain perspective on a situation, to re-envision the moment.” It’s a pause. A reflection filtered with gratitude. The muscles used to smile, though small, are strong enough to overcome. An elegant solution. The brain and body, together in joyful unison.
It’s in that expression of joy she continues to inspire and be inspired. The community of up-and-coming girls she coaches is a truly synergistic relationship. Solving problems with analytical finesse and laughter. Alannah is now poised to take on her biggest challenge yet, at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. No matter the results, she’s sure to be smiling.