Mark Derksen

Being raised in the prairies of southern Alberta, Mark spent much of his youth in varsity sports and track and field, eventually getting hooked into outdoor pursuits like mountain biking, hiking, and skiing. This shift in interest naturally drew him west towards the Rocky Mountains where he began exploring the remote areas of the Castle-Crown wilderness. After starting his undergraduate degree in Physics at the University of Lethbridge he started climbing and was instantly hooked. The following years of his undergrad were spent equally in the halls of undergraduate labs and the venerable maze of limestone found in the Frank Slide boulderfield.

During that time, every weekend was filled with exploration and new problems. As his love of outdoor climbing grew he found himself equally motivated by the Canadian competition scene, particularly the legendary Tour De Bloc series. After his first few competitions he was quickly fixated. Soon thereafter he became involved in the Canadian competitive climbing scene and Alberta Climbing Association. A move to Calgary to study a M.Sc. in Atmospheric Physics brought him close to the Bow Valley, and with it came fresh experiences and new friends. A new home base led to experiencing the amazing sport climbing, bouldering, and skiing in the front ranges of the Rockies, which was great to return to after  trips to places like Red Rocks, Leavenworth, Hope, and Kelowna. While he has always loved going abroad and checking out new areas far from home, local Canadian climbing scenes will remain the places where Mark finds the most joy.

Mark has always enjoyed working with athletes and being involved with sport communities and therefore took the opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue a career change. Currently, Mark is splitting his time between Calgary AB and Kelowna BC as he applies to medical school, with the goal of becoming a doctor of sports medicine. He still remains active volunteering with both the Alberta Climbing Association and the Southern Alberta Bouldering Association. When he’s not climbing, he can often be loitering at the local cafe, taking photographs, cooking, or running. If you see him at the boulders or in the gym, don’t be shy –  he’s always down to talk climbing, beta, or where the best local coffee can be found.