First off I would like to thank all the Servicemen and woman, past and present, on this Remembrance Day for there sacrifice, bravery and service. No words could ever express the gratitude you all deserve. Thank you.
It has been brought to my attention that people have been reading this blog, and to my astonishment, taking interest in it as well. To put things in perspective, this blog was meant for sharing with my family and friends back home what I have seen and LEARNED out here in the Rockies... Although I am aware that this blog is posted online for anyone to see I never intended this to be a source of education for others, nor do I think I am an authority on climbing in any way, shape or form.
So for those who don't know me but read my blog here is a little bit about me so you might understand me and my blog better. I am not a writer or guide so take this with a grain of salt. I am a well trained plumber and a good one.
I have made mistakes in so many areas but have learned from every outing in the mountains I have embarked on. I read books, MCR & Avy reports all year, take course's and try to climb with those that are much better than I so I can absorb from them the knowledge that they have acquired over their years. I have never been in an avalanche, but I have skied for 29 years, done a TON of back country, will ski most anything, hold my CSIA ski instructors level 2 and I competed for 5 years up to a J1 level. I do not have pro avy training but have knowledge of snow pack, route selection and recreational training...a bit dated I admit, but non the less its knowledge and I am always pursuing more....
I have rock climbed for 18 years, I'm no Sonnie Trotter but I can dream ... I do lead 11a trad on granite and have NEVER decked or had any sort of major incident while rock climbing. I was part of one of Canada's first junior climbing teams and placed very well in competition with on site's of 11c and red points of 12c/d all this at 16 and 17 years of age in the late 90's. Injury brought an end to my competing and I still, to this day, deal with the injury but it is better with proper training and rest. I have climbed in Smith Rock (highly recommend it) up to 10c/d on site sport on funky rock that I had never climbed on before. In Squamish I have climbed 10 d on site and 11a trad, this summer I sent the Grand Wall Lite with 5 hangs total and lead Parry's lay back at 11a, a stiff 11a. I'm working on 12 b sport in Squamish and I'm half way up Black Slabith V7 or 13-. I consistently climb in the 5.10/11 range on different rock in different places.
I have been ice climbing for about 6 years, but the first few were hard with few trips out due to a lack of climbing partners, and even still now goods one are still hard to come by. I lead the first 11 of 13 ice climbs I'd ever done, #13 was Prof. Falls WI4. I have lead WI4/4+ and not just once. I am an average climber but pursue the goal of WI5 /WI6; a very achievable goal for me and I have no desire to climb anything above that level on ice. I have lead M5 (low I know) but I feel very strongly that I could push that level with time and miles spent on mixed. I'm not a gifted ice climber by any means, I have to work hard and get miles. I'm much stronger on rock, it comes much more natural to me.
I have been involved in one major incident ice climbing and watched someone deck hard as I belayed. I had the gear I needed to help stave off hypothermia for him and we were very lucky to have others in the area to help. Without them things could or would have been much worse. I learned a ton that day. I was calm under pressure, I reacted properly, did my best with my first aid training and managed my injured friend. Radial pulse after laying on the ice for well over 5 hours, job well done. I have since taken a week long, 8 hr a day high angle rope rescue course, not a rock rescue course but it was taught by firemen for use at my job in gas plants and was very extensive. I plan to further my training in avy, first aid, rescue and anything I feel will help keep me and my partners safer while out climbing.
I have thought about being a guide.... an ACMG guide, and that thought passed with knowledge gained. I admire the people that have dedicated and sacrificed there time and life in the pursuit of a guiding career. That being said, guides and climbers of all abilities are not born nor are they a heavenly gift (although it may seem that way in times of need) but ask me, a plumber, to save your house from a major flood that might destroy a large part of it or gas leak that could kill you and your family and I might seem like a heavenly gift too. ALL guides and climbers started somewhere, made mistakes and learned from them, as do ALL climbers of ALL levels. Admittedly some mistakes are fatal and for the climbers who have lost their lives I mourn you and try to learn. I'm thankful that nothing has happened to me, it could have in the past and still could in the future.
This is not at all a pot shot at guides nor do I mean to undermine what they do, it is dangerous, they are very well trained, and ACMG guides are the best.
I can be very ambitious, but I think that is a strength. I have goals, some lofty, but if you don't have them why do you wake up in the morning...? I also climb by words from my "Michael Jordan", Barry Blanchard who has said something along the lines of "I have turned back from more summits than I have ever made".
I'm not sure where I heard it but I'm pretty sure I did. I learn every time I go out, be it what I did right, wrong, or other, and I go home a better climber...I do get home and hope to continue to do so for a long time to come.
I am a student of the mountains and will always be one. One can never know all there is to learn and that is part of my passion towards climbing. I find it sad that when I have posted of mistakes, errors in judgment, lack of knowledge, skill or experience that instead of getting constructive criticism, corrected, or steered in the right direction, I got criticized, judged and mocked by people. Some I'm sure are skilled and experienced and have knowledge of things I lack knowledge of. They could have shared the knowledge of safety or whatever and maybe even have prevented a close call or accident that might of happened. I personally hate hearing of accidents and would do whatever I could to prevent them.
I guess what I'm really trying to say overall is that we are all human, we all start some where, we all make mistakes. If I have offended, mislead or misinformed you, I'm sorry. If you have had a good laugh mocking me, good on ya, I'm sure you needed it, your welcome. I guess internet bullies are not just in high school.
End of rant.....
Summits and topping out are optional but going home is mandatory.
Never let what negative people say or think influence you as a person or climber.
Live to climb,
Climb to live,
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.... Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Perry's Layback 11a The Grand Wall
Popeye and the Raven 10d Trad/Sport
Below left , Local boys do good 11a, Below right 10b trad traverse, The Grand Wall
Kangaroo Corner 11a Trad