There’s something powerful and empowering about the word “go”… at least for me anyways. To “go” can be terrifying – causing hesitation – but once you’ve decided to actually “go” it can be invigorating – everything becomes real, you move past your hesitations and focus on doing what needs to be done.
One month ago Andrea and I had a big conversation about this project and our upcoming peaks and the challenges before us. We were confronted, once again, with a decision to go. Would be go to Alberta to summit Mt. Columbia this Summer? Were we ready to travel across glaciers and ski (and split-board) up and down a mountain? Did we have the skills to travel with ropes, and perform crevasse rescues if necessary?
Ultimately the response was, “No”, quickly followed with, “How do we get those skills?
We realized the ideal situation would be attending one of the Alpine Club of Canada‘s many mountaineering camps. The camps are all in mountain ranges near or in the Rockies, we would be on glaciers and mountains for a week, our bodies would be fully acclimatized to the 3,000 m (10,000 ft) elevations.
We initially hesitated and then finally went to book into a camp. With about 2 months or so before the first camp, everything was full. We put our names on the waitlist and waited. Then, two spots opened up on the Toronto Section camp opened up. This was happening!
It was a big moment when Andrea and I paid our deposit. Everything became real and official and terrifying. It was also extremely exciting and empowering. The decision had been made. From July 15-23 we would be high in the Selkirk Mountains, travelling on glaciers and summiting peaks around 3,000 m of elevation.
Things started to fall in to perspective. There was planning and preparing to do – we had a gear list to check off, technical skills to study and practice, and lots of physical training.
Since committing to go here are some of the ways I’ve prepared:
- Attend a crevasse rescue clinic where I learned to ascend ropes and haul people using ropes
- Read most of “Freedom Of the Hills“, “Alpine Skills Summer”, “Selkirks North. (Climbing Guide)“
- Aquire a mountain of gear including: Helmet, Alpine Pack, Belay/Rappel devices, Various carabinears, ropes and cords
- Train 3x a week with a personal trainer focusing on single leg strength exercises, balance, and running
I’ve also had many, many moments of fear, hesitation and excitement. I find myself constantly checking in and asking, “Am I really doing this?” I am. And I’m not doing it alone. I am going with Andrea, which helps a lot. We will also be out there with many more skilled members of the Alpine Club.
It’s one week away and I think we’re ready. We committed to go and we’re going. As Abraham Lincoln said, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backwards.”