In the Beginning

When I was young — an awkward teenager as it were — I realized straight away that I really liked climbing mountains. Of course at the time, it was just hiking and backpacking, but we were tagging summits and that was a thrill I couldn't get enough of. School didn't interest me — my attention was elsewhere. I clearly remember sitting in class, paying little or no attention to my teachers, and looking out the window towards the highlands across the Hudson River. [Hungabee, Canadian Rockies - 1988 ~ scroll to see more]

On the Road

I took my first trip out west in 1974. I met a bunch of friends in the Valley and my older brother at Long's Peak. It was a good trip and I came home feeling like I was ready for more. The fuse was fully lit the next year when I took 4 months off from work at EMS and did something of a classics grand circuit — an eye opening introduction to what would become a life long obsession to see and do more. [Jay Wilson - Kain Shoulder, Mt Robson - 1981]


In the beginning I was drawn to aid climbing. At the time it was more of a natural fit for me. Besides, I wasn't very bold and etriers seemed more secure than hanging on slippery jams trying to get in some pro. As time went by my restlessness and the tenuousness of hard aid lead me in a different direction. I started focusing on alpine climbs as I closed the book on my days as a wall climber. After 1977 I never did another wall in the Valley. [Hud & Rains - New Dawn, El Cap - 1976]


In looking back, it seems British Columbia brought out in me the best I had to give to this life in the mountains. I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to those who went there with me. In particular: Jay Wilson, Dennis Ellsohn and Gustavo Brillembourg — friends who had the same drive and vision to be amongst these great challenges and whose lives were cut short by life's cruel unfairness. [Gustavo Brillembourg - S Face, Stickle, Northern Selkirks - 1983]


The Bugaboos are a paradox. For a while, I went there often. Unlike most of BC, the Bugs are pretty easy to get to — even if the trail kept disappearing. For 15 years I made it a point of getting out there when ever I could. These days I'm thinking we were more than a little lucky to get it before it got too busy — before the inevitable effort to protect it from us. A natural evolution I suppose. From discovery to myth to urban getaway. When BC Parks really started to promote the park things changed. Climbing is not the dirtbag, threadbare activity it used to be.
[Howser Towers with Guy Johnson - 1990]


There was a period when I was interested in the truly big peaks. I wasn't ballsy, I just wanted to get to the top of something I could be proud of. From 1989 to 1999, I went to Asia 5 times and Alaska twice. Three of those trips I did with Helmut Lenes. Eventually it dawned on me that I missed what I already knew. I longed for road trips and North American landscapes. [Helmut Lenes - C3 @ 7000m, Broad Peak - 1993]

End Game

Some fifty years later, I still dream on like I have all the time in the world to fill in the blank spots on my map of adventures. And while I realize I don't, I think it was Van Morrison who said "It's too late to stop now". [Mary Erdei - Fremont West Face, Wind River Range - 1985]