On Wednesday, April 19, The Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival will feature Steve Swenson, American aplinist, as he explores the nature of high altitude, alpine climbing, the complexities of remote expeditions, the geo political workings of Kasmir, as well as his passion for the cultural communities in this region of the world. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A where four experts will bring their unique perspectives to the Kashmir Conflict and how it effects climbers and trekkers.
With a number of ascents under his belt, including the second ascent of the North Face of Mount Alberta, in 1981, the first ascent of the Northeast Face of Kwangde Nup and Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat in 1989 and 2004 respectively, and oxygen-free ascents of K2 and Everest and Steve Swenson is no stranger to adventure. Now retired from Engineering but still climbing, Steve has taken the time to reflect back on his experiences in the Karokoram, as well as the changes that have taken place in the region over the past four decades. Squamish Climbing Magazine had the chance to catch up with Steve before his presentation on Wednesday and here is what he had to say.
This weekend, Edmonton, Alberta will play host to the 2017 Canadian Open Bouldering Championships. With all the strong competitors coming out of the woodworks to compete this year, we had a number of people who we could have interviewed before the competition. Sticking out above the rest was Edmonton-local and prairie crusher Andrew Funk. After graduating high school, Andrew took his stoke outside and travelled around Europe sport climbing in limestone paradise. After sending his first 5.14a (Mal de Isla), Andrew made his way home only to find himself back on the road. Now attending the University of British Columbia in his first year of Engineering, Andrew has found a home on the Hive Climbing team in Vancouver and has pushed himself this year under the tutelage of Jeff Thompson and Christian Core. We thought it would be awesome to check in with Andrew as he gets ready to fly home. Here is what he had to say.
Andrew Funk. Photo by Shane Murdoch ©
As part of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Brette Harrington will be bringing down the curtain on Saturday, Feb. 18th, 2017.
Raised in the mountains of Lake Tahoe, Brette first found herself immersed in skiing as a child. After years of competitive ski racing, Brette first found climbing while attending a boarding school in New Hampshire designed for sports athletes. Years later, while attending the University of British Columbia, Brette had the opportunity to sample the granite splitters of the Sea to Sky where she began to push her own limits, sending a number off difficult routes, including The Shadow (5.13a) and The Edge of Pan (5.13b), while putting up a few first ascents of her own. With her skills in tow, Brette hit the media spotlight after soloing Chiaro Di Luna, 11a, 750m in Patagonia. Recently featured in this year’s Reel Rock tour, Brette continues to push the limits of her climbing through a number of big wall experiences. Fresh off a trip from Patagonia (literally yesterday), Brette still has the fire in her eyes as she settles into the West Coast winter with plans for a few mixed climbing adventures in the North Cascades. We had a chance to catch up with Brette before tomorrow nights show and here is what she had to say.
Brette Harrington. Photo courtesy of VIMFF ©
As part of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Nina Caprez will be sharing her stories and passion for rock climbing.
Born in Switzerland, Nina Caprez quickly became a young rock star after years of growing up in the mountains. Competing internationally as a youth, she ended up leaving the competition scene to focus on outdoor climbing in France. Traveling around the world, Nina made a name for herself in big wall climbing, with ascents of Ultime Démence, 5 pitches (8a+) and La Ramirole, 5 pitches (8b) in Verdon, and Orbayu (8c+/9a) in Naranjo de Bulnes, Spain. Over the past year, Nina had a life changing experience after contracting a parasite in Turkey that left her hospitalized and fighting for her life. Now recovered, Nina has re-discovered her love for climbing and has had an awakening about her life and how grateful she is to use her body. We had a chance to check in with Nina before the show tomorrow (Thursday) and here is what she had to say.
Nina Caprez in Oliana. Photo courtesy of Arcteryx ©
The 2016 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival will be kicking off their Fall Series next week, running November 22nd to the 25th, 2016. Added late to the program was a film titled ‘Before it Falls’ featuring the Ewbank Route on the Totem Pole in Tasmania. We thought it would be cool to catch up with the film makers to find out how they brought their vision to reality. The film, created by Simon Bischoff and Mathew Farrell will be featured on the Rock Climbing Night, Friday, November 25th at Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver.
Matthew Farrell. Photo courtesy of Matt Farrell ©
The 2016 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival will be kicking off their Fall Series next week, running November 22nd to the 25th, 2016. We are very excited to announce that local Vancouver climber and photographer, Rich Wheater will be speaking during the Rock Climbing night on Friday, November 25th at Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver. Rich is an active member of our climbing community both as a developer and contributor to a variety of climbing media outlets. He recently became a Director of the Climbers Access Society of BC. We had a chance to catch up with Rich this week and here is what he had to say.
Rich Wheater with his crew Senja and Daisy. Photo courtesy of Rich Wheater ©
Peter Croft has long been a legend in the climbing world. Originally born on Vancouver Island and then first learning how to climb in Squamish, Peter cut his teeth in Squamish during a time that was a pure adventure, free from any influence of previous generations. With his first ascents of University Wall (along with Greg Foweraker and Hamish Fraser) and The Shadow, Peter soon became a part of the climbing fabric that made Squamish history. In this interview, we dive into Peter’s origins in Squamish and what life was like in those days as well as his transition to Yosemite and how Squamish prepared him in his future pursuits. Here is what he had to say.
Greg Foweraker, Tami Knight and a young Peter Croft. Photo by Pat Morrow and courtesy of Peter Croft ©
Nathan Kukathas started climbing in 1996 in Australia. Growing up unable to afford climbing gear, Nathan started designing and making his own gear including his harness, backpack, tents, sleeping bag, portaledge and haul bags. Soon his design flare brought him into the Outdoor Industry. Today he is a multi-award winning designer having worked for brands including: Arc’teryx, Sea To Summit and Black Diamond. Nathan is an experienced big wall climber and ACMG guide. Climbing routes up to A5, including first ascents and first repeats of routes from Baffin Island, Pakistan and his home town Squamish. We had a chance to sit down with Nathan and talk about his new prototype and how his recent trip to Yosemite opened his eyes to the possibilities. Here is what he had to say.
Nathan in Baffin Island (2013). Photo courtesy of Nathan Kukathas ©
Hi Nathan, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about this weekends Big Wall Event and the launch of your new company Grade 7 Equipment. Can you start off by first telling us about the event this Saturday?
With the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival just around the corner, Squamish Climbing Magazine has gone full tilt with an interview of the festival’s first guest speaker, Kevin Jorgeson. Originally gaining fame with the first ascent of Ambrosia in Bishop, CA, Kevin’s name became synonymous with difficult highball bouldering. After completing Ambrosia, Kevin was ready for his next big project when he was inspired by Tommy Caldwell’s clip of The Dawn Wall in the film Progression. After an email introduction , Tommy and Kevin set off on a seven year journey to complete The Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, CA.
Kevin Jorgeson at home on El Cap. Photo courtesy of James Lucas ©
Kevin and Tommy’s ascent of The Dawn Wall was big for the climbing community but no one could have predicted how it would set fire to the media world earlier last year. With all the hype, big (and sometimes strange!) doors have opened for both Kevin and Tommy. Squamish Climbing Magazine had the chance to sit down with Kevin and talk about the hype, what it all meant, and what is on the horizon. Here is what he had to say.
The 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival is just around the corner and Squamish Climbing Magazine is more than excited to be a part of it. The film festival has long been an event that brings the climbing community together to celebrate the virtue of adventure and this year is no exception. With any event of this magnitude, it simply doesn’t put on itself. Behind the scenes there are cogs and gears moving long before any of the films hit the screen. From volunteers to directors, people are dedicating hours and hours to making the festival happen.
One of those people who has taken on a pretty big role over the past six years in bringing the festival together is Tom Wright. Tom Wright spent the first 20 years of his life living a typical middle class English life. A life changing year studying in Montreal introduced him to rock climbing, snowboarding and Canadians – all of which he loved immediately! A natural move out West followed and for the past 7 years Tom has immersed himself in the coast mountain culture. He now lives in Squamish with his girlfriend Vikki and their dog Tundra. His official title at VIMFF is the Director of Film and Programming but he is also the guy who is there every night trying to make sure that things run smoothly. We thought it would be a great idea to interview Tom and get his thoughts on the festival this year and some of the highlights he is looking forward to.
Tom Wright on the VIMFF stage. Photo courtesy of VIMFF ©
Last week, we ran an interview with Tiffany Melius as she prepared for the 2016 BC Open Bouldering Provincials. Going into the event, Tiffany was ready to defend her title as Provincial Champion in a strong group of female competitors. However, her goals for that event did not go as planned. Tiffany ended up placing in sixth during the competition putting her in second place overall in the BC Provincial rankings, with the 2016 BC Open Provincial Champion title going to Alannah Yip.
Often in our interviews with competitors, we focus on the preparation for these events and then the outcome, but rarely do we have a chance to stop and reflect on what happens when an athlete doesn’t meet a goal that they set for themselves. In the sport of climbing, our personal goals are often set just below failure and in doing so we need to be able to weather the storm, reflect on those moments, and get back up and try again. Tiffany was open enough to talk about some of her reflections after this weekend and here is what she had to say.
Tiffany Melius at 2016 Provincials. Photo by Ken Chow ©
Almost three weeks ago, The Squamish Chief newspaper ran an article that indicated a parcel of land near Brennan Park Recreation Centre passed its ‘second reading of a zoning bylaw amendment’ that would ‘clear the way’ for a new rustic campground. The idea of a rustic campground in this area (2023 Centennial Way) was first proposed by John Harvey and the Mamquam River Access Society (MRAS) in 2014. Since then, The Mamquam River Access Society (MRAS) has gone through the motions of applying to the Provincial Crown for a 30 Year Community-Institutional Lease on a parcel of land and that application will go to public hearing on Tuesday Feb. 2, 2016 at a Townhall meeting.
This weekend, The Edge Climbing Centre in North Vancouver will host the 2016 BC Open Bouldering Provincials. The top BC athletes from this event will then compete on a National level next month when the 2016 CEC National Bouldering Championships takes place at The Hive North Shore.
Tiffany Melius was born and grew up in the sub-tropical climate of Brisbane on Australia’s east coast. She spent her early 20s traveling around the world, visiting over 35 countries, with working stops in Japan and the UK. Canada was the next scheduled working stop – she arrived on January 1, 2010, and she simply hasn’t left! Tiffany’s first competition in Canada was a Tour de Bloc at Beyond the Crux in Kelowna, on Jan 23, 2010. She placed second in that competition, and won the Western Canada Regionals in April of that same year.
With two wins this season and currently ranked first overall going into this weekend, Tiffany Melius will be a force this weekend at the 2016 BC Open Bouldering Provincials. Coming off a trip to Hueco Tanks and taking second place in Squamish two weeks ago, Tiffany is looking forward to defending her provincial title this weekend. Here we talk to Tiffany about her competition style, how she prepares for competition, and other things, including her new career and life path.
Tiffany Melius at the NW Boulderfest. Photo by Truc Allen Media ©
With the 2016 Alberta Youth and Open Bouldering Provincials taking place this weekend at the Calgary Climbing Centre, we thought it best to check in with a rising entity in the the Alberta climbing scene, Samuel Tucker. Sam Tucker is 23 years old and lives in Calgary, AB. He started climbing when he was nine years old and hasn’t looked back since. Now a regular part of the Western Canada competition scene, Sam has decided that this year he is willing to give all his focus to training and becoming a better all around climber. In this interview, we sit down with Sam and talk about his early influences in the Calgary climbing scene and where he sees himself going as a climbing, a coach, and as a person. Here is what he had to say.
Sam Tucker competing at the Calgary Climbing Centre. Photo by Ben Haley ©
Josie Hetyei is an incredibly inspiring climber. She has redpointed multiple 5.14s including one 5.14b. Even more impressive is how she continues to improve and even have breakthroughs at the age of 38 and after 20 years of climbing. She approaches her climbing with an incredible amount of persistence and diligence and she works really hard to accomplish her goals. For our final interview of 2105, Squamish Climbing Magazine caught up with Josie and she had this to say:
Josie Hetyei. Photo Dan Beland©
A few weeks ago, it was announced that Kelowna will be getting a brand new climbing facility under the ownership of Chris and Nancy de Vries. Gneiss Climbing is slated to open sometime in March 2016 and the new facility will be focused on bouldering with the goal of creating a community focal point for the Okanagan. We thought it would be best to go right to the source and talk to co-owner Chris de Vries, as he dives into some of his early memories at Vic’s Vertical Walls in Saskatoon and how that experience brought him to his next endeavour. Here is what he had to say.
This weekend, The Hive North Shore will host their first competition in the new facility. The competition this weekend is part of the Climbing Escalade Canada (CEC) National Series as well as sanctioned by Sport Climbing BC. This means that the competition will host a number of athletes travelling from out of town that will go head to head with our local athletes (who, in our opinion, have been putting on a great show!).
Eric Sethna at The Edge last year. Photo courtesy of Pam Eveleigh ©
One of the athletes coming to town this weekend to compete is Eric Sethna. Eric has started his Canadian competition season in grand style by placing first in the last four Tour De Bloc competitions. No stranger to competition, Eric won his first national championship at the age of ten and took part in four World Cup events this year. Here is what he had to say about this weekend and beyond.