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LETTER: It takes a community to climb a mountain

Editor: It sounded relatively straight forward when I moved to Canmore from Edmonton seven months ago for a new job and adventure. Buy some good hiking boots, obtain a ‘water/wind proof’ jacket as opposed to the ‘resistant’ labels, grab a ski pole or

Editor:

It sounded relatively straight forward when I moved to Canmore from Edmonton seven months ago for a new job and adventure. Buy some good hiking boots, obtain a ‘water/wind proof’ jacket as opposed to the ‘resistant’ labels, grab a ski pole or two and find a trailhead which leads to the alpine. One that has an epic peak and some sort of ‘mega’ vista.

Off we went. I was fine until that first scramble and then wished I had a helmet and had learned how to properly tie a figure eight knot to short-rope my partner. The ascent was over, I returned home defeated, disillusioned and disappointed in what I failed to achieve. I have since shared this story with new friends and colleagues who said all you have to do here in Canmore is ask and people will be more than willing to support you – I could not agree more.

Seven months in and still not one summit, but I’ve now done the needed research for my proposed route, trained, learned, chatted with experienced guides (invited as well) and brought extra batteries for my headlamp to properly illuminate our path. It as much about the destination as it is about setting goals, inviting willing partners who bring with them a diverse set of skills and the foundational work to get back onto that mountain. Aspirational, but achievable.

Canmore is passionate, resolute, welcoming and that beautiful alpine forget-me-not along the trail, but as an experienced climber once told me "gloves off at elevation only serves to accelerate the frostbite."

Together we can not only move mountains, but perhaps reach their peak. Now imagine if we applied this to other challenges before us.

Ian O'Donnell,

Canmore