Archive for the ‘News & Events’ Category

JP Auclair Ski Video

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

To this day the video at the bottom is still the best skiing video clip I have ever seen. The skier in it is JP Auclair. Rest in Peace, JP.

JP Auclair, Quebec extreme skier, killed in avalanche

“Everest: Climbers Steck and Moro in fight with Sherpas”

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The BBC ran a story today with the headline “Climbers and guides fight on Everest”. Read about it here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22336540

I will save my commentary on this until there is more known about the events, but looking at the cause, I think I can see where both parties could be coming from. Though of course having things turn violent is never good, especially on an already dangerous mountain.

I will add this comment, if I was to get in a fight in Camp 3, from my end it would be the sissiest fight in the world and I would get my butt kicked. :)

I guess this puts a damper into Ueli Steck’s attempt to para-glide all over the Himalaya, as per this video:

Once Upon a Time on Everest

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Recently I went to my God-Daughter’s 4th birthday, and leading up to it I was thinking to myself, “What kind of a gift could I give her?” I like to give gifts that are original and last a while. I recently learned that kids that age are very interested in discovering new things, have a grand imagination, and like adventures (Dora the Explorer anyone? As one gift she got Dora shoes…). So I thought I would tell her a story about her Godfather’s adventure going up a very big mountain, a mountain much taller than the tallest building she might see in the city, with big pieces of ice the size of her house to walk around, and many other unbelievable descriptions that to any child (and some adults, myself included at times) would sound like a fairytale.

On a somewhat related topic, for a while now I have had the idea of writing a book about my Everest adventures, but aiming it for a young-adult audience. With this thought of my Goddaughter, why not try and put together a book for her age also? A kid reader that her parents could read to her, with pictures or drawings of Everest that would inspire her imagination to go wild.

So, with that in mind, I am asking if anyone out there knows something about, or knows someone in, the kids publishing area in North America. While I have had this thought of writing for a young audience for a while now, not having acted on it means I need some help. Leave a comment, drop me a line at worldpeak.ca@gmail.com, or just let me know what you think of the idea! Thanks!

Confessions of a Modern Day Everest Climber

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Some of you may have heard the recent news of the Canadian woman who died on Everest, Shriya Shah-Klorfine. If not you can read about it here; she died while descending from the top after taking 22 hours to reach the summit, on a day where there was a lot of people going up and traffic was a problem.

I wanted to share a few thoughts on this, but not on the immediate issues that you may hear about from others. I could talk about the traffic that is ever present on Everest during the most popular climbing season, and how some of those people maybe should not be there. I could talk about how it’s important to have a pre-determined turn-around time in mind (that was decided upon at lower elevations where critical thought is possible), and stick to it, thereby not letting oneself get into a situation where 22 hours go by before reaching the summit. I could talk about the effects of being above 8000m for too long, or how near impossible it is to rescue someone from high on Everest.

But rather than look at those points, I wanted to delve a little deeper. Maybe I can shine some light on the thoughts that might be going through someone’s head on an expedition like this. I remember when I was on Everest in 2010, the atmosphere at base camp and of other climbers was different than any other mountain I had ever been on. People (mainly other “clients” that had paid to be there, mainly on other teams) were a bit less social, a bit less friendly. They were not like most mountaineers I had met in the past, that have been free spirited, easy going, open minded. Somehow, things were a little different. People seemed to be very focused on themselves and on their trip to the top.

One of the things I love about mountaineering is that, in general, it’s not a competitive sport (perhaps excluding those people that establish new routes). I can summit with my team and so can you, we give each other tips, and we compare stories about it in the tent later. That camaraderie very much appeals to me, as in true competitive sports I have sometimes let the competitiveness get in the way of the fun.

But this atmosphere at Everest was almost that, a competitive one. I don’t know if I dare say that it was so competitive that people were thinking “If I summit and you don’t, it’s better than if we both summit”. In a way a ridiculous notion, but I felt it around me. More than that, I think some of that thought rubbed off on me as well (or maybe I have to admit that I brought it with me?) I am not sure why, but unlike before I was very much feeling that I had something to prove, that I wanted and deserved the summit as much as, if not more than, anyone else.

Luckily, by the time it came to go for the summit, I didn’t want to be there anymore. I didn’t want to climb Everest; I just wanted to go home. But I had no excuse, so I went along as far as I could, waiting for an excuse to come up. Next thing I know I was at the summit.

But what about the people that don’t lose that drive to get to the top? What about people like Shriya, who give it all they have to get to the top? Because they also have something to prove. They have to prove that they have a right to be there. They have to prove that they have what it takes to not be an also ran. Of the hundreds of people who have a permit to climb Everest, roughly a quarter of them will summit. Do I have what it takes to be one of them?

Wrong or right, those thought are present in the modern day Everest climber. Luckily, most people realize when they are in too deep and turn around. However, there will always be those that give it a little too much. There are fatalities on Everest every year, expect nothing diffrent without drastic changes in the way expeditions are run.

As was mentioned in the article, there will be another rush of people to the summit this weekend. Pray things will be different, but expect more of the same.

Ueli Steck – My Hero

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

I wanted to share with you guys some amazing climbing as done by Ueli Steck. I first heard of him from the movie “The Swiss Machine”, which we saw at the Best of Banff Mountain Film Festival when it made its stop in Calgary. I will not talk much about that but give you two clips to watch that show a part of that movie. Make sure to go full screen, set it to the highest quality, and enjoy the climbing along with the amazing cinematography:

Part 1:

Part 2:

While finding these clips online I found myself watching his climb over and over again, totally mesmerized. Crazy what this guy can do.

So now, why is he my hero? I don’t plan on doing anything like the above, don’t worry. What is inspiring is his most recent climbing attempt, where he was trying to climb 3 8000m mountains in one season, all alpine style, all without oxygen. There is no movie about this (yet, as far as I know), but he had some pretty great write-ups about it. I might talk a bit more about it in another entry, but if you wanted to read his first-hand account, you can find the entry on Shishapangma here, about Cho Oyu here, and Everest here. If you read just one, I think the Shishapangma one is the best. Crazy dude!

Update: Just found a couple more movies that show his preparation for climbing these 8000ers, find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Everest 2011: Summits and Deaths

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Just a quick update on the things happening on Everest this year. May 6 saw the first Sherpa team reach the summit from the south (Nepal) side, fixing ropes to the summit as they went. This now opens the doors for any and all teams to follow and try reaching the summit when the next weather windows come.

Also, there have been two deaths already reported on Everest this year, both on the south side. One of them was an American, and you can see a story on him here. When I read a story like that it definitely brings things into perspective again of what can happen out there, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

Anyways, now is a time to be staying on top of Everest action, as more and more teams plan for the summit, and more news should be hitting the streets as people do and don’t make it. For some of the latest news keep an eye on http://everestnews.com/, they usually have the latest.

Hope everyone is enjoying their May so far! For those coming to my presentation at the CPL this Saturday, see you there! That will be three days away from my one-year Everest summit anniversary.

Take care!

Presentation at Calgary Public Library

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I wanted to let those people know that have been wanting to see my presentation that the details are now out for my May 14 presentation. It will be part of the Calgary Public Library’s Summer Program. I think they have just released this program, and if you can’t get your hands on a hard copy, you can find it online here: Link to CPL Programs.

To see info on my presentation specifically, just type ‘Everest’ into the ‘Keywords’ field, and click ‘Search’. Looking at the online link, it mentions registration will start April 18. Not sure what that’s all about, but if you’re interested in coming make sure you stay on top of that. Otherwise, see you there!

Everest Presentation at CPL

Pumping Oxygen Up Everest

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Man, how did I miss this? Aparently there’s a Canadian company that is about to make summiting Everest a whole lot easier, and safer too! Looks like they’ll be doing a pilot project this year, seems like I just missed it! Here’s the scoop:

Summit Air: New system for breathing oxygen high on Mount Everest

Note: see the date the article was published.

Save the Date

Friday, March 11th, 2011

For those that have wanted to see my presentation, but have not been able to make it to one, now is your chance to plan ahead a little. I will be doing a slideshow and talk about my Everest climb on Saturday, 14 May, 2011, in Downtown Calgary. Further details will be revealed later, but that should be enough to allow anyone to plan that wants to.

A little bit about my presentation. And why I do it. The reason I do it is because people ask me to, and when I’m done the feedback is usually quite positive. And I like to give the presentation because I can walk people through the entire journey, from start to finish, and I know I have their attention all along. And I think that way people appreciate it more for what it is, an entire journey, an expedition, an experience of personal development, so much more than just a mountain climb.

Wik's Presentation

Based on the feedback I’ve gotten, most (normal) people enjoy it, some get something out of it. I’m sure there are some that don’t think much of it, but I guess I’ve never heard their feedback. Some feedback I’ve gotten: “Okay, now I understand why you climbed Everest, it makes more sense knowing what you went through”, “That was an emotional presentation”, “You’re crazy, your parents must have been so worried while you were gone!”

And all that is a reason why I have been hesitant in writing down all my stories in this blog. When talking to people casually, socially, answering their specific questions, I tell just one small part of the story (to be honest even in my 45 minute monologue I only tell a small part of the WHOLE story). If you just take any small part of it, it’s almost nothing extraordinary. Out of context. Same would be on this blog. It would be quasi-Everest. It would be the margarine of Everest. It would be the Diet Coke of Everest. Just one calorie, not Everest enough. :)

So the presentation seems the best way to pass it along. The invitation is there. And to be honest, when I show my pictures and tell my story, I feel like I’m just showing slides from my last vacation to [insert comfortable beach destination], sharing my experiences with those that care to hear. And who doesn’t like to talk about their travels? I guess the only difference is the choice of vacation spots.

After Everest, come hear about my trip!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Since coming back from Mount Everest, I have managed to keep quite busy with life and haven’t written anything for a while. I have given a few slide shows to friends and family, and passed along some of the stories, but I’m now doing one as an open event! I will be doing a talk and showing pictures from my trip this Thursday, I encourage everyone to come out! But this event is not just about me, it’s a little different than the other presentations I’ve done; this event is organized along with World Vision, there will be printed pictures from my trip, and it will all be tied in to the larger picture of my fund raising efforts and World Vision as a whole. So even if you have seen my pictures before, you haven’t seen it like this!

If you’re at all interested in my Everest adventure, or in my fundraising campaign, come on out! The official invite can be seen here, or read on:

You’re invited to an inspirational photo exhibit. This one day, open house features photos by Wiktor Mazur, a local World Vision Child Sponsor, who climbed Mount Everest.

Thursday, November 25, 2010
Open House from 6:00 – 9:30 pm, with Wiktor sharing his story at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
Health Sciences Centre, by Foothills Hospital
Theatre 3 (2nd floor, elevator available upon request)
3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary AB T2N 4N1

Back from his climb, Wiktor wants to share with you – through photos and stories – the challenges he endured and the triumphs he celebrated. Inspired by the children who live each day in poverty, Wiktor took on the grueling journey of climbing to the world’s peak, Mt. Everest; hoping to help these children enjoy life to its fullest.

Come see what he saw from the top of the world – see his photos and hear his story about climbing Mt. Everest.

SPECIAL FEATURE for Calgary: Seeing life through the lens of a child is a powerful experience.
Using a photography workshop, sponsored children, in Bangladesh and Zambia, learned basic composition and photography techniques. Then they took the cameras into their world – offering a rare photographic insight into the lives of sponsored children. They captured images of things they want to change and things they are proud of. The result is a celebration of their vision and their enthusiasm.

The children were also asked to photograph what they want to share with the world. Now you are invited to share in that experience with them – and see how the children look at their world.

Visit www.worldvision.ca/Events for more information (including map and parking information).