What does TA stand for?
When did you start climbing?
I started climbing trees when I was nine. I then moved onto climbing the garage, the house, rock cliffs, and eventually mountains. My high school had an outdoor pursuits club and that gave me the skills to begin my career as an outdoor educator.
Why do you climb mountains?
I climbed Denali because I needed a really big project in my life to throw my heart and soul into. After that experience and seeing how, by sharing my process, others were inspired, I’ve continued to climb and adventure as a way to move others and myself forward. When I climb to high places, I see my world and myself in new ways. Even when I return to sea level, I carry what I saw with me through the rest of my life. I also love living and adventuring outdoors–it’s when I feel most alive and most “me.”
How many mountains have you climbed? What is your favorite mountain that you have climbed?
Actually, I forgot to count. I figure I have climbed 40-50 mountains in total. Denali is my favorite mountain to date. I have climbed six of the “Seven Summits” and climbed the highest point in ten different countries thus far.
How do you train for climbing mountains?
I train 10-20 hours per week depending on how close an expedition is to leaving. I run, attend step aerobics with a pack, lift weights, do yoga, play hockey, climb Signal Hill, and meditate. I train a few hours each day if I can fit in it.
How do you train and fundraise and still manage your job?
I don’t have much down time. I haven’t much watched TV in the past eight years. I multi-task. Sometimes I don’t get much sleep. Memorial University has been very supportive and my job allows me some flexibility in scheduling.
How much can you bench press and leg press?
I can bench press 160 pounds and leg press 750 pounds.
Have you always been fit?
I have always had a good level of fitness. When I started training for Denali, however, I had never been a runner. So I began by running one minute and walking one minute, running one minute and walking one minute. I then gradually increased the mileage until I was able to run more than 25 kilometers.
How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?
Mount Everest is an expensive mountain to climb. My budget wass $60,000 which included the Everest permit, outfitter fees, my personal Sherpa, satellite phone and airtime, gear, and travel.
Are you scared about climbing Mount Everest?
You betcha! Mount Everest is a mountain with many hazards. I have worked hard to develop a high level of fitness and skill that I hope will help keep me safe but there are no guarantees. I’m scared of the Khumbu icefall, the effects of extreme high altitude, and the traverse to the summit. I have learned to work with my fear and use it to practice good hazard management. All said though, I am both excited and scared.
Have you ever fallen into a crevasse or been in an avalanche?
Knock on wood. Neither my team nor myself has ever fallen into a crevasse or been in an avalanche.
Will you climb with oxygen?
I will use oxygen on summit bids on 8000 metre peaks. Using oxygen reduces the chances of getting frostbite and helps me think clearer.
What do you miss while you are on mountains?
I miss hockey! It seems just when I get my hockey legs back it’s time to go climb another mountain. I will also miss my friends, family, and Buddhist Sangha. I’ll miss the smell of the ocean and of course, I will miss Vanilla Dips!