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364) Climb with an ice axe 13 Jan 2013

[The following is a designated ‘John-only‘ to-do]

There’s a feeling you get when you stand on the edge of the ocean that there is something very large, wild and untameable out there in front of you. When you stand on the edge of the Canadian wilderness and look out it’s not much different. There is a whole wild world out there. It’s scary, it’s big, it’s beautiful and amazing. Once you take that first step out into it you can’t help but get tangled up…and then you can’t help but wonder when you’ll stop caring if you’ll ever come back again.


It’s been a crazy year of adventures. We’ve seen some spectacular sights. But one thing I’ve been eagerly anticipating has been getting out on the ice.

For this climb based to-do, my good friend Daniel Moore joined me. This morning we met up with Shaun Parent who runs Superior Exploration, just north of Sault St. Marie. Shaun’s an experienced guide, who pioneered ice climbing in the Lake Superior region (among many other items on his long resume). After a meandering breakfast discussion on the finer points of climbing, the art of travel, and close-call climbing deaths, we headed out to the ice to earn our frigid stripes.

What a fantastic day. Everything went smoothly, no problems, mistakes, injuries or impalements (a condition somewhat unique to ice climbing).

Ice climbing is definitely not a sport to be approached lightly, but when approached correctly it can be an exciting, challenging, intense, rewarding experience. I’m in love with climbing all over again…or maybe I’ve found a mistress?


PS: To-Do #365 will be posted later tonight! We’ve made a pretty awesome wrap-up video to show you, but the internet connection in my motel room is stupid slow. Looks like it will take a whole day for the video to process. Stick with us!