Their plan was simple. Drive south through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama to the end of the road at Panama City, hitting every bar and beach along the way. Leave the car in Panama, fly to Bogota in COlombia, travel by bus through Colombia and Ecuador into Peru, and try to climb at least one 6,000 m peak.
Although North America is not the birthplace of climbing, it is a continent that has given the pursuit many of its defining characteristics:crack climbing, ice-climbing, big wall climbing and V-grades among them. In contrast to Europe, it’s a place where getting to the route sometimes poses as much of a challenge as climbing it.
It is said that inspiration comes from the most unlikely sources, and here was a regular woman who was pushing her personal limits in a way I had never seen before at any crag.
We were just a couple of twenty-year-olds from Squamish. We could do this, Couldn’t we? The Nose was one of the biggest climbs of its type in the world in 1969 and at 31 pitches, two or three times longer than the longest climb we had done. It was big, psychologically and physically.
We head to the Calgary Climbing Centre, where Rokne is head coach for a dedicated team of young climbers. For a number of years, the CCC youth team has trained twice a week in the wee morning hours, and while this may not be the most ideal time to handle twenty or so hormone infused teenagers, Rokne has stepped up to the challenge year after year.