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He Climbed Bold Routes, Survived Stroke and Wrote a Book

Remy Bernier was a climbing guide in Canada's mountains when he suffered a stroke in 2006 that left him paralyzed

Remy Bernier was a climbing guide who established bold routes in the Canadian Rockies before he suffered a debilitating stroke in 2006. The stroke left Bernier paralyzed, with his coordination, speech and vision affected.

He’s now written a book called From Mountaineer to Stroke Survivor, published by Olympia Publishers in 2021. The description of the book starts with, “Is suffering a severe stroke the end of the world, or the beginning of a different kind of life?”

His memoir took seven years to write, because he could only type with one finger. He will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but despite the setbacks he continues to push his limits, and is now a martial artist, paddler and a burgeoning a film director.

He made the first ascents of a number of bold climbs during his active years in the Rockies. His most influential lines were added in 2000 with Francois Roy. They established Le Jour Le Plus Long, a 500-metre 5.11 on the Windtower in the Bow Valley over two days. Remarkably for a new route of this magnitude on Rockies limestone, they climbed it entirely clean. They also put up a new 300-metre 5.10 on Mount Edith in Banff.

Top Canadian climber Raphael Slawinski had this to say about Le Jour Le Plus Long: “This outstanding route was established on summer solstice in 2000 by two Quebecois climbers, Remy Bernier and Francois Roy, in just about the best style possible: on-sight and hammerless. Rolando Garibotti and I made the second ascent in 2003 and added a two-pitch variation, making for easier but more consistent climbing. I hope that others will respect the pure style in which the route was put up and leave their hammers behind when enjoying one of the finest long routes the Front Ranges have to offer.”

This week, Alik Berg, Quentin Roberts and Dylan Cunningham repeated Le Jour Le Plus Long. You can read about their climb below.

Bernier was at the top of his game when a tragic stroke pulled the carpet out from beneath him. But, with that mental fortitude that allowed him to succeed on steep and dangerous climbs, he’s been able to push through, rise above and achieve many of his goals. You can order his new book here.

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