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Ontario Climber’s Chalet Lost to Fire – Historical Gear Burned

Shaun Parent returned home only to find that he'd lost historical ice climbing equipment, 40 pairs of boots and several structures

Ontario-based Shaun Parent has been climbing for over 40 years and has established countless new ice and rock routes. After a successful climbing trip to South America, he returned to his home on the east shore of Lake Superior only to find one of the structures on his property had been destroyed in a fire, which started in his neighbours home.

The bunkie pre-fire

Parent hadn’t been home since Nov. 8 when on Nov. 25 he received a text from the Batchawana Fire & Rescue notifying him that he’d lost his garage, chalet, ATVs and snowmobile in a fire that lasted for six hours. The chalet, which Parent called his climbing bunkie, had new gear and old equipment, some of which was from the mid-1800s.

Also lost in the fire were 40 pairs of ice climbing boots that Parent used for his guiding company Superior Exploration, Adventure & Climbing Co. Ltd, plus all of the harnesses, helmets, crampons and ice tools that went with them.

Post-fire

“The bunkie had all of my historical gear, endorsements, citations and all my original guidebook copies since 1983,” he said. ” The fire seems to have started near their [the neighbour’s] dryer,” said Parent. “Then it moved down their house, jumped to bunkie. It burned two ATVs and one snowmachine. It then jumped to my garage with the Volkswagen van and gear.”

Parent has been working on a new guidebook to Algoma ice climbing, which includes over 600 routes. He’d previously written 17 guidebooks, including North of Superior. Parent is a geologist by trade with experience in mining and mineral exploration. Since starting to climb in 1977, Parent has climbed in India, Nepal, Peru and Chile. You can read more about Parent and his guiding company here.

Garage post-fire

In 2018, a short film featuring Parent talking about his climbing life was released online. In the video, Parent can be seen sitting in his now-gone climbing bunkie with a wall of old ice tools behind – watch below.

Parent said that along with his climbing gear, his kayaks, mountain bikes and more was lost to the fire. Nevertheless, he said, “I feel as if I’m emerging from a cocoon” and that he’ll “definitely be developing more routes” in the near future.

Shaun Parent Talks Climbing