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Top American Alpinist Talks About Transgender Life

Jamie Logan on Dream On 5.11c/d Photo Julie Ellison

One of the most referred to names in the world of Canadian alpine climbing is that of Jim Logan, who made the first ascent of the Emperor Face with Mugs Stump back in 1978.

Logan had a number of important accomplishments in the world of climbing, such as climbing Grand Giraffe 5.10a in Colorado for the state’s first use of passive pro, first ascent of Gross/Logan 5.11R in Black Canyon, second American ascent of the Eiger’s north face, climbing the Diamond on Long’s Peak free in 1975 with Wayne Gross and making the first free ascent of the three-pitch 5.10d offwidth Crack of Fear, a redpoint of Sonic Youth 5.13a in 2007 and many more.

When Steve House repeated the crux of The Logan/Stump on Mount Robson’s Emperor Face, he said it was M8.

In 2017, Climbing ran a piece by Julie Ellison about Logan’s transition to being a woman.

And this month, Chris Weidner wrote a piece for the Daily Camera (read here) and said, “Logan is a successful architect with four children and a partner, Sherry Wiggins, with whom she’s shared 36 years.

“While her physical transition didn’t really start until 2014, a series of cautious, incremental steps toward womanhood began more than 20 years ago when she started wearing her partner’s clothing around the house.”

In Ellison’s 2014 interview, she asked ‘How would you explain this to those who might not understand?’ To which Logan responded with, “The whole boy/girl dichotomy is really false. A lot of people live in the gender spectrum, and there’s a lot of in between. There are people who are way boyish of girl, and I’m way girlish of boy. But we all navigate somewhere in this Neverland.

“I’ll never have the experiences that a young woman did, and that’s fine. Sometimes when I’m on jobsites and I’m explaining how I want the concrete done, I get pretty boyish. But then again, when I arrive on a jobsite carrying something heavy, the Mexican concrete guys will run over and carry it for me.

“It’s part of their culture. Or when I’m in a meeting at work and it’s busy, people will slip back into saying “he.” I don’t get upset, and I don’t expect people to gender-parse their stuff when all we really care about is [getting the work done].”

And Weidner concluded his piece with, “I’m still awed and motivated by her 1970s climbing résumé. But I’ve learned so much more about courage, risk-taking, self-worth and love through her transition than I ever have through her climbing career as ‘the man.’

“‘If you feel good about yourself and you can look people in the eye and smile, they don’t care about anything else,’ said Logan. ‘I was able to get to a place where I’m truly at peace with myself. I feel happier than I’ve ever been.'”

When Ellison asked Logan about past ascents, Logan said, “When I was climbing, I was climbing. There was no gender stuff; there was just the next pitch. When you’re on something hard and scary, there’s a rule—you gotta take your pitch. You think, ‘How hard is it going to be? Is there going to be protection? What am I going to do up there?’

“And gender doesn’t make any difference. When I was climbing, I was just climbing. It was the rest of my life that was confusing.”

The rest of life is confusing for many of us climbers, so let’s all keep climbing while letting our hearts, souls and minds lead the way.

Jim Logan in 1978 on Emperor Face Photo Mugs Stump

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