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Why You Should Never Date a Canadian Rock Climber

Canada flag in the Rockies. Photo Tim Banfield

A Canadian rock climber you say? Don’t bother, if they’re not suffering from perpetual adolescence then they’re certainly only saving money for their next winter rock climbing trip overseas.

Here’s 10 reasons why you should never date a Canadian rock climber.

1. Clean?

Us Canadian climbers get dirty. How can we not be after spending hours outdoors, wrestling mother nature to ascend vertical things.

We bushwhack, claw up dirty rock covered in lichen and dirt, grab sappy trees, sit on the ground and jam our hands into places were small critters live. Our clothes are dirty, out hands are dirty and our hair is dirty.

Don’t love mud, leaves, sap, moss, dirt? This won’t work.

Sonnie Trotter working in the dirt on a future classic climb

2. We’ll Climb ‘Till Sundown (and beyond)

Our rock seasons in Canada are short because most of the year is cold and snowy.

That means when it’s not rock season we work hard to climb hard. That means when the weather improves and the days get longer we are planning on climbing a lot.

There’s no, “We need to be there for dinner at 5, so only one more climb.” There’s a lot of, “It’s sunny until 10, so we’re staying until 10. Say hi to the family for me.”

And even when the sun goes down, if we’re still feeling it, we’ll climb with headlamps.

We climb at night

3. Our Hands are Rough

Our hands are our tools. They aren’t made for looking pretty or feeling soft.

The more calluses and scabs, the happier we are. If you don’t like scratchy shoulder rubs, you won’t like climbers’ hands.

Canadian rock goes through a lot of weather cycles and they can be seen in our gnarly knuckles.

Magaly Charluet shows her damaged hands after a harrowing climbing attempt on The Nose

4. Our Homes are Gear Rooms

Rock climbing takes a lot of gear, so that means our homes (which are usually small) become gear rooms.

Nothing is safe, you’ll find ropes draped over kitchen chairs, quickdraws on the floor, cams and nuts on the couch and packs piled against the walls.

Here in Canada, we need a lot of layers because the weather changes fast. So closets are reserved for down coats, hard shells approach shoes, the rest of the house is for our random hardware.

Our kitchen

5. We’re Seasonal

Canadian rock climbers don’t like staying in one place for too long and once we bank a bit of money, we travel to the warm and dry rock.

In the winter we will head south for find dry and warm rock in Mexico, California, Spain or South Africa. In summer, we’ll head to B.C, Alberta or the east.

And when we get there, we are dropping money on seeing fancy things and taking in the best restaurants, on the contrary.

We want you to come to all of the places, but the novelty will wear off pretty quick.

Spain, our happy place

6. We’ll Climb in Freezing Temps

Canadian rock climbers don’t have long rock seasons, that means we’ll climb once the rock is dry.

We’ll head out and stand in snow to belay each other on cold stone. It might even snow, we don’t care. We have toques, eh.

The colder the better Photo Jessica Lee

7. We Want You to Climb

Canadians are apologetically polite and there’s nothing we want more than to share our love of the vertical.

Maybe you tried climbing in the gym once and didn’t like it, well you better get ready for a lot more of it.

We bring everyone climbing!

8. Shop Talk

Have you ever wondered what hot-rocks are? Or how about what the Split Pillar is? Or who Peter Croft is? Or the Niagara Glen?

When us Canadian climbers aren’t on the rock, we’re talking rock. If not rock, we’re talking conditions, future trips, gear, who done what, how many quickdraws you need for that one pitch and when the snow is expected to shut down our project season.

Winter is long and to keep the stoke up, we shop talk… a lot.

Climbers talking shop after climbing

9. So Much Driving

Canada is a big place and to travel between crags requires a lot of time on the road.

We love being on the road, we love it so much that some of us would rather live in our car than in a house.

And when summer is over, we have to drive farther to rock climb. So load up!

Why? If you need to ask that, this won’t work.

Driving into rainy Squamish

10. Our Feet are Disgusting

Hopefully you’re not squeamish and hopefully you can handle whatever we have going on down there.

In Canada, most crags are a bit of a hike, so we need to wear approach shoes, they get gross.

All climbers wear climbing shoes, they can get stinky.

Climbing shoes are tight and with constant wear, the kind of minor ailments that most people would find merely irritating become self-perpetuating agonies.

Corns develop sinuses and become ulcers, nails thicken and grow hard skin underneath, we grow heel spurs.

Stay away, stay so far away.