Doing what you love is no vaccine for loneliness. After months of being on the road and now in Peru where I feel the full weight of my choice to spend a year away from friends and family; my motivation to start a new climb at 3am was devastated by feelings of loneliness and isolation.
In the spirit of the Vertical Year ethos of chasing dreams, my partner in life, Bec Perkins shares her story and experience. How do you talk about this dream with your partner or family if it means you are contemplating moving away? How do you know if your partner is going to support you or panic at the idea and potentially give you an ultimatum? How do you do the ‘long distance relationship thing’ or even talk about that as an option?
Today I realised a dream. I climbed probably the most iconic and one of the toughest ice climbs in the world - Polar Circus (V, WI5 - 700m). Probably my proudest achievement is that I lead my first grade 5 ice pitch on this route. To do this on such a classic climb is something very special to me. It has been the culmination of a lot of work and progress, mostly on the mental side of climbing over the past month.
Bourgeau Left is one of those lines that when you first see it, you stop dead in your tracks. A sprawling flow of ice, 185m in length, appearing like a singular white scar against the Limestone southern face of Mt Bourgeau. It is long, aesthetic, challenging, committing, has a colourful history and is respected. It is a route that provides everything you could look for in an ice climb and it certainly represents the best qualities of climbing in the Canadian Rockies.
The climb went well. We didn't move fast and had a very enjoyable day, topping out around 6pm. Rappelling down in the dark we hiked back to the car, picked up some Indian food for dinner and got back to our hotel room around 10:30pm. Tired yet elated we packed out bags ready for the next day's adventure. Then the adventure neither of us were looking for started