Alpinism is the art of scaling mountain summits and climbing rock walls in high-altitude environments. It involves a variety of physical and technical skills, but as today’s guest demonstrates, it also requires an enormous amount of patience, camaraderie, and risk calculation, plus a whole lot of passion! Tuning in, you’ll hear from Arc’teryx athlete, Jon Walsh, who is known as one of Canada’s great alpine climbers. Jon has completed various first ascents around the globe including Patagonia, The Karakoram, The Bugaboos, and the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, the Emperor Face of Mount Robson. In this Down and Dirty conversation, we dive into some of his epic adventures and the obstacles he has encountered along the way. Jon offers some insight into the technicalities of alpinism, the equipment and research necessary to complete a climb like this, and what it feels like to complete a first ascent. As they say, what goes up must come down, and Jon also sheds some light on the process of descending a mountain after summiting it and shares some cautionary tales and close calls from his uniquely impressive alpine resume. For an in-depth look at what it takes to master the mountains, don’t miss today’s episode with alpine legend, Jon Walsh!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Mountain sports that Jon is passionate about and where his love for climbing started.
- Ways that rock climbing has changed and evolved over the years.
- The variety of skills and gear required when climbing different rock formations.
- Jon’s introduction to alpinism and how it differs from hiking.
- The “vast amount of equipment” and planning necessary for alpinism.
- Some of Jon’s first ascents, including the North Face of Mount Alberta.
- Why patience forms a key part of any first ascent strategy.
- The story of Jon’s first ascent up the Emperor Face of Mount Robson.
- What made the “North Twin” in the Canadian Rockies so challenging (and memorable.)
- Jon’s favourite calorie-dense climbing foods and why he prefers lower-altitude climbs.
- Camaraderie over location and how you can find good-quality climbs at any grade.
- Insight into the process of bolting a route for sport climbing and why Jon enjoys it.
- Climbers that have inspired Jon throughout his journey.
- Close calls, epic rescues, and scary stories from his high-adrenaline career!
- The constant risk calculation that comes with the territory in rock climbing.
- Highlights from Jon’s ever-evolving bucket list.