What does TA stand for?
When did you start climbing?
I started climbing trees when I was nine. I then moved onto climbing the garage, the house, rock cliffs, and eventually mountains. My high school had an outdoor pursuits club and that gave me the skills to begin my career as an outdoor educator.
Why do you climb mountains?
I climbed Denali because I needed a really big project in my life to throw my heart and soul into. After that experience and seeing how, by sharing my process, others were inspired, I’ve continued to climb and adventure as a way to move others and myself forward. When I climb to high places, I see my world and myself in new ways. Even when I return to sea level, I carry what I saw with me through the rest of my life. I also love living and adventuring outdoors–it’s when I feel most alive and most “me.”
How many mountains have you climbed? What is your favorite mountain that you have climbed?
Actually, I forgot to count. I figure I have climbed 40-50 mountains in total. Denali is my favorite mountain to date.
Will you be the first Newfoundlander to climb Mount Everest?
I usually answer this question by saying “I made a mistake at birth.” I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta but now after 12 years in Newfoundland consider myself a NBC (Newfoundlander by Choice). As far as I know, I am the first person from our province to climb Mount Everest.
How do you train for Mount Everest?
I train 15-20 hours per week. I run, attend step aerobics with a pack, lift weights, do yoga and pilates, play hockey, ride my bike, and meditate. I train a few hours in the morning, at midday, and then in the evening.
How do you train and fundraise and still manage your job?
I don’t have much down time. I haven’t watched TV in four years. I multi-task. Sometimes I don’t get much sleep. Memorial University has been very supportive and my job allows me some flexibility in scheduling.
How much can you bench press and leg press?
I can bench press 160 pounds and leg press 750 pounds.
Have you always been fit?
I have always had a good level of fitness. When I started training for Denali, however, I had never been a runner. So I began by running one minute and walking one minute, running one minute and walking one minute. I then gradually increased the mileage until I was able to run more than 25 kilometers. Before Denali, I had never trained to the extend I do now. I am fitter now than ever before in my life.
How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?
Mount Everest is an expensive mountain to climb. My budget is $60,000 which includes the Everest permit, outfitter fees, my personal Sherpa, satellite phone and airtime, gear, and travel.
Where do you get your equipment for the climb?
My gear came from many sources including my personal stash, Mountain Equipment Co-op, The Outfitters, and Arthur James. The new equipment I needed for Mount Everest cost about $6000.
How is your fundraising going?
I have raised about $30,000 thus far. I’m thankful to all of the folks who have supported Everest-007 on the grassroots level by buying t-shirts, toques, carabiners, attending public talks, and making donations. As of yet, I have secured relatively little corporate and no government funding. I’ve mortgaged the house to make up the shortfall for now.
Are you scared about climbing Mount Everest?
You betcha! Mount Everest is a mountain with many hazards. I have worked hard to develop a high level of fitness and skill that I hope will help keep me safe but there are no guarantees. I’m scared of the Khumbu icefall, the effects of extreme high altitude, and the traverse to the summit. I have learned to work with my fear and use it to practice good hazard management. All said though, I am both excited and scared.
Have you ever fallen into a crevasse or been in an avalanche?
Knock on wood. Neither my team nor myself has ever fallen into a crevasse or been in an avalanche.
Will you climb with oxygen?
I will use oxygen on my summit bid. Using oxygen reduces the chances of getting frostbite.
How long will it take you to climb Mount Everest?
I leave St. John’s on March 17 and will return during the first week in June. It takes two weeks to trek to base camp and six to eight weeks to climb Mount Everest.
What will you miss while you are on the mountain?
I will miss hockey! It seems just when I get my hockey legs back it’s time to go climb another mountain. I will also miss my friends, family, and Buddhist Sangha. I’ll miss the smell of the ocean and of course, I will miss Vanilla Dips!
What books are you taking to read on Mount Everest?
I’m taking Endurance, The Story of Shakleton’s Expedition, The Dairy of Anne Frank, Training the Mind, and Awakening the Buddha Within.
What will you do after Everest?
I plan to sit on the couch! After some couch time, I’ll see what comes next. At some point, I would like to complete my climbs of the Seven Summits. I still need to climb the “A” continents: Antarctica, Africa, and Australia. I also want to return to filmmaking and do a post Everest speaking tour.