Twenty miles north of Idaho Falls, 6 hours from Salt Lake City, Utah and 11 hours from Canmore, Alberta my partner Jewell turned to me a said "I forgot my passport." We stared at each other dumbfounded and burst out laughing.
It is hard to explain to non-climbers the bond when you tie into a rope with a partner. Whether a single pitch sport climb or a committing alpine route, when you tie your knot and your partner says “on belay” you put your life in their hands, creating a bond that not many other sports offer.
Jewell and I met in 2006 at the local climbing gym in Salt Lake City. We quickly realized that we both had a similar drive for big adventures in the mountains and we slid naturally into a climbing partnership. Supporting one other with healthy amounts of encouragement and laughter, we both loved long alpine climbs, together and with other partners. Unfortunately, the past year has derailed our ability to share life in the mountains. So, when Jewell asked if we could plan a trip in early March to climb in the alpine I immediately said yes. I knew no matter where we went, we would have a grand time.
So, on March 5th we found ourselves on our way to the Canadian Rockies. With fingers (and toes) crossed that border patrol would let us through with one passport. And with luck and a bit of charm we across the border! Waking up to Canmore's incredible vista I realized just how much I missed adventuring in the mountains.
Packing for our first route I caught a glimpse of items going into Jewell’s backpack that didn’t resemble climbing gear. My curiosity peaked, and I wondered what my partner had up her sleeve. As we rope up at the base of the route Jewell pulled out party hats and a mini-piñata that dangled from her harness for the entire route. Jewell had decided we would celebrate my birthday on our first route in the Canadian Rockies, complete with a personal cheesecake.
We laughed ourselves all the way up the beautiful Kitty Hawk on the David Thompson Highway.
Descending the route, I was struck with awe of the beauty of my partnership with Jewell and the adventures we have had and will have in the future. For me, a true sign of a lasting partnership is understanding that not all trips are about ticking off every route on your list or sending your project or summiting the highest peak. A good trip is one filled with laughter, good conversations, a lot (or a little) climbing and coming home to your loved ones.
Kim Hall, joins the BLUE ICE family as our newest ambassador. She is a skilled climber and skier across all disciplines as well as talented potter; finding inspiration from the mountains and desert landscapes. You can find Kim's work here Alpine Earthworks.