National Mountain Climbing Day/Month

In honour of National Mountain Climbing Day at the start of August, I wanted to share my thoughts about the Mountains. I am forever grateful to be able to live and play in Alberta. I grew up in the mountains, and from a very young age my parents made the effort to drag my sister and me out every chance they got. Most of the time it was all smiles, but once in a while there were tears, complaining and pure exhaustion.

I’ve managed to continue these traditions with my friends and family as social outings or missions with “The b’y’s” and solo scrambles to clear my head. I love the mountains! They are always there to explore and enjoy.

As I’ve gotten older, maybe a little wiser and have definitely grown a few grey hairs, my climbing friends started calling me “Safety Mike”. At first, I thought it was because I was being too risk-averse, or stubborn about potential routes or scenarios. After a few post-adventure beers I learned that the nickname was because I was bringing up potential hazards and working with the group on how to address them. My main goal was to get everyone including myself thinking about what we’re doing, what could go wrong, and most importantly, how to get back to the cars safely. You never know when a first aid kit, some zip ties, duct tape, or an extra fruit bar could come in handy, and a quick group huddle can help you avoid a potential “adventure”. I’ve been lucky that the life lessons the mountains have taught me have been more humbling than dangerous. I’m looking forward to many future adventures with my family and friends and Safety Mike will be there looking out for bears, ticks, rain, avalanches or the other thousands of hazards out there so we can all get home safely.

I encourage everyone to get out, get tired, stand on top of a big rock and have a look around. Happy National Mountain Climbing Month!

MICHAEL J.J. LUPART, B.Sc., P.Ag., P.Biol. (He/Him/His)