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4 The Alpine Club of Canada Gazette Winter 2016 Lynn wades through a very chilly creek in Kananaskis Country, Canadian Rockies. photo: John Mcisaac Short Rope by lynn Martel "I climb harder not for external recogni- tion, although that can be nice, but because it's fun to climb harder. Because climbing isn't about getting to the top by the easiest route, it's about climbing harder, cooler, wilder, more intense lines." T hese words were written in a Facebook post by Canmore, Alberta's Will Gadd, in response to an article pondering the value of climbing grades. Indeed, Gadd has spent his life pushing himself to climb—and fly his paraglider and paddle his kayak—harder, faster and farther in some really cool places, including his own backyard. Along the way he's inspired many. Of course, Gadd was speaking to his own motivation. As Alpine Club of Canada members, we pursue climbing adventures for as many different personal reasons and motivations as there are rocks on a scree slope. In their most practical sense, climbing grades alert the climber to the expected difficulty of a route. While a 5.12 rat‑ ing might serve as a mouth‑watering enticement to some, it will be viewed as the equivalent of a skull and crossbones to at least as many others. For plenty of climbers, the act of moving on rock, ice, alpine slopes or polished boulders ignites a desire to try harder, to push personal limits. For many others (especially the 50+ crowd) the simple act of clipping bolts on a 5.8 or hiking to a modest sum‑ mit is sufficiently fulfilling without any further ambitions. Either way, it's tough not to be excited about 23‑year‑old German phenom Alex Megos establishing Canada's first 5.15 rock climb in August. e route, which he named Fightclub, is on Raven Crag, a mainly overhanging cliff of blue‑streaked limestone near the Banff town site. Located within Canada's first national park, and just above a protected wildlife corridor, the route also has a very Canadian—from Megos' European per‑ spective—approach, a "long" 45‑minute uphill hike. From Squamish to Newfoundland to the Yukon, Canadians are blessed. We've got huge glaciated mountains, soaring cliffs, spectacular frozen waterfalls, Rockies choss and Baffin Island granite. We've got crags where you can practically belay from your tailgate, and remote giant peaks that require two days of rough forestry road driving followed by off‑trail hiking with a multi‑day pack just to see the mountain. We have state‑of‑the‑art climbing gyms in the hippest of cities, and remote undeveloped landscapes that support the grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines and other wildlife that make Canada's wild places the envy of more populated countries. In this issue, from the Bugaboos to Bhutan, to Mont Blanc, Fairy Meadow and Vancouver Island, you'll read about ACC members exploring their ideal mountain environments and pushing themselves on long‑dreamed of alp‑ ine challenges. Like ACC ambassador Nancy Hansen writes in this issue's Open Air, mountain landscapes unite people and build a common bridge. And when it comes to climbing, Canadians have immeasurable riches to be proud of, and to share, at every grade. by lynn Martel A lpine Alpine Club of Canada members and the greater climb‑ ing community were saddened to learn of the passing of Canmore, Alberta's Anna Smith, who died unexpectedly in her sleep while on expedition in the Indian Himalaya. Her climbing partner, Alison Criscitiello bravely worked with Indian officials and others to recover her body for repatriation. Smith and Criscitiello were awarded the ACC administered John Lauchlan Memorial Award to help support their expedition. Previously, Smith received the ACC's Jen Higgins Memorial Fund for her expedition to Baffin Island in July 2015 with Michelle Kadatz. ey sum‑ mited two Baffin big walls, each in less than 24 hours, making only the second free ascent, and first all‑female ascent of Mount Loki's South Buttresses route, which Smith wrote about in the Spring 2016 Gazette. Well‑known for her raucous belly laugh and bold determination while climbing cutting edge rock, ice and mixed routes, Smith, 31 was loved for her infec‑ tious energy and unbridled enthusiasm for adventure. At her family's request, anyone wishing to remember her is encouraged to make a donation in her memory to Members saddened by Smith's passing e Alpine Club of Canada. e ACC's thoughts are with Smith's family and friends. Anna Smith reflects during her Baffin Island expedition in 2015. photo: Michelle Kadatz

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