Alright, so as much as we all love instagram and all there's some fun little stories behind the images that I wanted to talk about. So, I thought I'd post some of them here and maybe it'll be fun to read, a bit of inspiration, or collect digital dust.
So, I met Tora near the start of the summer of 2022. Actually it was my friend Rhys who put us in touch with each other. To start at the beginning Tora came to Canada on a one year working holiday visa from Japan. And being the bold climber he is, he bought himself a one way ticket to Calgary, flew in and hitchhiked his way to Canmore. He really didn't know anyone here so apparently he spend a night or two just in the woods just around Canmore. As he was getting settled in he was waiting on meeting someone at the Atlantis parking lot to go climbing with them, but he didn't have a phone plan yet. So he approached Rhys who was at the trailhead getting ready to head up with his friend to ask if Tora could borrow a hotspot. That's when Rhys was like "I know another Japanese guy who is living out of a van in Canmore!" and put us in contact with each other.
After Rhys put Tora and I in contact with each other we tried to set up a few dates to climb together, but with my mind still stuck on skiing and work we couldn't quite line up a day that worked. Then at Elevation Place in Canmore (where all of the van lifers in Canmore tend to hang out in the evenings) I ran into him. And, I hadn't touched rock in a while and I'd just gotten a new rope from Monod Sports in Banff that I wanted to take for a spin. So I proposed that we go and do Dark Decade, a new 7 pitch 5.10d that was just put up by Matt Laird.
The caveat, it would be a pre-work adventure since I had work at 10Am the next day. Without hesitation, he agreed.
The next morning, sun well below the horizon we met at the Kid Goat parking lot. We quickly sorted gear and started approaching. It was great, we chatted to get to know each other, to find out we are both the same age. Born in the year of the Tiger (Tiger in Japanese is Tora). His climbing ambitions, my climbing ambitions, it was really fun talking about the unique differences of growing up in completely different cultures and yet having a shared interest in climbing that brought us together.
We made quick work of the approach and started climbing, the route was great. I was super stoked to get out on a great route. We made quick work of the pitches and scrambled down the descent work to make it to work on time. It was a great start to a summer filled with adventure together.