Two good things for Canada this week!
FIRST, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival is happening right now, don’t forget to book your tickets and check it out. Also, don’t miss the Uber Huber – one of the worlds most accomplished rock and alpine climbers EVER. Alex will be presenting on Feb 28th (that’s in three days) and I am getting all tingly inside just thinking about it. But for serious people, the VIMFF puts on a wicked show, you probably don’t want to miss any of it. For more information click here.
SECOND, Yuji Hirayama is coming to Squamish. Not this week, but this summer for sure. We’ve been corresponding lately as I was hoping to make a trip to Japan this year, but now, he’s coming here to try Cobra Crack. I think that’s fucking amazing, that one of the worlds legendary climbers would come just to try this line. There must be something magic behind it.
Yuji has always been a climber I look up to, and I don’t have many, but his warm genuine smile, his bottomless cup of enthusiasm, and his ability to adapt to so many situations, from V14 to El Capitan, from 14b onsights to World Cup podiums. He carved himself into the elite field in the late 80’s and has stayed on top for 20 years. A little bit like Lynn Hill in that regard, Yuji has helped shape the climbing life as we know it today, and now in his 40’s he continues to set the standard even higher.
The first time I met Yuji I was 20 or 21 years old ( I can’t remember now) I had just made an ascent of the Smith Rock classic – ‘Just do it’ 5.14b/c (depending on who you ask) about a week before. He and Francois LeGrand were on a USA tour to crush all the hardest sport climbs. Which I don’t think they managed. They rolled in with logo’s, energy bars, stick clips, and strategy. I was still just a pimple faced kid eating peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Anyway, after a couple days of failure, I bumped into the legends in the parking lot. Yuji was so nice and friendly as he approached me and proceeded to ask for beta on the climb. I guess, they weren’t able to figure it out as fast as they had hoped and now here I was some skinny punk kid from Newmarket, Ontario with my jaw resting on the asphalt. Had the world fallen apart when I wasn’t looking? Was this some sort of practical joke? The polarities of the universe turned on end and now my hero’s were asking ME for help? “Well” I puffed up my chest, “I grab this tiny crimp with three fingers, ignore the pain, and then bring my foot up to this pimple by your knee, after that, I reach further up and grab the next tiny crimp, again, ignoring the pain” something like that anyway. They nodded their heads in unison as though they knew exactly what to do and we parted ways, me to the front side where I would flail on ‘To Bolt or Not To Be’ and them to the back side where they would come aggravatingly close to the anchors.
My encounter with the two climbers, was probably more memorable than my actual ascent of the climb. And now more than 8 years later, Yuji Hirayama is coming to Squampton to light a fire under the asses of us small town locals. I can’t wait to show him some gems and hopefully bag a few FA’s in the process, there are so many sick, sicky, sickness proj’s here bro.
Anyway, here’s his latest e-mails from him, Just for fun.
this is yuji.
has going man!?
i am trying my project…over and over
i am realy happy whan i have a project to try and doing it^^
and i have an idea to try cobra…your rout.
i have not much time so i realy forcus for good season for doing it.
may be 3 or 4 weeks…what do you think the best monment to visit squamish?
please give me an idea from you.
all the best
And then yesterday he followed up with this little tune….
thanks for the info.
it is already very helpfull.
i am thinking to visit squamish from end od august to end of september.
that is first choice…
and if i have time…i would like to visit for 2 week(july or end of may).
WoW that so great that many things to do!!
i will contact you when i need to know something.
and i will give you when i fix my travel plan.
hope to see you there.
all the best