Stoke the Fire 1.4

Let’s see some smoke!

Here’s the round-up from the last Stoke the Fire on June 24!

What will this week hold? This is your chance to Stoke the Fire with any topics you’re discussing on your blog, anything you’ve been thinking and writing about lately, the best post you saw on the internet this week, your latest travel log, the most dramatic photo that was sent you via Facebook, or a shot you took that turned out unexpectedly well. Anything.

If it’s something worth sharing around the campfire, it’s worth sharing here. Try to keep posts relevant to The Campsite, though don’t hesitate to post something you thought was just pretty darn cool.

So, go ahead. Brag, share, link, and promote. This is your day (again) to do it. Use the Comments feature below. Please refer to the Discussion guidelines are at the very bottom of this site.

Let’s make this the biggest fire the Internet has ever seen.

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Categories: Around the Campfire, Stoke the Fire, Under the Tarp

Author:Meghan J. Ward

Meghan J. Ward is an outdoor, travel and adventure writer based in Banff, Alberta. Her work has been published by a variety of magazines throughout North America, including IMPACT Magazine,, Kootenay Mountain Culture and She specializes in creating marketing materials and web content for the tourism industry and beyond.

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14 Comments on “Stoke the Fire 1.4”

  1. September 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    I don’t feel like ranting – the weather is too good – I’ll rave about that. Plan to do some serious dog walking this weekend and take along a companion, after reading this quote from Mark Twain: “The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk.”. That’s because, I am about the walk, but I am REALLY all about the talk. ;-)

    • September 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

      What a beautiful quote, Esme. Thanks for sharing it! I’ll think about it the next time I go walking.

  2. September 9, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    My new double ropes came in today, I have been waiting for about two months but the previous set I ordered are no longer in stock. I paid a lot for this alpine specific set of cords but to tell you the truth, I think they are worth the money and the true value is in my personal Piece of mind.

    As I write this, the news is reporting a fatal fall on Ymnuska. The rumours so far, is the guy was not roped. Now personally I don’t think I will ever move into that realm of free solo but even if I did, is it worth it? My ropes and experience using them will keep me alive even when something OUT OF MY CONTROL happens. They are not there as backup (the real rule of climbing is do not fall), they are there as insurance. I don’t intend to fall or even consider falling. But, I know that some things are out of my control. Therefore, insurance.

    Think about it however you like, I can’t comment on another persons level of risk. Wether it’s “grinding the crack” as wingsuit rocket Jeb Corliss did this week or some guy free soloing on Yam. I love to push my limits but using a rope helps to define where those limits are.

    • September 9, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      I read that news as well, about the climber on Yamnuska climbing unroped. There is a definite choice involved there, as you have no back-up whatsoever if something went wrong. Even just a slight slip of the foot – gosh, I can’t imagine. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen some interviews with Jeb, but people like him seem to have accepted death as a possible outcome of their exploits. In fact, they HAVE TO have accepted that, or they’d never push the limits to that degree. Thanks for sharing that, Kurtis. I think I have another blog post idea…

      • September 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

        We are moving into a world that I live in everyday Meg. The pull between the spiritual and raw energy of living and that of the slushy surface of our day to day lives. Deep within us is a desire to know why we were created and to find that passion that so many take for granted.

  3. September 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    That’s pretty profound, Kurtis. I have had a taste, sometimes a large mouthful, of that “raw energy” you speak of. The upcoming trip to Nepal is coming out of a similar vein. At times, facing trips like that make me nervous, but once you are there and just living day to day, you realize how ‘small’ we tend to live. It’s a big world worth exploring!

  4. September 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    On the topic of free solo climbing; I’ve free soloed on ice twice and on both occasions my goal wasn’t to go solo climbing. Once I got stood up by a partner and the other time I took my gear for a walk hoping to find a partner. Eventually I found myself staring at a piece of ice and its so hard to explain but I felt in complete control of the situation and decided it was time to climb so I did.

    I don’t feel like I went through a big decision making process, I didn’t weigh pros and cons and I don’t feel like I explicitly accepted some level of risk or outcome. It was a feeling of complete control and absolute belief that everything was going to go well. Thinking about it objectively after the fact it’s obvious I did accept all those things and at some sub-conscience level I must have weighed the risks but I swear it wasn’t conscience. I suppose, in a way, it was a false sense of control but it was so real and powerful. Obviously there was no way I could have been in control of falling ice and so on.

    Now I wasn’t running laps on Nemesis or The Replicant, This was ice no harder than WI3 but since then I’ve stuck a picture of my little boy on my ice tool so as to deter me from doing it again and to bring me down to earth if I ever find myself in that situation. And it must have worked because late last season I was driving out to free solo Grotto Falls and turned around at the COP Shell station and drive back home.

    I think what I’m saying is that people don’t free solo for an extra thrill or to make it more dangerous. I believe they see it as no different than roping up for you or me.

    • September 10, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks for your comments, Farzad.

      I can’t ‘think’ for others, but I’m trying to wrap my mind around your comments in your final paragraph about how people don’t free solo for an extra thrill, or seeing it as no different than we see roping up. Any high level climbers or adrenaline athletes I’ve spoken to, interviewed or seen in interviews describe the process as wanting more, wanting to push their limits, and see what is possible. So I have to disagree somewhat…while I agree that this becomes ‘normal’ to them, I do believe they do it for the thrill – otherwise, why would they even do it? It all becomes normal to them in the same sense that some people couldn’t understand why we even climb in the first place. From what I’ve seen, people who free solo often say they appreciate how ‘in control’ they are. But with no safety net, they must know that what they do is ‘dangerous’ to the point that they will die or be seriously injured should something happen outside their control. I’d be curious for some of them to comment here….I’ll ask around.

  5. September 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    To truly appreciate what these extreme athletes are going through, I think everyone here needs to read “explorer of the Infinite”, by Maria Coffey. Seriously – Meg, Farzad, it should be your next book.

    Farzad, buddy you reminded me that I used to solo Grotto about 10 times every fall as my warmup. I did believe I was in control and far beyond any chance of falling as I feel it is easy, low grade and it makes me more focused. I trust my placements and there is no chance of falling AT ALL. However, even with my experience and knowledge there is no way to know whether the whole climb will rip off of I will be hit by an asteroid while on it. Basically I was on there without insurance. Again to me this is the difference between playing Black Jack at a table where I can “hit or stand” making decisions to increase my odds of winning or just rolling the dice and playing “just the odds”. Both are forms of gambling, I just choose to stack the odds in my favour.

    None of us are truly safe in this life, and when we realize this, it puts our passion of playing in the mountains into perspective. I have already made my piece (not peace)with death and accept that it could come at anytime. While I am here I will consider my family and friends and play my hand instead of rolling the dice.

  6. September 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    I think we do agree but you express it better than I do. I guess that’s why you’re the writer and I’m not :) What I meant to say is exactly that; climbers are always pushing their limits, some would call this thrill seeking – which is a term I hate, and for some climbers that culminates in free solo climbing. But it’s a journey. I don’t think any climber wakes up one morning and says “I want to scare the shit out of myself this morning so I’m going free solo climbing.” That’s what I meant when I said they don’t do it for the thrill. But I completely agree with you that some climbers keep pushing their limits to the point they’re climbing without a rope and at that point it’s “normal” for them and no different than what’s normal for you and I. As I always like to say “one persons 5.6 sport lead is another person’s free solo on a 5.6 multi pitch.” Barry has made some interesting comments on free solo climbing on a local message board, I’ll see if I can dig it up.

    Thanks for the book tip. I’ll look it up. I think you really hit the nail on the head. If I ever tackle something without a rope I have infinite confidence that I CAN’T fall but there’s no accounting for external factors and I think when it comes to free solo climbing you have to have that extreme confidence in your ability and the risk you’re accepting is posed by external factors and not your own skill or ability. Here’s to climbing Grotto this Fall together WITH a rope. :)

    If I have time later tonight I’d like to stoke the fire about the different kinds of climbers I’ve met out on route this past season. This is the first year where I did every kind of climbing imaginable and I have some observations to share. In summary ice climbers and alpinists were the nicest of the bunch. haha :)

  7. September 13, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    One of my articles about first aid kits, what is necessary and what is nice to have.

    • September 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

      Thanks for sharing this link, Evan! I have found it very helpful, especially as I am getting ready to leave for 9 weeks of trekking in Nepal.


  1. She Said/She Said: Two Women’s Perspectives on Risk | THE CAMPSITE - September 28, 2011

    […] female perspectives, this time on Risk. The topic was prompted by a recent series of comments on Stoke the Fire you’ll want to check […]

  2. Stoke the Fire 1.5 | THE CAMPSITE - February 17, 2012

    […] Here’s the round-up from the last Stoke the Fire on September 9, 2011! […]

Stoke the Fire

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