I originally started The Campsite to provide a home for my words on topics I’m passionate about, including the outdoors, adventure travel and the inner journeys we experience through these activities. My goal was to produce quality content, even if it meant posting less often. And it seems that my tactics worked. Despite posting only a few times each month, The Campsite began to receive a number of requests for gear reviews, book reviews, giveaways, guest contributions and more. The project grew legs and began to run away. I managed to hold on, but quickly realized after I became a mother in March 2013 that something would have to change.
After many months of consideration, I finally decided to bring on some new team members. First I brought on a team of reviewers to help me handle the number of book and gear review requests. And just this week, I brought on an Editorial Assistant and The Campsite is in very good hands. I’d like you to meet Helena Artmann!
Helena has a bachelor degree in Communications with vast experience in PR and the online world. In 2005 she moved to Canada from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and worked for three years at Green Calgary, a non-profit environmental organization. In 2010, Helena opened her home business, Artmann Communications, and started managing web projects. She is now back to her passion and something she did her whole life: writing.
A mountaineer since 1991 and passionate about nature and the great outdoors, Helena has more than 15 high altitude expeditions under her belt and has summited some of the highest mountains on Earth, including Denali, in Alaska, and Aconcagua, in the Andes. Helena was also a hot air ballooning navigator for championships around the world. When she is not working in her office facing Mt. Rundle in Canmore, Alberta, she tries to be outside, showing her son some of the areas that make the Bow Valley such a special place to live!
Q & A with Helena
Now for some fun questions…
1. You are originally from Brazil. When did your outdoor journey begin, and how?
I was raised on a farm. My dad is a horse breeder and I spent my childhood playing outside, with a good deal of freedom. Jump forward to when I was 20 and I was sent to work on a hot air balloon championship as a PR professional. I did fly for the first time and ended up meeting one of the pilots. He was a climber/mountaineer and introduced the mountains in my life. A year later, I did my rock climbing course with a club in Rio de Janeiro, the best place for urban climbing in the world (the walls are there, inside the city!). Five years later, I went to Argentina to my first expedition and to learn the basics of ice, glacier traverse and so on.
2. We like to feature great outdoor literature here on The Campsite. Which books have inspired you the most?
Funny, but it was not a mountaineering book. We have a famous sailor in Brazil called Amyr Klink and he wrote some great books. The first one was when he rowed from Africa to Brazil, in the 80’s. I fell in love with the book and the complexity of his planning for this trip. He is a master in planning! I ended up meeting Amyr in Antarctica, when I spent 40 days working at the Brazilian base and Amyr was circumnavigating the south pole in his sailing boat, alone. He ended up citing my name in his book about this Antarctica trip!
3. You have managed to embark on a number of adventures with your son. What was your most memorable trip?
I don’t know if it was the most memorable, but it was certainly incredible. When my son, Ian, was 5 I did the Wapta Traverse with him and four other kids (8 and 10 years old). My partner, Nick Sharpe, an ACMG mountain guide, was the most stressed one, of course. We hiked for three days, with one and a half days spent on top of glaciers. It took us 7 hours to hike the way out of Peyto Hut and the kids were incredible! They arrived home still with energy to play and I left the trip convinced that the limitations are in the parent’s mind, most of the time.
4. Describe your ideal day spent out in the great outdoors.
When I was young, my mom limited my time in front of the TV and always said that I had to go out and ‘enjoy the day’. She never told me what ‘enjoy the day’ meant but let me discover it. So, until this day, any day spent outside is great, being it rock climbing, ice climbing, hiking, skiing, or just playing on a park, lake or the river. But if I have to pick one of my favourite activities, I would say a long day hike ending in a mountain hut is probably on top of my list!
5. Last question: If you had unlimited funds for an expedition, where would you go and what would you do?
I changed a lot when I became a mom, almost 7 years ago. Even more when my son’s dad passed away, a year ago. I am the only one now and taking risks have a whole different meaning for me. But I still want to do things, go places and show the world and my passions to my son. I probably also see risks a bit differently than ‘normal’ people… :-)
I started the seven summits project and I have no desire in finishing it, but I would like to climb two more mountains, which would give me six of them! Carstensz Pyramid, in Papua New Guinea, sounds like a fantastic expedition and a quite interesting mountain to climb, and Mount Vinson, in Antarctica – I am fascinated by glaciers and the cold.
I also love the complexity of big Himalayan expeditions. I went to Cho Oyu in 1997 and I read so many books about them that I would like to work on the logistics and management side of some of them, but not necessarily climbing anymore.