Editor’s Note: MEC is undertaking a new venture. We’re designing a program to solidify partnerships with a team of athletes and enthusiasts who share our values and reflect our passion for the activities we love and the playgrounds where we partake. The team members are aficionados of the non-motorized sports we promote. They pioneer and innovate, working to establish new benchmarks in their chosen fields. They are our field test team. They make sure our products are thoroughly tested, and help us continually develop, improve, and refine. They also share their passions and experience to inspire all of us to get outside and live life to the fullest. Meet our first partner, Sarah Hart.
Welcome home Sarah.
Mom, I quit my job. I’m sorry, but as if you didn’t see this one coming!
In 2009, straight out of school, I secured my dream job, working for MEC as the department coordinator for the Information Systems team. Who’d have thought that at the age of 32, I’d make the seemingly ridiculous decision to quit my cushy desk job and become a full-time rock climber?
After months of soul searching and loss of sleep, I announced to my boss, that my desire to go rock climbing had finally won over my need for job security and a healthy RRSP. Next to a rather irrational fear of falling into crevasses, I have a fear of regret. I never want to look back on my life wishing that I had pursued my talents when health, motivation, and opportunities would allow me to do so.
But, let’s face it, there’s a lot of pull in regular society to step onto that hamster wheel, and not stop until our little rodent legs give out on us. But – and this suspicion is routinely validated by the life stories of seasoned dirtbags shared by firelight under starry skies – we don’t need to believe what Deepak Chopra, or Geico Insurance tells us. Heck, we could survive on baked potatoes and ketchup for along time.
Yet, miraculously, I jumped off the hamster wheel with my beloved Co-op’s blessing, and I will now be representing MEC in a different capacity, as one of our first climbing partners. What? How on earth did I go from being a paper pushing weekend warrior to a dirtbag sponsored athlete? I’m still pinching myself.
I shouldn’t be a rock climber at all. I come from the land of smog and eight-lane highways (the GTA). I’m the daughter of a dirt-bike-racing father and shopping-mall-loving mother. It’s not exactly the birthplace, nor lineage, one might expect for a rock climber, let alone a mountain climber. What my upbringing lacked in mountain culture though, it gained in indiscriminate passion and energy. I was raised to approach everything in life with zeal and 100% effort.
Naturally, I’ve got big climbing plans! Who knows if I’ll be able to achieve all or any of them, but I’m certainly going to try. First up is a trip to British Columbia’s magical Waddington Range. Myself, and two girlfriends will be heading there shortly. In fact, by the time this post shows up, I hope to be setting up base camp on the Tiedemann Glacier, and getting poised to do some climbing on the rocky peaks surrounding Mt. Waddington!
It’s no small task to prepare for a trip to big mountains; there’s flights to coordinate, gear to acquire, food to prepare, climbing routes to study, experts to contact, and training – lots of running, climbing, more running, and then more climbing. As I type this, my small home in Squamish is slowly being taken over by the piles and piles of food and gear I’ve been stockpiling in preparation for the trip.
MEC has given me the opportunity of a lifetime. I feel honored, and so privileged to join a tribe of people who, in 20 years time, get to sit around the fire and tell stories of far-flung places, and mountain passes seldom travelled by other humans. So, MEC, I guess we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other. Now, if only I don’t scare folks away by my unkempt, dirtbag appearance.