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Mountain Climbing at 59 years young

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A middle-aged, single working mother, I find the mountains of Canada and the world suit me just fine.

I hang precipitously between vertical rock and ice, balanced on one tiny sharp point of my crampon and two ice tools penetrating securely into blue ice. Looking down, I see my belayer (the person responsible for holding me on the rope), shouting encouraging comments and coaching me to the next move.

This is my Great Life, trusted climbing partners who keep me safe, Nature at its best with the sweep of the Canadian Rockies forming a grand backdrop to our route, and confidence in my abilities to complete this vertical mixed climb.

It’s curious that many people regard ice climbing and mountaineering as extreme sports. I explain that I’m just an ordinary middle-aged single mother working in Toronto, with a passion for getting to beautiful places in the sky. I make a point of getting into the mountains at least once every three or four months, summer and winter.

I climb big, high mountains in the summer, in Canada and elsewhere around the world. In winter, I seek out classic ice routes in the Rockies. What most Canadians don’t know is that we have the best ice climbing in the world, right in our backyard!

Fitness and well-being have been important to me throughout my adult life. I’ve been a fitness club member since 1983, and even when money was tight during a difficult divorce, I never compromised my fitness membership.

So what drives a 59-year-old woman living in the flatlands of Ontario to travel Canada and the world looking for beautiful summits? Gratitude, to start with. I’m grateful for the good health, mobility, stamina and mental fortitude that allows me to undertake these climbs.

Teamwork, for another. My personal trainer, Annette Plumstead at GoodLife Northridge continues to inspire me with her variety of programs, her deep listening skills, her professionalism and her cheerleading. I honestly look forward to every one of our sessions, and she appropriately challenges me to work at the limits of both my physical and mental capabilities.

And finally, it’s good for my soul. It feels awesome, especially at this age, to know that I’m able to get to places and see the world from a privileged perspective with trusted mountain guides and climbing partners. It’s really very simple when one knows what to go after in life.

So I am living not just a good life, I am living a Great Life! And I figure I have another 30 years of climbing in me, so look out!

More Inspiration: Check out this article about hiking and observing the trees!

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