127 hrs.

I had the chance to go to a screener of Danny Boyle’s latest film, 127 hours yesterday. I was a little surprised to see James Franco cast in the lead role. Considering the last role I saw Franco play was Allen Ginsberg in “Howl” the character of doomed climber Aron Ralston seemed like a bit of a departure.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Ralston is the famed climber who ended up with his hand trapped between a chockstone and a cliff wall in Canyonlands Utah.  With extremely limited resources, and having told no one where he was headed for the weekend, Ralston spends 127 hrs (hence the title) trapped with no hope of escape. Once he ran out of water, Ralston hacked off his own arm (about midway up the forearm) with a dull multi tool and escaped.

Ralston wrote a book about his experience, entitles “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, and he’s still an avid climber. There’s a shot at the end of  the film of real-life Ralston mountaineering with an ice axe head for a prosthetic arm. Certainly he was shortsighted in not telling anyone where he was going, and he certainly took a lot of unecessary risks, but the fact that he survived, makes him pretty frickin badass.

There are very real risks in climbing, no matter how good a climber you are, no matter how you prepare, things can go wrong. It’s up to each of us as individuals to limit these risks. What I got out of this? As morbid as it seems. . . always have a knife.

I love climbing, and I am aware of the risks that go along with the sport. My hope is that this film doesn’t discourage anyone from getting outside, but acts as a reminder that we don’t always hold the cards.


The Bike Root

The Bike Root is a community bike shop on the U of C campus. I started going down there last spring when I was building my current street bike.  The Root has been on campus for a few years now, and until this summer, it was inhabiting an unused loading dock in the law building. Unfortunately, this was never meant to be a permanent location, and when the Uni decided that they needed the loading dock back, the Root was out of a home.  They are currently operating a repair tent and there is a shipping container acting as a storage facility. It’s less than Ideal. Especially considering that the short daylight hours associated with this time of year is forcing them to shut down their services earlier in the day. The container is unlit and very cold.  This week was their last week of operation. Until a more user-friendly space is obtained, they are in a sort of limbo.

What’s truly unfortunate about this situation is that when the group was first given use of the loading dock, they were given the understanding that when the Uni needed the dock again, an alternate space would be provided. No such space was given. What with the University’s current strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible, it seems contradictory that they would overlook an organization as important and influential to the student body as the Bike Root.

For students (and most other people actually) biking is a great way to get around with minimal cost, and the fact that the Root offers people a way to build, maintain and learn about bikes, for little or no cost is extremely helpful.  When I first came down to the workshop with a box of bike parts, I didn’t know the first thing about bikes. Every time I touch my bike, I learn something new. The Root gave me a place to experiment, to learn, and to seek guidance from people who, although not professional mechanics, knew their way around a workshop.

There’s a petition going around to show support for the Root. If you want to help these guys out in any capacity, please sign it.
More info on the Bike Root can be found at their website www.bikeroot.ca


Wedding_2, originally uploaded by Sydsquid.

I shot a Wedding for a friend a few weeks ago. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like that before. It was a lot of fun, and I took way to many photos, but I was pretty pleased with the results overall. We went down to the park to do some portraits and I convinced the bride and groom to jump on one side of this spinning apparatus while I hung on one handed on the other side with the camera. They are a young couple, it was interesting to see the dynamics change as soon as the rest of the wedding party (parents) left while we continued with the photos. Everything suddenly go t a lot more animated and playful. If they keep that energy, I think they’ll do just fine.

Moose Mountian

Because hauling 25 people out onto a mountain in full costume is the best plan.


UCOA (University of Calgary Outdoor Adventurers) is good for some serious fun. They don’t run the most technical trips for the most part, but it’s been a good way to meet the people who want to do the more hardcore things.

And they sometimes dress up and go hiking. It was very cold. Too cold for hiking in a tutu. Not that it stopped me.

Moose mountain in the Sheep river area of Kananaskis is by no means a technical hike. It runs along a fire road for most of the way, and there is only a 500 m elevation gain. It was nice to get out and meet some people though. I’ve been plotting crafty plots for backcountry skiing and glacier trips.

Can’t wait for ski season. . .