Catherine Vaillancourt

Climbing took over my life about 10 years ago, when I moved to Canmore, Alberta. The people I met there, mostly educated dirt-bags, made me realize that there was another way of life than the one I had been leading. A very simple life, based on travels, friends, and climbing. Since then, I have devoted most of my time to living that life, as some people would pursue a rewarding career or start a family. At 31, I think I have now found a balance between routine and freedom, career and lifestyle.

Climbing has been a great ally throughout this past decade. It helps me conquer both mental and physical barriers – and I guess that’s why it never gets old. I face a different challenge every time I try a new problem or route. It’s that complex relationship between body and mind that makes me crave new projects. Of course, some of them go, and others remain incomplete, and that’s all part of the game. Yet succeeding is worth every try, every bit of skin lost, every minute of freezing my ass off all day at my local crag during late fall sessions. For a moment, the top of that small rock, or the anchor of a route, somehow feels like the top of the world, and for me, that feeling is worth gold.

With boyfriend Olivier Turgeon, I travel every time I get the chance to escape from routine. Together we have been to many beautiful places, where we have met wonderful people. I hope we will embrace that lifestyle for many more years.

For more info, photos and videos, visit our page at goneclimbing.wordpress.com.