Damavand Ski
Mt. Damavand is the highest ski resort for ski mountaineering in the Middle-East and is a popular area for sport campaign. Ski Touring Mount Damavand Iran
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Leading Canadian climber Barry Blanchard has returned to mountaineering after suffering a serious injury.

Leading Canadian climber Barry Blanchard has returned to mountaineering after suffering a serious injury.

On August 12, after a life in the world’s toughest Alps, Barry Blanchard Suffered the most severe accident From his life; As he descended the concrete stairs, his skull broke and he suffered multiple cerebral hemorrhages. More than three months later, Blanchard returned to mountaineering and is recovering.

Blanchard’s ascent, and the resulting storytelling, is legendary. Among his works is Bradman Tusker’s memoirs Contact And Numerous articles for rock climbing, Rock and Ice, And Climber. A sequel to Contact He is still incomplete and his head injury and memory loss seem to have left him in a state of ambiguity.

Filmmakers Ivan Hughes and Andy Arts are working on one Documentary About Blanchard’s life and his ascents. The film explores his youth as an advanced mountaineer, his sense of adventure, and the unexpected paths that a person’s mind may take if left unmanaged. “While Barry is recovering from his fall, he has thought about the path of his life journey,” Hughes said. rock climbing. “The film looks at some of life’s most important moments from the perspective of someone trying to reconcile some of their successes and failures. We are adopting an experimental film approach to documentary … that integrates around the basic principles of life: family, love, adventure, and altruism. The documentary, which Hughes and Artes began filming before Blanchard’s accident, has not yet been released.

Blanchard was climbing near his home in Kanmore, Alberta before his accident. (Photo: Andy Arts)

rock climbing We contacted Blanchard to learn more about the accident, the recovery process, and what he has been waiting for this winter.

[This interview has been edited for clarity and length.—Ed.]


rock climbing: What do you remember about the accident?

Blanchard: I’m sorry to say, nothing damn good. I have no memory at all from three hours before rolling until eight days later. This is probably a good thing because I looked so terrible in the first week: I was unconscious for a few days with blood and cerebrospinal fluid leaking from my left ear, both eyes were swollen and two basal skull fractures. My daughters and family were worried about me.

How has your recovery been?

After the first week, I started getting to know people and remembering names, and I started getting up to urinate and walk around the hospital room and ward. I did not eat much and my appetite returned in the second week. Great effort to retrieve words and trying to recognize many written words and having to read letters to retrieve words. All of this has returned slowly over the past few months, and I am working with a speech pathologist and occupational therapist to get back to driving and proper levels of work.

Interestingly, the first name I identified by phone was my mother’s name. Ironically, one of the first days of my life, I did not know my partner, Nicole, and when she hugged me, I was afraid that she was a stranger woman / nurse who was hitting on me. I was worried and said, “No! We can not do that. “I have a girlfriend who has returned to Kanmore.” I avoided eye contact until the next day I finally recognized him and said out loud, “Oh! “You are Nicole!”

Small improvements happened slowly and day by day.

My biggest challenge right now is hearing loss in my left ear and my balance is still not where it should be. I work with a physiotherapist and a doctor. I have done five cat scans. I’ve been walking for a few months and I started going up and down just this week. I have also been going to a mountaineering club for a few weeks and working on breaking the 5.9 glass roof. My doctor says I should always be late.

Where are you physically and mentally compared to before the accident?

I did not become stronger, for sure. Exercise in these recovery days is mostly sitting in the form of horizontal walking, climbing on automatic pedestals, and some rope tops in the mountaineering club, small weight training in the club and exercise cycling. I can do a lot more after an accident, especially when I was still in the hospital.

One of the scariest things, mentally, has been the threat of not being able to climb and lead in the future. This is a hard pill to swallow. It’s funny that the idea of ​​not skiing is more acceptable to me. I love skiing and have had good times guiding and doing it, but this is not my passion or interest in mountaineering. They put me on this ground to go up. Skiing in addition has been comfortable. My professional life is fluctuating right now, and it can make me think about what will come at the other end.

What does the upcoming winter look like for you?

I hope to go back to driving and ice skating and skiing, both Nordic and skiing tours. I am also looking forward to returning to writing.

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