Jim Davidson: I Shouldn’t Be Alive

On June 21, 1992, Jim and Mike Price, a friend and experienced climbing partner, summited Mount Rainier via the Liberty Ridge. On their descent, a snow bridge on the Emmons Glacier collapsed beneath Jim’s feet, sending him plummeting into a huge crevasse. Mike attempted to stop the fall, but failed. The two climbers dropped 80 feet into the glacier and were buried by snow. Mike did not survive the ordeal, leaving Jim alone in the crevasse. Jim faced a agonizing decision: “climb the frozen, overhanging walls of the crevasse, or die trying,” his website describes.

She Said/She Said: Two Women’s Perspectives on Outdoor Adventure

In this spin-off of a traditional “He Said/She Said,” Sarah and Meghan provide two female perspectives. They wrote separately, not viewing the other’s answers until they had completed their own. See where these women agreed and where their answers took different directions.

1. How did you get into the outdoors?
2. Do you think that women who pursue adventure do it for the same reasons men do, generally speaking?
3. Why are programs like ‘Chicks with Picks’ important for you/women?
4. What happens if you can’t “pull your weight” (carry an equal amount, hike as fast, climb as well) in a group setting?

Do Bison Belong in Banff?

What would it feel like to stumble across a bison in the wild? Probably pretty wonderful. I can only imagine the look on my face the first time I set eyes on an animal that large and majestic. What a beautiful thing to witness: nature coming full circle – finally reclaiming itself after we rudely interrupted it.

But, what would it look like to stumble across a bison standing in the middle of the highway when I’m driving 90 km/hour? Now this is a different scenario. At this point, I don’t know if it would be likely to happen or not. But, if the behaviour of other animals in the park is any indication, it just might.

Should bison be reintroduced to Banff National Park?

Feature photo: “The Chief – American Bison” (1997) by Canadian artist, Robert Bateman.

Vegetarian Chili: Ready to Warm You

No meat here…this chili is filled out with chickpeas and veggie ground. This is a great meal after a long day out in the outdoors, particularly in Fall and Winter. Last week, we made a big batch before heading out for a weekend ski touring. It keeps well in the fridge and was a welcome treat upon arriving home, damp and tired (after digging a car out of heaps of snow). You can get creative with this recipe, adding whatever veggies you like or need to use up in the fridge. My next step it to figure out how to dehydrate the chili to bring along on a trip – I’ll keep you posted on that experiment.

In the meantime, here’s the way I make it at home.

Chickpea photo from Jude Doyland.

Kite Skiing: A Beginner’s Attempt

On my first day out with a kite, I found out that kite skiing is 50% intuitive and 50% completely re-wiring your brain.

How is that possible? Just talking about how to fly the kite and make use of the optimal ‘power zones’ can only go so far. You really need to feel it to understand it. But then when something goes wrong, you can’t fix it the way you think you can. Your intuitive reaction just doesn’t work. In fact, you’ll be watching the kite come crashing to the ground as I did. More than a dozen times.

Terminal Lhasa: Images from a Passenger’s Seat (Mark Unrau)

In 2006, after finishing film and recording work on a project in Amdo, Tibet, I decided to make my way to Delhi, India, overland through the Tibet Autonomous Region and Kathmandu, Nepal. I happened to be in Xining a month after the highly debated and anticipated rail line that China had completed, crossing expanses of permafrost and high mountain passes ending in Lhasa, Tibet. This rail line connects China to Tibet in an accessible trade and tourist route. Built to impress the world with engineering and ingenuity, the train hauls tourists, locals and entrepreneurs in a comfortable and interpretive 3 day trip. The passenger style train is equipped with oxygen under the seats for those of a weaker constitution, and boasts explanations of the technology and scenery in English over the intercom. Until the opening of this rail line the only way to make it to Lhasa was by plane, or on a very uncomfortable, and very long nine day bus ride.