Whether he’s ascending rock or ice, Frank views Jasper National Park as a place with tremendous climbing potential. We decided to sit down with him to ask what first sparked his interest in the sport, and what tips he has for those who are interested in getting started:
That was 10 years ago in 2007. My brother got me into it – I didn’t want to do it at all but he’s my big brother so I figured I’d give it a try. We went to this indoor climbing gym back in my hometown, and I fell in love with it from the very first day. It changed my life.
I moved to Jasper in 2014 for the sole purpose of writing my guidebook Northern Exposure. I thought it was desperately needed – even if just to expose the amazing climbing in Jasper. I was in the Canadian Forces from 2010 to 2014. I transferred west when I was finishing school in 2011, took advantage of the location and went climbing every weekend.
I eventually fell in love with the mountains so much that when my contract ended I didn’t renew – I quit my job and moved to Jasper. After finishing the book last year, I figured I’d stay here.
The guidebook is called Northern Exposure (which you can purchase here). Northern stands for the northernmost park in the Canadian Rockies. Exposure stands for the exposure that this area gets now. The purpose of this book is to reveal the rock climbing of Jasper to the world.
I got a local to show me around and got to know how much of a hidden gem Jasper was in terms of rock climbing. Once [I realized] that there wasn’t a modern guidebook for the area, I found that someone had to do it. I really wanted to unveil this area to the world so people can come here and enjoy the climbs as much as I do.
I started working part-time for them in 2015 as a climbing instructor. I eventually started working full-time and began to lead the rock program in the summer. Every so often I travel around to get additional training for certifications and extra practice so I can continue working for them.
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Definitely the focus that you require — especially on longer or more technical climbing routes where you really need to focus on every movement. It’s such a big stress relief for me just because you have to focus so much on what you’re doing at that moment on the rock – you forget about everything else. If you had a bad day the previous day or if something is going to happen at work, you just forget about everything basically.
Start yourself off in a course from a professional institution or a professional guide first just to get the experience and the proper knowledge to climb safely. I think it’s important to get started with some sort of knowledge from professionals so that everybody can go and climb the mountain safely. [That way] you can actually go climbing with your friends when you’re more independent and know what you’re doing – it’s less likely for accidents to happen.
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Take Frank’s advice and sign up for one of Rockaboo's many rock climbing experiences!