I need find more adventure in my life, which is a confession of sorts. I can no longer ignore the signs that are guiding me towards a different path – a path that leads towards the climbing life and the adventure it brings. This insight has led me to abandon a PhD program and set course towards new horizons, specifically, the east coast of Baffin Island.
My name is Delano Lavigne and after years of collecting uncomfortable amounts of student debt and losing countless hours to regimented course work, I decided that it was time to stop compromising my passions for an ideal that no longer applies to me. I needed to reclaim my life and guide it towards a different vision of what it means to live the “good life”; one that allows me to fully embrace the wild places of this world.
As you can see, I have a strained relationship with climbing, one that reflects the struggle between passions and responsibility, which many of us experience. I have always been driven by the belief that success is defined by self-sacrifice and fulfilling responsibilities towards family, a profession, community, and personal happiness. These responsibilities, until recently, meant following my heart in a long-term relationship and pursuing an academic path towards a MA in Public Policy and a PhD in Political Science. I have recognized that although passions and responsibilities may coexist, there may also be good reason to reject responsibilities that are out of balance with passions. This is an insight that I am now attempting to put into practice.
This insight has come to me, in part, because adventure is intrinsic to who I am (a product of growing up in maple forests of rural Quebec). And whether or not wild places were a part of your life, as Canadians it is obvious that our environment influences our ideal of what it means to live a “good life”. The adventures afforded to us by wild places provide us with inspiration to explore new landscapes, both within ourselves and with our environment. This is where I introduce the next adventure in my life: Baffin Island! Sam Ford Fjord! Walker Citadel! Superunknown Tower! All this with a Canadian mountain guide, MEC Envoy and brother Joshua Lavigne.
Joshua and I have been climbing together for many years. Despite disparities in our “alpine mileage”, we have maintained a strong climbing and fraternal relationship. What has been consistent throughout our lives is a shared sense of adventure and vision on how to pursue it. Our vision includes entering the wild places of this world with respect and conscientiousness, both for the environment and local communities. We also understand risk in a similar way; we know that to have an adventure you cannot remove the risk. In fact, we believe that adventure is defined by how we manage risk and that risk; an integral part of any adventure defines our relationship with ourselves, others, and our environment.
This year we have aligned our usually hectic lives to climb together for several months. We will travel by boat and explore the Walker Arm along the Sam Ford Fjord in Baffin Island. Over the next few months, we will prepare for the trip by training together. It will begin with an annual migration to the Utah desert, maybe a trip to Yosemite, the Gunnison, the Creek and then Baffin! We leave on the 16th of July, so I still have some time to prepare, which is good because I still need to send a couple grades harder if I’m going climb harder than my brother!
We are finishing this post with a short video edit from my previous trip to the Walker Arm in Baffin Island.