The past three weeks have flown by there at Grouse Mountain and I have had the privilege so far of experiencing almost all of the experience on offer including; a helicopter tour from Blackcomb Aviation, the Eye of the Wind, the magnificent view from the Skyride, feeding the bears and wolves, ziplining and of course working with the marketing team on a daily basis.
One of the 'must-do' experiences that I had not yet tackled was the famous Grouse Grind. I have seen hundreds of “Grinders” around the mountain every hour of every day, getting ready for the ascent and still recovering from their hike on their way down on the Skyride. Initially, I thought to myself, “these people are crazy, why would you want to climb straight up a mountain?” but in order to work with the marketing team on initiatives involving the Grouse Grind I needed to find out for myself why people are so passionate about it!
The day for my first Grouse Grind was set for Canada Day and along with a friend for support I started my first ascent early in the day. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. We got about 1/8th of the way and I needed to stop, I was already tired and felt very nauseous. If it wasn’t for my friend I would have turned around! As I climbed I could not believe the variety of terrain, the sheer steepness and the wide range of people that were climbing it which gave me hope that I could finish. When I reached the half way point I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and knew if I could make it this far I could complete the challenge. When I got to the top it was an awesome feeling! It was like nothing I have ever felt before not mention I was even thinking about when I was going to do the Grouse Grind again even though I swore on the way up “never again”.
Some advice that I would give to first time climbers would be:
1. Take your time, it is not a race and if you keep a steady pace you will not get tired as fast.
2. Look up towards where you are going next, if you constantly look down you will feel 'car sick'.
3. Mentally prepare yourself, stay focused and think to yourself you can do it, because you can.
4. Bring a motivational speaker, someone that will push you and talk you through times when you want to turn around.
5. Enjoy it, you are doing an incredible thing, look around and absorb the beauty, it really is amazing.
Even though it took me one hour and 25 minutes, with multiple stops, a TON of complaining and mentally telling myself that “I can’t do it”, it was an awesome experience. I am so glad I did the Grouse Grind. Every day, I now look up at Grouse Mountain in a different way and cannot believe that I climbed to the top. And yes, no matter how much I didn’t want to be doing it when I was, I am doing it again tomorrow night…I am hooked.