Tue. Apr 14, 2015

Sunday evening's Multiplicity Event, hosted by Mountain Life magazine as a fundraiser for the Spearhead Huts initiative, was just as mind-blowingly inspirational as last year's show. DJ Lon of Two Acre Shaker fame was on the decks to welcome a largely local crowd, eager to be wowed by the incredible tales of the night's series of Speakers.

The event was also sponsored by Helly Hansen who gave away jackets to some lucky audience members, wise in the lore of HH and threw swag in to the crowd during the later intermission. Our endlessly entertaining host and Editor of Coast Mountain Life Magazine, Feet Banks, smoothly saw us through the night's awesome series of stories whilst resonating our Mountain culture ethos: that life is a wonderful adventure but sometimes perilous and never to be taken for granted. Get out there any enjoy everything nature has to offer but never get complacent. Boy are we lucky to live in Whistler!

First to engage the audience was Kirby Brown. His tale was not autobiographical - rather it was about his heroic friend Keith 'Barking Dog' Reynolds. Keith Reynolds is the humble founder of the charity Playground Builders, who build playgrounds in destitute, war stricken Afghanistan. He packs two pairs of socks and underwear and uses the rest of his suitcase allowance to take pairs of winter boots to children desperately in need of them. What a guy! The stats are against the resilient population of Afghanistan, whose country has been ravaged by wars, the Taliban regime and with an average population age of a mere 18 years compared to Canada's 42, social codes are so hard to change. Trying to break social stigma and cultural practices that trap women in particular in submissive roles starts at the most basic level we take for granted: Education. Kirby's photos showed a tough population looking for change and Playground builders tries to break the cycle of poverty and violence in Afghanistan by nurturing the importance of education and play in it's seminal youth groups. The charity has to date brought playgrounds to 500,000 kids - that's 8,000 children per audience member!

Pembertonian Suz Graham, relocated from Salt Lake City, explained her adrenaline addiction and seeming lack of fear next. She verified she wasn't a robot and that she does indeed get scared but she confronts those fears and is thus more empowered by living on the edge. Her video of her Moab base jumping and tale of ski basing Devil's Castle in Alta left your palms sweating but reiterated the night's cannon of living an extraordinary life and testing your potential.

Chris Winter - a Mountain Biking legend and founder of Zero Ceiling, without whom Crankworx would not be what it is today, provided our next course in the night's visual feast. His video, with photography from this week's exhibiting Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown photographer, Mattias Fredriksson as well as Leslie Kehmeier, took us on a two-wheeled journey through Nepal and Iceland. The imagery was absolutely spectacular and coupled with local filmer Mike Gamble's 'acid trip filter', everyone felt awed and eager to book a trip with Chris's company Big Mt Bike Adventures.

Tim Emmett is originally from England, as am I, which anyone can easily coin from his unique accent. His unique personality though was what translated to an audience gasping at his video of a dawn base jump from Europe's tallest residential building. His videos of Wing-suit flying in Squamish, as well his enthusiastic journey down memory lane of his climbing of the incredible ice walls of Helmcken Falls in BC were enrapturing.

Jason Faulkner is one of the key driving forces in the Spearhead Hut campaign and during the intermission, gave us some more information on their initiative - which has been in the works for 5 years and nearing permit fruition - to build Passivhaus Huts in the Spearhead Range: Macbeth, Russet and Patterson Huts. With a Park Permit looking to be issued in a couple of months, the Team needs to raise 1.8 million to see the project come full wheel and are seeking funds and volunteers at spearheadhuts.org.

Up next to knock our sock off was David McColm. I've made my fair share of night owl excursions with hot Tea to the local Lake docks to experience the Magic of the Northern Lights but David McColm's wonderful images are synonymous locally with this skyward phenomena. As he explained, he loves, just LOVES, being in the outdoors and watching the Universe unfold before him. His images back him up. Wow! He admits that he makes mistakes and an on mountain diet of granola and lack of sleep during his timelapse and photography vigels takes a health toll, as well as on his equipment. It also screws with your social and romantic life! He then showed us his absolutely epic Whistler Deep Sky II timelapse - a world premier - which left us in complete awe! He has now posted it on the 'ole interweb, so check out his website for a mind-blowing peak into the magic of the universe.

As if these speakers weren't enough to make you feel lazy about your meagre Flute hike this morning, Darcy Turenne, Professional Mt Biker turned filmaker, spun as an eclectic and entertaining tale about transitioning from being an athlete into creative capture: filming in Bali; being an environmentalist; filming her inspirational Snowboard Film 'The Little Things'; and the challenge of creating content in an unseasonably warm Prince Rupert in April. Check out her stirring feature film and also her winning entry at last year's WSSF 72 hour filmmaker Showdown - The Trip. Filmed in a single shot - It really is what it says on the Tin.

Julie Angus was next to spin her story of her ambitious and gobsmacking trip from Portugal to the States. How? She did so with her then boyfriend in a plywood rowing boat! I kid you not. Their trip was marred by technical issues early on: problems with their GPS and de-salination system; the shock of coming too close to a Freighter; the human interaction you go through in such a confined space; as well as her frightening recollection of spending 3 days in their kitchen table sized cabin during a Hurricane with swells above 50 feet! Julie and her now husband arrived on the other side of the Atlantic after a remarkable 5 month trip and once they arrived in Puerto Rico, they then cycled the 43,000km back home to Vancouver! Now doesn't your Flute hike really pale in comparison?

Will Gadd was the evening's final Speaker of the night: a Redbull athlete whose Mom introduced him to adventure at an early age. Like, really early. Will Gadd's super likeable personality and enthusiasm had everyone engaged. His level of adventuring is simply extreme. He even admits in his Iceberg climbing footage that 'it isn't right.' Gadd had introduced the night's earlier speaker, Tim Emmett to Helmcken Falls. Again, the imagery of this colossal place was breathtaking. He flitted through other experiences: climbing the now frugal remnants of ice on Mt Kilimanjaro; ice-climbing Niagara Falls this year; ice-climbing for a constant 24 hours and metal detecting for bolts; parasailing over Mt Robson. One of his key points that really struck a chord and epitomised the night's theme was his List of 'smarter more able' friends he had lost to their adventure passions. 'Do not let sorrow die for it is the sweetening of every gift.' Gadd allowed us to reflect deeply on how life is interesting on the edges but don't pay the ultimate. As he reiterated by Edmund Hillary - getting to the top is only half of it, you have to come back!

I know I've waxed overly long about this evening but it really is an incredibly awesome and inspiring event. Last year's Wade Davis presentation had my jaw on the floor but this year, Mountain Life's Multiplicity stoked the embers of adventure in every member of the crowds heart. Get outdoors and come back to share the stories and passion!