Mountaineering

Mountains are bigger than people. Mountains don’t care. But those who go find themselves in the rock and wind-rent air.

I have been lucky to walk, ski, climb, and claw my way up and down many mountains. The Canadian Rockies are my ‘hood’. I’ve trekked the Himalaya, the jungled peaks of Costa Rica, the ancient highlands of Europe and Eastern United States, and the red hills of Africa. I have pulled on the wrong ledge and sent a bathroom-sized slab hurtling downwards. I’ve crossed a thin, pebbled ramp with no handholds and a two thousand foot drop I still dream about. My German Shepherd has been quilled by a porcupine and leapt onto a hole-pocked cornice above a halfmile of air — both in the same day. But I have stood on summits so high I swear I can see the curvature of the Earth. I have returned.

Hear the call of the high country. Go to the mountains.

Return changed.

Canadian Geographic Runs Excerpt of the LiveBig! book and an Interview with Heidi

An excerpt from Heidi’s forthcoming book LiveBig! is featured in Canadian Geographic’s January/February 2016 print edition. Editor Aaron Kylie’s interview of Heidi is on their website at http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/jf16/live-big-avalanche-author-heidi-wyle.asp.

The book is an historic story of tragedy to triumph and reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the tragic 2003 avalanche that buried a school group of 17 from […]

My glaciers are dying

As someone whose strength was forged climbing glaciated peaks, in August I stood on British Columbia’s Devine glacier watching water heave down a millwell large enough to eat a truck. Numerous arteries roared into a death spiral that consumed the brilliant blue ice. In five years Devine’s depth had lost 25 feet and the toe […]

Portrait of grief—a bereaved mother

In Rome a few months ago, I stood in the Borghese Gallery quietly grieving before Raphael’s painting Deposition.

In 1507 Atalanta Baglioni commissioned Raphael to paint a “portrait of grief” in memory of her son Grifonetto, recently killed in a family feud after a party. Deposition depicts Mary lamenting over Jesus’ body just removed from the […]

Frozen off: A climb with my daughter

My 15 year old daughter Talia shivered uncontrollably as she climbed the first pitch of the Aftonroe route on Guide’s Rock near Banff townsite in Western Alberta, Canada. The wind buffeted us, funneling over the large prow of rock through which the climb ran. We were exposed, a wart on a big rock nose. She […]

Video of whiteout hitting Selkirk Lodge

A storm came up valley and bashed the lodge with hail and whiteout conditions.

Live Big! seven dead kids and then change

THE CONNAUGHT CREEK AVALANCHE TRAGEDY – The 2003 Avalanche that buried the entire 17 person group from the patrician Strathcona Tweedsmuir School and killed seven tenth graders, was a defining event for modern Canada.

It ignited an emotional firestorm across the nation, preying upon all parents’ worst nightmare and throwing doubt upon Canadians’ relationship with their […]

Bendel was almost eaten

On a starless night just after Christmas, my husband and I walked our dogs along the Bow River in Canmore, our adopted mountain town. The river snapped with shifting ice. The trees closed in and the path got dark–ambush territory. Our German Shepherd Spira alerted. Rigid, head high with radar ears, she hated on a […]

It’s dark, where’s my husband?

My husband Dave and I decided to attempt Mt. Assiiboine which at 11,870 feet is a significant climb through a variety of terrain elements. It is a beautiful, powerful peak with a siren call. The mountain is guided one-on-one; I climbed with my friend and guide Grant Meekins, and Dave was guided by British guide […]