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Editor’s Note: On April 25, 2015 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal and the region around Mt. Everest killing over 9,000 people including at least 19 at base camp on the Nepali side of the mountain. SCARPA athlete and college professor Raphael Slawinski was on the peak’s northern base camp in China when the quake struck attempting a new alpine-style route up the mountain’s northeast face.
Though the north side of Everest was relatively unscathed, the Chinese government promptly closed the mountain for climbing, ending his groundbreaking summit attempt. My left foot, which had been precariously smeared above the lip of a roof, slipped off just as I deadpointed for a distant jug. “Take!” I shouted pointlessly as a blur of grey and yellow limestone rushed upward. “At least you weren’t on redpoint.” Juan quipped from the shattered scree below, where he stood belaying. I yarded back up the rope, feeling the familiar mixture of exhilaration and frustration.
Sport climbing is addictive, the occasional success keeping you persevering through nearly constant failure. The fingertip gymnastics seemed especially fun now, after half a year of using my lungs and legs a whole lot more than my arms. This past winter, while the occasional day of swinging ice tools would remind me that I was in fact a climber, it would also leave me feeling guilty. How was I supposed to record a few pitches of pillars in my training log? “Hmm, it doesn’t count as strength straining or a steep cardio workout – I guess it’ll have to go in the ‘extra’ column.” Still, even something as absurd as lugging a pack of rocks, dumping them on the summit cairn and descending for more, can be gratifying if done for a reason.
In my case, it was getting fit for an alpine-style attempt on a new route (OK, variation, since it didn’t stay independent all the way) on the northeast face of Everest. It’s not the sort of thing you try every year, and so I trained rigorously, maybe even obsessively. It wasn’t to be. We’d only been in the Chinese basecamp for a couple of weeks, and had ventured above six thousand meters only a couple of times, when the earthquake hit. The magnitude-7.8 event was the strongest to strike Nepal in over 80 years, and it devastated the impoverished mountain country.
On the north side of Everest we were spared the destruction, but the quake spelled the end of our ambitions. Less than two weeks after the first tremor we were back home, a month earlier than planned. Usually after a big trip, whether or not I’d succeeded, I would feel exhausted yet sated, happy to return to familiar haunts. This time I felt strangely out of place at home, surprised to be surrounded by the tentative greenery of early May in Alberta instead of the glacial rubble and massive peaks of the Himalaya.
After a couple of days of getting over the jetlag, I went back to the university and the rock gym. “You’re alive!” people would say. “We were worried.” Every time I was almost ashamed to say I’d never been in any real danger. Next to the thousands of dead and tens of thousands of homeless in Nepal, my own experience of the earthquake seemed trivial. And even though both the quake and the subsequent closure of Everest amounted to acts of God, I still felt like a tourist who’d gone on a much-hyped adventure only to cut his trip short. I felt empty. As so often before, when feeling confused and unsure of my next step, I went climbing.
To begin with, going cragging without an agenda, just to play on the rocks with friends, seemed almost decadent. Still, it was fun, even if I had to swallow my pride when it took me several hard-fought attempts to redpoint what was usually a warmup. Ah, pride and ambition. Sometimes I wonder if they’re what drive me, though I like to think I’m propelled by a purer, more deep-seated need. Anyway, it wasn’t long before I made up a schedule. Nothing too structured, just to make sure I got in several sessions on plastic and rock every week, along with some exercises for opposing muscles to keep my chronically sore elbow functional. Oh, and some cardio too, so I’d be in reasonable shape when the summer alpine season rolled around.
As yet I had no specific goals in mind though a few loomed vaguely, as if through the early-morning haze on a perfect summer morning. A wall in the Front Ranges, overhanging for hundreds of metres, where I’d started a route a few years ago; maybe I’d finish it this summer? An iconic north face on a favourite mountain; maybe this fall? And next year, maybe another big mountain, a more obscure one this time… But enough daydreaming – it’s time to go climbing.
Last updated 12 October 2018. Effective immediately.
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Last updated 4 April 2018. Effective immediately.
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Please note that certain state laws do not allow limitations on implied warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain damages. If you are a resident of such a state and these laws apply to you, some or all of the above disclaimers, exclusions, or limitations may not apply to you, and you may have additional rights.
16. Reserved Rights. SCARPA reserves the right to do any of the following, for any reason, at any time, without notice: (1) to modify, suspend or terminate operation of or access to the Websites, or any portion of the Websites; (2) to modify or change the Websites, or any portion of the Websites, and any applicable policies or terms; (3) to interrupt the operation of the Websites, or any portion of the Websites, as necessary to perform routine or non-routine maintenance, error correction, or other changes; and (4) discontinue or restrict your use of the Websites.
17. WARNING: SKIING, CLIMBING, MOUNTAINEERING, TRAIL RUNNING, HIKING, WALKING, AND RELATED ACTIVITIES, ARE POTENTIALLY LIFE THREATENING, HAZARDOUS, AND DANGEROUS. By purchasing or using any SCARPA equipment in any manner, you agree that you are: (1) personally and solely responsible for: (a) learning and knowing the limits and capabilities of the equipment and yourself, (b) the proper use of and techniques for such equipment, (c) making responsible, sound decisions in changing situations, and (2) assuming all risks and accepting full and complete responsibility for any and all damages and injury of any kind to yourself or others, including death, paralysis, and serious injury, which may result from or is related to your use of any equipment manufactured by or purchased through SCARPA, its partners, Websites, or retailers. In addition, YOU AGREE TO ASSUME ALL RISKS AND ACCEPT FULL AND COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY AND ALL DAMAGES AND INJURY OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING DEATH, PARALYSIS, AND SERIOUS INJURY, WHICH MAY RESULT FROM OR IS RELATED TO YOUR USE OF OR RELIANCE UPON ANY MATERIALS OR INFORMATION PRODUCED BY SCARPA, ITS PARTNERS, AND/OR THAT IS CONTAINED IN ANY SCARPA WEBSITES, CATALOGS, PUBLICATIONS, OR OTHER SCARPA MATERIALS. Resources like the SCARPA Websites and publications can provide useful information and tips, but they are no substitute for good decision making, safe and appropriate use of equipment, or professional instruction for the numerous hazardous situations in which you may choose to use SCARPA products.
18. Disclosure of Your Information. You agree and SCARPA reserves the right at all times and without further notice to disclose any information that SCARPA deems necessary to comply with any applicable law, regulation, administrative or legal process or governmental request. SCARPA also may disclose your information when SCARPA determines that applicable law requires or permits such disclosure, including exchanging information with other companies and organizations for fraud protection purposes. You agree that SCARPA may disclose any information we have about you (including your identity) if SCARPA determines that such disclosure is necessary in connection with any investigation or complaint regarding your use of the Websites, or to identify, contact or bring legal action against someone who may be causing injury to or interference with, either intentionally or unintentionally, the Websites, SCARPA’s rights or property, or the rights or property of the Websites’ users, including SCARPA’s customers. You acknowledge and agree that SCARPA may preserve any transmittal or communication by you, including emails, through the Websites or any service offered on or through the Websites, and may also disclose such data if required to do so by law or SCARPA determines that such preservation or disclosure is reasonably necessary to (1) comply with legal process, (2) enforce these Terms, (3) respond to claims that any such data violates the rights of others, and/or (4) protect the rights, property or personal safety of SCARPA, its employees, users of or visitors to the Websites, and the public.
19. Indemnity. YOU AGREE TO DEFEND, INDEMNIFY AND HOLD SCARPA, ITS SUCCESSORS, AND ASSIGNS, AND ITS AND THEIR DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, CO-BRANDERS OR OTHER PARTNERS, HARMLESS FROM ANY DEMANDS, DAMAGES, LOSS, LIABILITY, CLAIMS OR EXPENSES (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND JUDGMENTS OF ANY KIND OR NATURE), MADE AGAINST OR INCURRED BY SCARPA BY YOU, ANY PERSON OR ENTITY ACTING ON YOUR BEHALF, AND/OR ANY THIRD PARTY RELATED TO, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR IMPROPER USE OF THE WEBSITES, YOUR BREACH OF ANY OF THESE TERMS, AND/OR ANY OTHER VIOLATION BY YOU THAT CREATES LIABILITY FOR SCARPA. This provision may be unenforceable or inapplicable within the State of New Jersey.
20. Applicable Law; Dispute Resolution; Arbitration; Class Action Waiver; Miscellaneous Provisions. By visiting or using any SCARPA Websites, you agree that:
(1) All matters relating to these Terms, and/or your access to or use of the Websites, including all disputes, will be governed by the laws of the United States and by the laws of the State of Colorado without regard to its conflicts of laws provisions.
(2) In the event of any controversy or dispute between SCARPA and you arising out of or in connection with these Terms and/or your use of the Websites, SCARPA and you shall attempt, promptly and in good faith, to resolve any such dispute. If we are unable to resolve any such dispute within thirty (30) days, then either party may request that such controversy or dispute be mediated. The mediation may be conducted in person, through the submission of documents, by phone or online. If conducted in person, the mediation shall take place in Boulder, Colorado. If the dispute is not resolved through mediation within a reasonable time (not to exceed sixty (60) days from the mediation request), then the parties shall be free to pursue any right or remedy available to them under applicable law through binding arbitration as described below.
(3) BINDING ARBITRATION: In the event of any dispute arising under or relating to these Terms your access to or use of the Websites (including products or services sold or distributed by SCARPA through SCARPA Websites), such dispute will be finally and exclusively resolved by binding arbitration. NEITHER YOU NOR WE SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO LITIGATE ANY CLAIM IN COURT OR TO HAVE THE CLAIM DECIDED BY A JUDGE OR JURY. DISCOVERY RIGHTS, SUCH AS EACH PARTY'S RIGHT TO THE EXCHANGE OF PREHEARING INFORMATION OR PREHEARING TAKING OF SWORN TESTIMONY, MAY ALSO BE LIMITED IN ARBITRATION. All disputes will be resolved before a neutral arbitrator, whose decision will be final except for a limited right of appeal under the Federal Arbitration Act. The arbitration shall be commenced and conducted under the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and, where appropriate, the AAA’s Consumer Arbitration Rules, both of which are available at the AAA website www.adr.org. The arbitration may be conducted in person, through the submission of documents, by phone or online. If conducted in person, the arbitration shall take place in Boulder, Colorado. The parties may litigate in court to compel arbitration, to stay proceeding pending arbitration, or to confirm, modify, vacate or enter judgment on the award entered by the arbitrator. The Federal Arbitration Act and federal arbitration law apply to these Terms.
(4) CLASS ACTION WAIVER: Any arbitration or proceeding shall be limited to the dispute between us and you individually. To the full extent permitted by law, (a) no arbitration or proceeding shall be joined with any other; (b) there shall be no right or authority for any dispute to be arbitrated or resolved on a class action-basis or to utilize class action procedures; and (c) there shall be no right or authority for any dispute to be brought in a purported representative capacity on behalf of the general public or any other persons. YOU AGREE THAT YOU MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST US ONLY IN YOUR INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING.
(5) You hereby irrevocably waive, to the fullest extent permitted by law, (a) any objection that you may now or hereafter have to such jurisdiction and venue and (b) any claim that any such arbitration proceeding has been brought in an inconvenient forum. Note that the preceding provision regarding venue may not apply if you are a consumer based in the European Union, however, in all cases, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods shall not apply in any dispute arising out of or related to these Terms;
(6) Any and all claims arising out of or related to these Terms must be brought by you within one (1) year after the cause of action arises, or such claim or cause of action is forever and irrevocably barred. Claims made under the separate terms and conditions of purchase for goods and services are not subject to this limitation.
(7) No recovery may be sought or received by you against SCARPA for damages other than your out-of-pocket expenses, excluding attorney fees.
(8) A printed version of these Terms and of any notice given in electronic form shall be admissible in any mediation or arbitration proceeding based upon or relating to these Terms to the same extent and subject to the same conditions as other business documents and records originally generated and maintained in printed form. All headings in these Terms are for convenience or reference only and shall be ignored in construing these Terms.
(9) SCARPA’s failure to enforce all or any part of these Terms or respond to a breach thereof by you or any other party shall not in any way be construed as a waiver or a relinquishment of any right granted SCARPA hereunder of the future performance of all or any part of these Terms, and your obligations set forth in these Terms shall continue in full force and effect.
(10) If any provision in these Terms is held invalid or unenforceable under applicable law, the invalid or unenforceable provision will be modified to the minimum extent necessary and deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that most closely matches the intent of the original provision and the remaining provisions of these Terms will continue in full force and effect.
(11) These Terms contain the entire and final agreement regarding SCARPA Websites and their Content, and supersede any prior or contemporaneous communications between you and SCARPA regarding the Websites.
(12) Any offer for any feature, product or service made on the Websites is void where prohibited. If you choose to access the Websites from outside the U.S., you are solely responsible for complying with applicable U.S. and local laws. Although the Websites may be accessible worldwide, not all products or features provided or offered through the Websites are available in all geographic locations, or available (legally or otherwise) for use outside of the U.S. SCARPA reserves the right to limit, in its sole discretion, the provision and quantity of any product or feature shown on the Websites to any person or geographic area.
(13) All rights not explicitly granted in these Terms are hereby reserved by SCARPA.
(14) By continuing to use the SCARPA Websites, you hereby agree and intend to be bound by these Terms.
SCARPA North America, Inc. (“SCARPA”) appreciates the difficulties that individuals with disabilities face and has supported disabled athletes and groups for many years. SCARPA strives to comply with all applicable laws and guidelines so that our website is accessible to individuals with disabilities, including W3C’s WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) accessibility standards up to Level AA.
SCARPA has taken and continues to take a variety of steps to ensure the accessibility of our website. The site is built to comply with WCAG 2.1 accessibility guidelines, including media content tagged with titles, alternative text, and descriptive information, and font sizing is supported and may be controlled through the browser.
If you experience any difficulty using or accessing any part of this website, please call us at 303.998.2895 or email us at [email protected] and we will work with you to ensure that you have full access to the information in which you are interested and which is available to the public on our site, and can purchase our products, if desired.
Please contact us at 303.998.2895 or [email protected] if you have any feedback to share about the accessibility of this website.