For the Love of Climbing podcast

55: A Price Too Big

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On October 29, 2019, Michelle Xue and her climbing partner, Jenny Shedden, set off to climb Red Slate Mountain in the Sierra Nevada when they were struck by rockfall and killed. This story is told through the lens of her dear friend, Artem.

While all genres of climbing can be dangerous, alpine climbing is likely the most. These stories of loss pay tribute to loved ones, but beyond that, the life of an alpine climber is complex. They say, “What’s done in love, is done well.” But the passion for this sport creates a catch-22.

The cold paradox of alpine climbing leaves loved ones behind, pondering the timeworn question: Why do we climb? Why choose to continue a sport when the risks encountered could mean death? Everyone will grieve in this lifetime. And everyone will experience loss. It’s a painful but normal part of the human experience, and the process of grief, though it moves, will move in cycles.

This episode is in loving memory of Michelle Xue and Jenny Shedden.

For the Love of Climbing is presented by Patagonia. Additional support is from deuter USA, Allez Outdoor, and Ocún.

Music is licensed by Music Bed and Blue Dot Sessions.

Read the transcript here.

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