It has become a tradition for the past few years since Peter Aitchison‘s passing that the Manitoba section host a club climb in his honour. The venue, Gooseneck, of course, since Peter pioneered climbing at that cliff in the early 70’s and has his name on an impressive number of first ascents. One thing you will notice when browsing the guide book is that while Peter’s name is on a lot of climbs the person he climbed with putting up the new route is often different.
I didn’t know Peter back then; however, in my own observations of more recent times, Peter was a very inclusive and encouraging person of all climbers. Seasoned as he was he seemed to enjoy getting out to climb with anyone of all ages and abilities. In that spirit, the third annual Peter Aitchison club climb was well attended with 20 plus climbers, seasoned to beginner and a mix of familiar faces and some new ones.
After spending a stellar day sending some Gooseneck classics late in the afternoon, the group (including some very young members) headed to the top of the cliff where earlier Rob Peters and I had scouted out a crack where we could set down a tiny urn with some of Peter’s ashes.
We had a short ceremony sharing sweet grass and Jägermeister plus a few stories of the good times spent with our friend then carefully lowered the tiny ceramic urn onto a ledge a few meters down in the crack.
Peter may be gone but his spirit lives strong.