- Could you tell us something about you and your passion?
Hi, my name is Catherine Pitura and I’ve been climbing a lot since 2009.
When I was 19 I changed my name to Freya… because well, The Goddess of Love!
I’m 31 now and have come full-circle back to my original name which is Catherine, which means Purity – I like that to!
A decade ago I was in a Vancouver college for a physiotherapy program… I literally slept through most classes.
Fortunately I met my partner around that time and we got into rock climbing together.
Soon we moved into a 2000 GMC Suburban and climbed roughly 300 days a year throughout Canada.
I lived a fairly "glamorous" dirtbag lifestyle for 8 years… no real working obligations – just climbing, learning, and being in Nature.
Eventually I realized that in order to progress as a climber I needed to do a different type of training. Being physically strong just wasn’t cutting it.
This realization lead me to a Spiritual School, which I attended for several years.
If you’re interested you can find out about the school here: https://thesavitriproject.wordpress.com/
I kind of left climbing behind for a while to develop myself in other areas, and learn more about myself outside of climbing.
Now I apply what I learned to rock climbing – hence, Conscious Climbing and The Conscious Climber.
- What inspires/motivates you for the rock climbing?
I’m inspired by the feeling of “effortless effort”.
This “flow state” is fascinating to me, because what I’ve learned is that it’s a real state of being that can be achieved in everyday life to. It’s described as unity consciousness; when mind, body and soul are working together, in harmony.
THAT is why I climb. To better understand the different parts of myself, and learn how to harmonize them.
- What goes into the preparation of a particular climb from time to resources?
First I have to feel inspired by the climb.
Then I consider the risk of the route.
Then I think about why I'm doing it.
Then I decide.
Ultimately I seek Experiences that will grow me.
- How do you gather information about the climb? What information do you consider important? Are there any checkboxes or to-do list?
There are a couple ways I gather information about a route I’d like to do.
-I listen to other peoples experiences.
-I reference guide books.
-I could check online route reviews.
-Physically looking at the route. I’m best able to gather information about a climb by looking at it in person.
Most importantly, I consider the protectability of the route; where can I place gear, what’s the bolting style of the route, and what are descent options...
This is an aspect of strategizing for success.
Checkboxes would include having the appropriate gear for the objective; cams, nuts, slings, draws, good shoes, appropriate clothing, a good back pack, headlamp, nutrient dense food, water… depending on the climb. And of course a rack full of Mind Tools to support and encourage me along the way!
- How does it feel before and during the climb, what do you tell yourself?
Before the climb I try to center myself.
Through meditation I have experienced what Stillness and Silence feels like. I would say it’s in the Heart and it’s a big open space not in the realm of the thinking mind.
I like to connect to that Quietness inside myself before I begin climbing.
By the way, I'm not perfect. Some days go a lot better then others, some days could be considered down right embarrassing... but I'm always learning and growing and willing to explore and try new things!
During the climb I try to stay quiet internally.
If it’s a day I need more support, I’ll repeat the mantras from the Mind Tools on my quickdraws.
If I’m leading slab, for example, I will clip into my quickdraw, read the Mind Tool – let’s say it’s the bright green Positive + Confident one – and repeat “positive, confident, positive, confident” internally with each step.
I find this incredibly helpful.
- How do you handle crisis management during the climb? And especially when it’s not a solo climb?
A friend once said “it’s freaky – just don’t get freaked out!”,
so I say that a lot!
Crisis is always manageable with the right perspective.
- What pops in your mind when you hit a dead end and realizes that you can’t move forward and ultimately had to change the route? What does it cost?
I just try to accept what is, and go with the next best move.
- How does it feel when you reach the top? Do the mountains have a story to tell?
Mountain tops and summits are so symbolic.
Summits represent achievement or completion of a generally challenging objective.
So the top feels like a success, a celebration. The top is awe-inspiring!
The climber has co-created a story, an experience, a memory, with the mountain.
Super grateful for the mountains and how much I’ve evolved through epic mountain experiences.
- In your opinion, what differentiates or distinguishes rock climbers from others? What’s so special about rock climbers? What is it that they have, and others don’t?
Interestingly, 1 out of 5 climbers are engineers or programmers – both professions have to do with problem solving, designing, and building.
So I think climbers tend to be fantastically solution oriented.
- Do you think the climbing community is changing rapidly and the ‘adventure sport’ is now becoming an ‘extreme adventure sport’; as many climbers are turning towards solo climb with bare minimum equipment in a single go? In this context, what is the definition of ‘risk’, is it same in real life as well as during the climb?
While soloing has received a lot of media attention, I haven’t personally noticed an increase in recreational soloing in my area (Squamish).
At the end of the day, it’s up to the person if that’s the experience they want to create for themselves.
Risk is subjective and risk is important for growth.
Self-awareness is key to measuring appropriate risk.
- If I may, do you know your personality type (the MBT Personality type)?
I’m not sure! Haven't done it...
- What’s next for you (future climbing and other events)?
-Mind Tools will be available in local stores soon, which we’re super excited about.
-A Conscious Climbing Clinic will be offered for the first time this year, near the end of summer.
The clinic will include professional climbing instruction, but the emphasis will be on sampling new age healing modalities to help reduce fear and negativity in a climbers psyche.
Opportunity’s will include pranayama (breath) classes, true Yoga and Meditation, ancient martial arts training, tribal fusion dance, subconscious art therapy, psychodrama (where guests use spontaneous dramatization, role playing, and self-presentation to investigate and gain insight into their lives), among other things.
-Continued preparation for the ACMG Rock Guide exam.
-Instructional and supportive video creation for The Conscious Climber brand.
To find out more, visit The Conscious Climber and join the Mailing List at the bottom of the Home Page: www.theconsciousclimber.com
Peace, Love, Climbing.