Angela Vanwiemeersch on Processing Loss and Getting Out of Your Head

At the steepest part of the climb, I had a distinct moment of struggle. I was trying to get a good tool placement, and the ice just kept on breaking everywhere I swung. I was locked off and getting tired. So I climbed about one foot back down into a resting position and reevaluated. I was able to breathe, then move a bit out left and find good placements and move. Sometimes I just have to remind myself to chill and not panic when things seem dismal. - Chill and Don't Panic from Angela's blog

Angela Vanwiemeersch grew up in Detroit. She was a competitive figure skater, studying fashion design when she found a life as a climber, in particular, ice climbing and now she travels the world, lives out of her truck, climbing and working wherever she can. In 2016, Angela’s boyfriend Scott Adamson and his climbing partner Kyle Dempster vanished on a climbing expedition on the O2 in Pakistan. 

It was a big loss she is still processing and for that, this was a hard interview for me to do. But we talk about the process - her trip back to Pakistan to the base camp where they were last seen, and how Angela took some time off from climbing because she found herself wrestling a bit with a level of fear she hadn’t had before. 

What’s perhaps most remarkable about our conversation is there are no answers when it comes to seeking an end to human suffering. You can go take off on a solo bike ride for a long ass time and try to find yourself. You can go to Scott and Kyle’s basecamp in Pakistan to try and get closer, not to be mistaken for closure. But you don’t ever heal, recover or actually get closure. You just process. and continue to process. and let your life be informed by that experience. 

With that, let’s listen in and gear up for what’s next. 

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