The former Whistlerite walks the chef every day for a year – and he’s not done yet

Mike Roberts climbed the equivalent of 29 Everest climbs, all for mental health awareness

Mike Roberts is not the same person as a year ago.

For one thing, he’s in the best shape of his life and weighs about 30 pounds less, a good thing when you’ve committed to riding the Stawamus Chief every day, rain, snow or shine. ‘it’s snowing. The last thing you want on such a grueling, burning thigh climb day in and day out is excess weight. And I’m not just talking about the literal genre.

“Every ounce of weight carried on this hike is too much, so if your mind can get rid of some stuff, it is,” Roberts says. “That’s the lesson I share with everyone: there’s no energy to hang on to this stuff. It’s liberating. All the trauma I’ve endured in my life, if I carried it like a backpack, imagine how much stronger I’d be if I could take it off and walk free. I would be a powerhouse, and that’s how I feel right now. I am unstoppable.

You’d think the former Whistlerite and Squamish resident would have every reason to quit. After all, just this Thursday, March 24, he scored his 365and The leader’s daily ascent in a row, completing his mission to raise awareness of locally available mental health services after a stint in rehab and regular therapy lifted him from the abyss.

At first, however, a voice kept telling Roberts something he didn’t really want to hear: you have to keep going.

“I immediately said, ‘Shut up, man! What the hell are you talking about? I’ve been fighting for months. But listen, there’s no stopping. I’m not stopping’ “Now the goal is to share this with everyone, because if I continue just for me, it would be selfish and unnecessary.”

Roberts documented his daily climbs via his Instagram account, @mikefrommontreal, and taken together over the span of a year, the short video clips form a collage of resilience that is as inspiring as it is nerve-wracking at times. Often videos are as simple as Roberts ring the bell at the top of the chief, his proof of the day he finished the hike. Other times, you’ll see him address the camera directly, offering a steady stream of positive affirmations to his followers, even as he battles the elements, trudging through waist-deep snow in the middle of the night.

“It’s very hard. I should stress that. It’s very hard, but I’ve also learned to live with the craziness of it all, because it East madness – and I found joy in it. I’m the guy who does this. There are no moments of pity, and you know what, if there are moments of pity, because they happen, I try to find the positivity there and share it,” he says. . “During the year, I haven’t posted anything negative about my experience here. And I posted pictures of myself soaked, covered in snow, lost, injured, and found a way to turn it around.

Roberts wants to be clear on one other thing: despite his experience, he’s not an inveterate hiker, chasing time. When people have accompanied him, they are often surprised at his slowness. Some days, he arrives at the parking lot at the Chief’s base and realizes he’s forgotten some crucial gear, but rather than drive home, he continues, refusing to let his positive momentum wane.

“You have no idea how many days I’ve spent here in a T-shirt, in the snow. It’s absurd. People are like, ‘You should be prepared. You should have a bag,’ and it’s like, ‘OK, you do. You pack a bag every day. There are things that will pass, ”he explains. “Everything has to pull at the same time. If I show up at the parking lot and haven’t brought boots or spikes, I’m not going home because if I go home, I’m not coming back. So I had to walk in the snow, in my shoes, in jeans. There’s a great video I posted of me in five feet of snow wearing Levi’s jeans. You know how hilarious that is?

In her commitment to keep going, Roberts draws a parallel to her mental health journey and the deep value of just showing up. During the year, he climbed a total of about 256 kilometers in altitude, the equivalent of climbing up and down a 77,576-story building, or almost 29 ascents of Mount Everest. But Roberts insists it’s not about “how much effort” is being made, but about the commitment you make to the routine, to yourself. To show oneself. After all, the only way to climb Everest is one step at a time.

“You don’t have to make the chef walk. Just having a ritual that you take part in every day, rain or shine, day or night, snow or snow, like walking around the block, is the same advantage I get from climbing this mountain,” he admits. “Everyone has their own Mount Everest and your Mount Everest is different from mine. It could be getting out of bed in the morning. It could be not dealing drugs that day. mother.

Walking roughly the same route every day, Roberts made a conscious effort to never take the same step twice.

“One of the things about mental health is…basically your mind can be developed. If you take the same route home every day, your mind will skyrocket. But if you start to deviate just a little bit in your routes or the steps you take or the way you approach things, it creates new neural connections, which expands your mind,” he explains. “So even though I take the same path every day, I never do the same set of steps, so my mind is always expanding. What this allows is the opportunity to have a greater perspective on your problems, on your problems, on how to solve problems This mountain has solved so many puzzles or problems that I have had in my life.

The leader has held a certain magnetic power for thousands of years. Known by the Squamish people as Siyam Smanit, it refers to something to be deeply respected, such as a mentor or elder who can pass on many important teachings. For Roberts, those lessons were both personal and universal, and as his year progressed, his relationship with the 700-meter monolith evolved.

“I had to ask permission to be here, because I wanted to be a part of this and my mission was of good intentions, so I let it be known. That in itself made me more spiritual,” says “There were times when I was really terrified and you just have to have faith and sometimes you have to scream out loud, ‘Please help me!’ Now we have this relationship where you just know I’m coming and I’m here. I give him respect. I don’t treat it like a Tae Bo fitness class; this is my church.

Now Roberts is ready to climb his next Everest: starting a YouTube channel to document his daily hikes and share the mental health solutions that have worked for him. He admits he doesn’t have a clue about creating a content channel, but he’s committed to approaching it the same way he did last year.

“The new Everest I have at the top is about finding a way to be vulnerable and share it with the world, but it has to be shared. And I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t believe it. I’ve seen too much and learned so much from the simplicity of just a walk, and I want to share that because it’s a fix anyone can do,” he says. “It’s the state of spirit that comes from here that applies to everything else in your life. I need to create a YouTube content page. How do I do this? You set your intention, introduce yourself, put in the effort, and take it one step at a time. And believe me, it’s painful. But ultimately, you’re the guy and that’s your thing.

“Otherwise, how will you know you’re headed in the wrong direction if you don’t start moving?”

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