PC: First of all, Santa, we’re curious to know if there’s any place to climb around the North Pole. We know you have narwhals in your backyard (which was the burning question from last Christmas) but are there any climbing spots nearby?
Santa: I don’t need a crag right in my backyard. That’s the added perk of having a flying sled you see. So, most times I head over to Greenland or Baffin Island for a day trip. Before it was discovered, I pretty much had all that big wall climbing to myself. Then a few of those young climbers, Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll, Ben Ditto, and brothers Nico and Olivier Favresse, let the secret out of the bag with that great film. But in a way I don’t mind. It’s great to see the arctic climbing community really take off. Climbers have been missing out for years!
PC: We met Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll last summer when we were out climbing in Squamish, BC. We were doing some family climbs at The Playground. He started singing DoDo’s Delight for the kids as he cruised up the route! Although they were tongue-tied at first, the song was revived in our household for another few months. It was pretty cool. Do you have a favourite climb?
Santa: It’s hard NOT to love that tune. The elves go nuts when they’ve had a few eggnogs (am I allowed to say that?). Hard to pinpoint a favourite, but I’d say if you head out that way you’ll definitely have to check out The Drunken Pillar (Shepton’s Shove, E6 6b, 5.12a, 1000 meters). Classic. You know, once you get past the sub-zero temperatures, occasional white-outs and curious polar bears, I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen more climbers around those parts. Mind you, that last National Geographic film on Antarctica climbing may be the next new destination. They do have penguins. Hard to compete with penguins.
PC: Who do you climb with? Does Mrs. Claus climb?
Santa: She does, but she prefers warmer climbing destinations to be truthful. She has an annual trip to Kalymnos, Greece, with the Tooth Fairy. I’m never invited. If I’m climbing in Greenland or Baffin Island I usually head out with my head elf. We’ve been climbing together for decades, him and I. There’s no end to the adventures we’ve gotten ourselves into. He’s not a fan of polar bears. For good reason.
PC: Tell us about your training regime. We know the stereotype is that you eat A LOT to get fat before Christmas. But candy canes and cake and stuffing and turkey all the time?
Santa: It’s not been easy to break the habits or the stereotype for that matter. But now I just don’t overdo it. My diet is balanced, although I don’t eat red meat. You know, that would be a little insensitive with the reindeer. I tend to overdo it a little on Christmas, with all the extra cookies and all, but don’t we all?
PC: We thought this Christmas we’d leave you a little something extra. A Pullboard. You can mount it anywhere in the house and strengthen your fingers in between your climbing trips. We’ve posted a few training protocols on the site to get you started.
Santa: Ho ho ho. Thank you! That’s super thoughtful. That’s a first! I can’t wait to get it mounted and test it out.
PC: You’re welcome. We won’t take credit for it. We had some little helpers of our own that thought you’d like it. They’re quite opportunistic when it comes to promoting our climbing business. Merry Christmas to you and everyone at the North Pole.
Santa: Merry Christmas to you! Keep having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about...but something tells me that you already know that ;)