Morgan Foisy readily admits that rock climbing scared her when she first started, and that it took a while for her to get used to leaning backwards off a tall rock wall.
“I’ve never been extremely comfortable with falling and having someone else be in control of that fall so it took me a while to really try to trust my belayer,” she said. “Once I had a few falls, I became more comfortable with doing that, and from then I slowly began to progress to become a better climber.”
Foisy, a rehabilitation assistant in Prince Rupert who originally hails from Penticton, has fully embraced rock climbing, saying it has helped her to develop in all aspects of her life, not just those directly related to her passion.
“It’s helped me in other areas of my life as well,” she said. “Just being able to overcome a lot of my other fears as well. It’s taught me that it’s ok to fall and get back up there and give it a second try.”
Morgan was introduced to climbing when she was 15 years old through an outdoor group at Penticton Secondary School. The group went to the Skaha Bluffs near Penticton. Foisy said that while climbing up the side of a rock face was fun, rappelling back down made her nervous.
“Having to walk backwards over the edge of a cliff was a bit of a rush and I knew after that experience that I would be hooked,” she said.
Foisy has been climbing ever since, primarily going to indoor walls before transitioning to outdoor rockfaces as she gained more experience and had access to better locations.
Moving to Prince Rupert has given her many more opportunities to climb outdoors since there are several people who are willing to take her to different locations to climb.
In the time since she has been in the city, Foisy joined the Devil’s Crag climbing gym, eventually becomming a wall instructor. After climbing regularly at the gym, she became became more involved with the facility and helping others learn how to climb.
In addition to the responsibilities of maintaining the wall and designing new routes, Foisy said that a large part of her job is to instruct people on how to climb. She said if someone comes to the Crag and they’ve never climbed before, she will give them the rundown on how to belay for others and how to climb themselves.
She says she enjoys helping people improve their skills on the wall.
“I’m really enjoying my job at the gym mostly because I get to try and recruit more people to come out and climb and teach others a little bit about climbing and explain why I love it so much,” she said. “It’s really neat when you see somebody new come out and try climbing and fall in love with it just as much as I have.”
Foisy’s passion for sharing the outdoors extends beyond her love for rockclimbing. In addition to her work at the wall, she has been fundraising to purchase an adaptive bike called a TrailRider and bring it to Prince Rupert to allow the people she works as a rehabilitation assistant to experience and enjoy the outdoors.
An adaptive bike, which can be pushed over large rocks and logs, allows individuals with disabilites to explore a trail, that would otherwise be too difficult for them to access. Foisy set up a GoFundMe page in March, 2017, and hopes that combined with other grants and donations, she will be able to purchase a second-hand TrailRider to bring to Prince Rupert.
It will certainly be a challenge, but she has climbed over harder things before.