MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Summer 2018

SUMMER 2018 MLCM 33 words :: Trevor McDonald Midday at the Squamish Smoke Bluffs. A man dangles over the edge of a granite cliff, stabbing a crack in the rock with a metal bar, releasing detritus to the ground below. All manner of tools hang from his harness and they clang chaotically like a bizarre set of wind chimes as he swings around the rock. His clothes and his gear are dusty brown, bled of all their original colour and dyed from constant showers of dirt. In fact, the only non-earthy hues in the whole scene are in this gentleman’s hair – it’s a full spectrum explosion of colour. He looks every bit a lunatic. It only takes one look at Allen “Hevy Duty” Stevenson to surmise that this man is a character – Iggy Pop with a My Little Pony side- mohawk. Despite almost three decades of living in North America, Hevy still uses a nickname from his youth and speaks with a distinct English dialect, both leftovers from his early life among the row homes, factory work and coal industries of Yorkshire. “It was rough,” Hevy says, recalling his nights carousing the rowdy nightlife scene of the mid- sixties. “You had to have your wits about you in those days.” At the time, climbing in the UK was a fringe sport dominated by aristocrats, but the working class was taking over. Drawn to the adventure and colourful misfits of the scene, young Hevy was hooked. “I learned to climb on the Yorkshire gritstone,” he says. “That was the end of the row homes for me.” Climbing was bold back then, requiring total commitment often with marginal protection, and those early years instilled a purist ethos Hevy carried with him in search of bigger walls and new adventures – first to France and Italy, and then in the late 1980s, to the holy land of climbing, Yosemite, California. From early on, Hevy’s defining climbing pursuit became “new routing,” establishing climbs no HEVY DUTY “CLIMB, EAT, DANCE, REPEAT.” THE LIFE OF A SQUAMISH ICON. FREE SPIRIT “If you’re not climbing a first ascent, you’re just jacking it,” he once proclaimed in a popular climbing film. Slabby Squamish fun. MIKE CHAPMAN