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Climbing with Rick Mercer

March 3, 2009
The ACC crew with Rick Mercer, post climb.

The ACC crew with Rick Mercer, post climb.

One of the things I love most about being heavily involved with the Alpine Club is the myriad of interesting opportunities that get thrown my way to do something unusual, and meet someone interesting.  After initially thinking it was some sort of joke when I was contacted by his producer, Jenn, Frank, Reid, Gloria and myself had a great day out in Orient Bay a few weeks back with the crew from the Rick Mercer Report.  We managed to get Rick out for his first ice climb, and had a fantastic day working with him and his very impressive and professional production crew.

As much fun as it was, I was surprised at the amount of time and logistics that went into planning things and making the day run smoothly and safely.  The whole thing was more than a little stressful for me, as I didn’t want to be known as the guy that got Rick maimed or something. Developing the safety and emergency plans, and planning the (simpler than I thought) rigging took some time and necessitated a site visit the day prior, and a good chunk of time was spent prepping and inspecting all the general equipment and Rick’s personal gear for the day.

One of the promo shots for the show, me and Rick (CBC).

One of the promo shots for the show, me and Rick (CBC).

Fortunately, we had a stand-up crew helping, with Jenn keeping an overall eye on things (the lifeguard in her comes in handy!), Frank joined at the hip with the camera man, Reid belaying and Gloria working with the other crew members.  The day was a busy but productive one, and it was cool to be working with the star of one of the few shows I try to make a point of watching regularly.  While coaching Rick and filming his antics and comedy was fun, the best part of the day for me was finally being able to relax when we were all safely back in Thunder Bay, relaxing over a drink and having some time for small talk with the crew (and Rick), all really interesting people that have some fascinating stories and ideas.

A big shout out of thanks to Jenn, Frank, Reid and Gloria for all their help that day, Lawrence White for his seal of approval, and to Tom Stanley (RMR producer), and of course Rick and the crew for making it all happen.  It’s been cool seeing the TV spots promoting the episode this week, already putting a grin on my face.  It’s also fantastic to have the show here a second time, as I’d venture that northern Ontario has been feeling the economic woes since before this recession, and it’s great to have the exposure.

You can watch the show to find out how Rick fared, as well as what he got up to before and after his climb, tonight on the Rick Mercer Report on CBC, airing at 8pm EST.  If you miss the show, you can catch in online after the broadcast.

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