Kamloops mountain climber overcomes mental health challenges with help from biggest rock, her dog Ernest | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops mountain climber overcomes mental health challenges with help from biggest rock, her dog Ernest

Trinica Teskey loves spending time in the outdoors with her dog Ernest. Rock climbing and exploring the mountains around her home in Kamloops is helping her heal from past trauma.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Trinica Teskey
July 05, 2021 - 7:00 AM

Rock climbing and exploring the mountains around her home with her dog is helping a Kamloops woman heal from past trauma.

Trinica Teskey and her dog Ernest can often be found exploring the mountains in the Kamloops area. Teskey is an avid rock climber, a sport she began doing five years ago. Not only has rock climbing strengthened her physically, the sport has strengthened her emotionally.

Teskey has been busy working through past traumas these past few years. Rock climbing in remote places, with her supportive dog Ernest keeping watch, has proven to be her best mental health tool. 

“Climbing helps me prove to myself that I want to be alive and I can overcome anything,” Teskey said. “It clears my head and makes me feel hopeful about my future. Having my mind and body connect together makes for the flow I’m trying hard to accomplish in life, and finding that flow to overcome the rocks is life changing.”

Part of the joy she finds in rock climbing comes from the adrenaline and endorphins released doing the physically challenging sport. Being alert and engaged in the activity keeps her mind off of stressful thoughts.

Trinica Teskey and her dog waking up in the mountains around Kamloops on one of their many outdoor adventures.
Trinica Teskey and her dog waking up in the mountains around Kamloops on one of their many outdoor adventures.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Trinica Teskey

“My life is full of fun and adrenaline as I climb, boulder and mountaineer,” Teskey said. “The views I get to see when I touch that anchor at the top are breathtaking. I have a personal connection with every rock I am trying to conquer. Going outside and having that adrenaline rush reminds me how lucky I am to be alive. I can’t seem to find the same keep of peace in the city. I crave touching rock faces, they are solid and ancient.”

She says her biggest rock is Ernest, an American bulldog she named after her late father.

“He keeps me feeling safe, loved and never alone,” Teskey said. “I spent a lot of time training him to be safe around cliffs and canyons, and to not walk on equipment. He watches me climb and will get vocal if I peel off the rock. Ernest is very affectionate, well trained and very much needed in the hills for my protection. He’s my rock when the mountains aren’t there to save me.”

She hopes to find a mentor and train up for the multi-pitch climbs in Squamish. These include lead rope climbing, bouldering at extreme heights, speed climbing and free climbing. She does not have a favourite style, saying she loves the freedom of all of it.

She plans to travel all over Canada taking on all climbing locations and challenges. However, she will not be going anywhere without faithful Ernest.


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