Special to the Star
Jan Redford reveals perseverance and strength of character on her journey in End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage and Motherhood, a book that truly measures up to its title.
At the age of 14 she sets her sights high, writing in her journal, “I’m going to be a mountain climber when I grow up.”
Dreams of moving away from Ontario to pursue her goals are constant. She can’t wait to leave and head out on her own, leaving a somewhat dysfunctional family behind.
The story takes you on her travels from Ontario and then later out West where she becomes part of the climbing community and meets the love of her life Dan Guthrie.
Tragedy strikes when Guthrie and his best friend Ian are killed in Alaska by an avalanche, leaving Jan devasted and lost.
It is then that Redford is faced with another crossroad in her young life but her sense of adventure is never far behind. Throughout the chapters you will follow Redford on her brave and challenging life with glimpses of hardships and triumphs.
She was a true trail blazer during the 80’s and still is. Her inspiration really hits home when her best friend, Niccy, also dies doing what she loved, climbing.
Redford reflects, writing: “Life is short, Do what makes you happy.”
The mountaineering community is like one big, closely-knit family. As you read through the pages you explore many mountains and cliffs through their eyes and witness the strength, commitment and raw emotion that is the core of their being.
There are many more detours in Redford’s life along the way, but it was after Guthrie’s death that she hooks up with one of his best friends Grant and starts a family. At last a sense of security.
Soon she wrestles with the fact that she never really got over Guthrie and that while married to Grant, fears that her life is becoming that of a ‘Loggers Wife.’
She had set her goals on university and as her mother always said, “you can do anything you put your mind to Jan.”
Redford does fulfill those goals while being a full-time mom to her two children Jenna and Samuel. Redford manages to juggle motherhood, attend university and continued to climb.
“Show no fear’ is the mantra throughout as Jan appears to be tough as nails, but under that tough exterior is a fragile soul.
This 400-page book is like reading through your best friend’s diary. It’s a captivating, compelling and heart-warming story about a remarkable woman sharing her innermost feelings. Many life lessons to be learned.
Redford will be speaking before Dirtbag, a documentary about legendary climber Fred Beckey, at the Civic Theater on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. The book is available at Otter Books.