Even after falling nearly 200 feet in the Roger’s Pass, Adam Campbell still has a love for mountains.
The former Canadian national triathlon and duathlon athlete will be a keynote speaker at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival’s “Best of the Fest” world tour, scheduled for Kelowna Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Kelowna Community Theatre.
The fall, after Campbell attempted grab a loose rock, left him with four broken vertebrae and a crushed iliac crest.
Now full of titanium, his film In Constant Motion will be played during the festival. Campbell will share his story of the lessons he’s learned since the accident two years ago and his recovery process as part of his overarching theme to overcome adversity.
In Constant Motion was the winner of Best Mountain Sports Film at the festival.
“Since (the fall) I’ve been an advocate for safety in the mountains,” he said.
Campbell remains an active climber, runner and skier. Living in Canmore, he’s surrounded by the mountains.
“There’s an aesthetic beauty to them, but they’re also very raw, they create a challenge,” he said. “There’s a certain amount of danger to them.”
Mountains can hurt the most skilled and they can hurt beginners, he said. But they also give rewarding experiences such as hiking with family and friends. So he’s learned to slow down and appreciate the small things since his accident.
The 39-year-old’s philosophy now is to have a general appreciation of being alive.
“One is overcoming adversity but also a perspective shift from having (a) dramatic trauma,” Campbell said.
“Since then I’ve been an advocate for safety in the mountains,” he said. “I was very high performance minded, it was a little bit of a selfish endeavour… you’re trying to beat goals, beat times.”
There’s beauty to the mountains, he said.
“We’re surrounded by mountains, there’s an enticing beauty to them but they’re also just very raw, you really have to be in tune with them, they provide the challenge, you don’t have to create an artificial challenge with them…. there’s a certain amount of danger to them and I respect that,” Campbell said. “They hurt the best and they hurt beginners.”
Campbell’s also always had a competitive drive, competing in virtually every sport as a child while growing up in West Africa.
“I didn’t have TV or anything so I grew up for surfing and sailing and playing in the ocean,” he said.
From a young age, he excelled at endurance sports and enjoyed running laps as a warm-up for soccer practice.
“Early recognition and success and drew me towards it,” Campbell said.
He said the most interesting stories aren’t necessarily about high performing athletes doing “rad” things, it’s about finding inspiring stories about people challenging themselves no matter what.
Tickets are available at most outdoor stores around town or at the door.
The presentation starts at 7 p.m. and will also feature a performance by Canadian musician Noah Derksen.