Doing the Chief one inch at a time Quadriplegic climber gains film grant to try assent By Chris Woodall Brad Zdanivsky has won a grant from the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture than will help him attain his goal to scale the Squamish Chief this summer. The 21-year-old Zdanivsky is quadriplegic. He hopes to film his climb as a documentary inspiration to other handicapped people to dare to try the impossible. The mountain culture grant will help fund a "trailer," a five-minute short film that he'll use to sell the idea of a full-length film to the appropriate movie producer. Zdanivsky has been rock climbing since his teens, but an early morning car accident outside Prince George that broke his neck left him with very little hand function. He was 18 then. He has been modifying climbing harnesses and other equipment to suit his condition and has been giving it a workout in a gym. "We can't have any problems," he says of the daunting climb up the bare face of the Chief. What his gear will do is enable Zdanivsky to literally yank himself up the 600-foot sheer rock face... one inch at a time. "It will take four or five pulls on a ratchet" for each of those inches, Zdanivsky says. He hopes to climb four rope lengths (60m each) in a day over the four days he estimates it will take for the gutsy accomplishment. He won't be alone, but will have a three-person team with him. He'll also have cameraman Dan Mannix of Eldorado Films on a parallel climbing rope to capture it all. "He's the only person qualified to do this sort of thing in the Lower Mainland," Zdanivsky says. It will take a good deal of money as well as nerve before he ends up with a finished documentary. "I didn't realize how expensive it would be," Zdanivsky says. The $3,000 grant from the Centre for Mountain Culture will have to be topped up by as much as $50,000 to edit and polish filming done of the actual climb, including additional footage to tell the tale properly. If it weren't for the car accident, Zdanivsky would've already had the Chief notched. "Two weeks before the accident we were supposed to do it, but it never happened," the adventurer says. He'll undertake short climbs early this summer, with the full-on attempt aimed for mid-August, when weather should be best for it. "I'm still debating what parts of the Chief I'll climb, but one way or another we'll end up on the Grand Wall," he says of the great sheet of rock just south of Squamish. "There's not a lot of able-bodied climbers who'd try that," he says of the job ahead. The desire to stretch himself beyond the confines of his wheelchair came from a disappointment in friends he'd met in rehabilitation with disabilities who tended to "drink their faces off in feeling sorry for themselves," Zdanivsky says. Some of his inspiration has come from his sailing in Martins and Sunbirds with the Disabled Sailing Association. Special gear allows the disabled to navigate the sailing craft in competition. "There's some guys who have no movement at all who can suck and blow on straws hooked up to a computer that turn the winches on and off," Zdanivsky explains. Those guys aren't out there to be pretty faces. "They kick my butt all the time!" he says of the level of competitive spirit among the sailors. As for himself, Zdanivsky is a computer science student at Langara College. "It's probably one of the key jobs I can still do."