Rock and Ice|June/July 2020
Vikki Weldon was supposed to be climbing around Leavenworth, Washington, and in Skaha, British Columbia, for a month this past spring. Instead she was working in North Vancouver as an ER nurse, 12 hours at a time, to aid in the fight against the pandemic.
As of April, her hospital had five cases of coronavirus in the ICU and another half-dozen in a covid unit, with another unit for suspected cases. The facility was well-prepared, but it is front-line work.
“If someone super sick comes in, you’re part of the team,” she says. “I’ve come in contact with it and that’s stressful. I’m lucky I’m healthy.”
Weldon had canceled her vacation 10 days in.
“I felt [like], I need to be there, I need to know what’s happening. I have all these skills I’m not sharing with people who might need it. I decided, I’m just going back to work. And I felt so much better, even though I traded guilt for anxiety. I felt like I was doing my part.”
Weldon, 31, grew up in Calgary in a family where all four children —two brothers, Chris and Mike, and a sister, Stacey—climbed. Their parents volunteered at events, helping with registration and belaying; the mother eventually became an IFSC judge and the father was heavily involved with Climbing Escalade Canada.
“My parents still climb in the gym quite regularly,” Vikki Weldon says. “We’re all still in it in some form.”
She lives in Squamish with her husband, Tom Wright, of the U.K.
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