Meet Drew & Eryne. Geoscientists, owners of Statlu Environmental Consulting Ltd., small stream and soil scientists that own a small local firm in Chilliwack, and well, all around awesome people.
How often do you come to Old Yale, and why do you like coming here?
D: We probably come at least once every two weeks, sometimes weekly. We have two growlers we get filled.
E: I would actually say it’s at least once a week. But when the biking paths get built, we will be heading over here on our bikes more often. Right now it’s too hard to get over the highway. But soon!
How’d you hear about Old Yale?
D: Well, I’ve been in Chilliwack since 2000 and I can remember back when Old Yale was across from where Mt. Waddington’s is now. For a long time I can remember trying their Chilliwack Blonde, the Sergeants IPA and the Sasquatch. The Sasquatch was really good. But it was the growler fills that got me. I’ve been a regular since they did growler fills; fresh beer is so much better than bottled or canned beer.
E: I love having growler fills because you get to re-use your bottles. You don’t get this giant pile of bottles and cans you’re waiting to give kids on a bottle drive. It just feels more responsible.
What do you like about Chilliwack?
E: You know, I chose to come here. I could have been in a whole bunch of different places and it was because it’s a centre that people don’t know about. We have world class mountains; tougher mountains, better snow, fewer people and better access, less gates and less tourists. We are an hour and a half out of Vancouver, so we can go see shows. We can afford a house with a big yard. We can practice our technical work here. Our kid went to a brand new high school and is going to a robotics program at UFV, so his post secondary education is in town and we can save millions of dollars while he lives at home.
D: We have one of the best communities in Canada for bikes. I grew up in Vancouver and I used to come out here and we’d be driving through to go up the Coquihalla or down the Chilliwack River Valley, and there would be all these hop fields by the highway. Then it went away in the early 90’s, but now it’s coming back, which is really and it’s craft brewing that does that.
Are you a long time resident of Chilliwack?
E: I’m not, I’ve only been here 10 years.
D: I’d say that’s long term. I’ve been in Chilliwack since 2000, so that’s 17 years and if that’s not long term, than I don’t know what is.
E: I’m medium term, but I’m here for the long haul. I decided to put my roots down here. I really like it here. I didn’t think I would, when I was a kid I would come down here in the summer and it just smelled really bad and those slugs… I’m still terrified of those things.
How often do drink craft beer?
D: Every day.
E: No. We had wine last night.
D. We did. Ok, but on a yearly basis I would say I drink craft beer on 300-350 of those days.
E: Oh my goodness. Don’t put that on the Internet. We want to be professional.
D: No, there’s a medical reason for it. They looked at death rates for people that drink no alcohol; one drink a day; two drinks a day… whatever. And the death rate is the minimum for people that drink one drink a day, doesn’t matter if it’s beer, wine, hard liquor, anything. It’s the lowest for one drink a day. I’m a scientist so I try to follow the rules and the stats.
E: We don’t drink an unhealthy amount, we enjoy it and are responsible with our drinking.
D: One beer a day is pretty great.
What’s your favourite style/type of craft beer?
E: I hate hops. You don’t need to have it, so that when you drink the beer that you’re like ‘Oh my god, I just need a hop!’ You can balance it. I’m a fan of the sweeter beers, [OYB] made a pear saison and I was really disappointed that they wouldn’t let me just get a keg and take it home. I like those kind of beers.
D: In general, I really like the stouts and I have to say that Sasquatch Stout has been really consistent for the guys for a long time. Admittedly one of the best beers in Canada, medal winning. I’m also a fan of sours and I would come here and ask for a sour but they didn’t have anything yet, but then they came up with this Plum Porter Sour and I’m a really big fan. This is my new favourite beer.
If you look back at your life, is there one moment that stands out to you as a memorable moment (good or bad)?
E: We practiced for this question, he has an answer and I don’t. Drew is a mountaineer and he doesn’t like to toot his own horn, but he’s done some pretty incredible first ascents. One of his most memorable ones was climbing Talchako Mountain.
D: It’s a peak up near Bella Coola, I got invited to go there with some American climbers and one guy that is kind of a legend. He’s been climbing since he was 15 and he’s 94 this year. This was 10 years ago and it was this amazing few days up there. There was a huge forest fire burning across the valley from where we were and you couldn’t even see one side of camp to the other because of the smoke one of the days.
We started climbing this thing, it was the biggest thing I’ve ever climbed. We had to sleep over night on the route and we were on this tiny little ledge with things hacked out of snow and you go to sleep with this fire burning across the valley and you can see all the lights and occasionally someone coming in to heli-bomb it. Then in the morning, all of the smoke sunk down and you’re in a sea above it on this one peak sticking up out of it. It was pretty intense and a very big deal for me.
E: Then on their way down, Fred Beckey (climbing legend – see below) was waiting for them with dinner made. It was incredible experience for Drew.
Who is the most influential person in your life – can you tell us about how they’ve shaped who you are?
D: Fred Beckey. He’s a total legend. He’s past his climbing days now, but he’s still amazing. You hear all these stories about him being set in his ways, but being out in the mountains with people now is enough for him. And to come down the mountain and have him making you dinner was incredible. I’d have no idea he’d doing something like that. I was like ‘Wow, Fred must have been really worried about us!’
There’s also a guy named John Clarke, he would go out for trips for a month at time by himself. I got to meet him when I was just getting into mountaineering and he was a real inspiration. Just that spirit of exploration he embodied. I don’t think he could have done that anywhere else than in the mountains.
E: Fred Beckey is like the Wayne Gretzky to the climbing world. He came over to our house for dinner one night; and he’s kind of deaf, and he comes to the dinner table and yells ‘I Have Jam!’ and goes to his car to get his McDonalds jam packets he’s been storing.
And what about you Eryne?
E: There are two people. There’s my mom because she’s never ever had a… I’m not sure what you’d call it, but a ‘give a %^&$’ before it was cool to not have that. She just always was able to decide what she wanted to do and figure out how to do it. And because I was raised by her, she taught me that and I think that’s something that I think is pretty cool.
And the other one is my friend Vicki. She’s an RN in Prince George and I know her from some Search and Rescue stuff I did there. She has faced some challenges in her life and she’s done it with grace. We go every year on a hiking trip and this year are maybe going to spend 12 days on Mount Edziza and we are going to do a 90km trek and it’s going to be route climbing, but she brings an optimism. When you’re cold and you’re tired and you’ve eaten the same crappy dehydrated food for 4 days in a row and it’s raining and doesn’t look like it’s ever going to stop raining and you’re walking up hill for the next 12 hours… She just remembers that you need to hold onto the good things. We are physical strong enough and that we can do it. I really appreciate that about her. Sometimes its really easy to get sucked into the negativity and then she helps remind you about whats good.
What motivates you on a day to day basis?
D: Mountaineering is the thing that motivates me in the long term, but day to day at work, what motivates me the most is that I’m making a difference. When it comes to my clients wanting to log, or generate power, or build a mine; or it’s government, and whatever they are approving is the right thing. They are coming to me for solid science. What motivates me is not making sure they get what they want, or hugging a tree and saving it; it’s that balance of making sure the science is right, that I’m giving people good information.
E: That’s the part about being a scientist. We are pretty lucky that we were able to get educated and get to know these things and live our lives based on a curiosity we felt innately. There’s some validation when people want to pay me, now that they want to know what I’m curious about. You know you’re what’s good. You’re following scientific principals and procedures and vetted. You know how to do that and people need you to know that. Not only are you an important person because you exist, but now you are someone that people value and need. It’s kind of cool for just being curious.
What are you passionate about?
D: Climbing and science are my things.
E: No, no, no. You know what he’s passionate about and he doesn’t want anyone to know, but I’m going to let it out. Really, really, old, nerdy, bad science fiction novels. Like the 70’s and 80’s terrible sci-fi novels.
What makes you angry?
E: I’m angry about anti-vaccers and climate change deniers.
D: Science denial is so weird. You see the flat earth society and the anti-vaccers or the climate change deniers, but you look at science denial and drives you crazy.