5490829.jpgBy Adrian Chamberlain

It seems amazing to me Margo Talbot could even survive the sexual abuse, rampant drug use (acid, mushrooms, cocaine) and soul-crushing depression described in her new memoir, All That Glitters.

Yet she did. Talbot is a survivor and a fighter. Not only that, the 47-year-old went on to become one of Canada’s top ice climbers.

She has excelled in this extreme and hazardous sport, even leading South Pole expeditions.

Her book commences with a description of herself five years ago. Talbot is standing atop Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica, in -50 C temperatures. She contrasts the remarkable victory (“I was overcome by a sense of inner joy”) with her situation in 1992, when cops dumped her in a cell after being busted for selling a small amount of marijuana.

Talbot is coming to Victoria to give an author’s talk and sign books at Robinson’s Outdoor Store (Tuesday, 7 p.m., at 1307 Broad St.). For years, she’s been giving presentations on the sport of ice-climbing. But ever since the summertime publication of All That Glitters (Sono Nis Press) – her first book – she’s started speaking publicly about her traumatic early years. Her honest chronicle of years of struggle followed by redemption has led her to ever-widening audiences, including mental-health conferences and correctional centres.

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