I remember being four years old and gazing out toward the mountains, imagining what it would be like to visit such an incredible place. Hiking became a big part of my life years later and I’ve had the opportunity to explore many parts of the Canadian Rockies. I even walked most of the popular sections of the Great Divide Trail over the years but never thought of hiking the entire trail. One day I woke up and that child-like fascination returned. What would it be like to hike the whole GDT? What secret, hidden places might it reveal? I had to find out. Continue reading “Great Divide Trail – A Walk Through the Canadian Rockies”
Blueberry Lake to Kakwa Lake – 130km
July 27 – Back to Blueberry Lake
After a brief break in McBride and Valemount I hitched a ride back to Blueberry Lake. It started raining not long after I arrived but I found the best little tree grove to hide my tent from the cold wet wind. Continue reading “GDT – Grand Finale”
Miette River to Blueberry Lake – 135km
July 19 – A Wet Walk in the Woods
I awoke to a wet world in Jasper. The trail starts off quite gently as it follows the Miette River up toward its headwaters. I knew I was in for a soggy few days when even the initial bit of road was saturated with water and muddy. Continue reading “GDT – Crossing Glacial Rivers”
Saskatchewan Crossing to Maligne Lake – 135km
June 2 – Washout
I left Saskatchewan Crossing on a crisp morning. It felt like September, not the beginning of July. The walk along the highway was actually quite enjoyable. There was no traffic at all. Continue reading “GDT – Christmas in July”
Field BC to Saskatchewan Crossing – 100km
I’ve had two wonderful days in Golden with Dan and Tara. We stayed up late talking about hiking, geeking out on backpacking gear, and just having a good time. It’s great to connect with like-minded people, especially such nice, generous ones. Tara and Dan are doing a great job of helping hikers and making the Great Divide Trail more accessible. I feel well rested, well fed, and ready to hit the trail. Here’s their sweet dog, Sitka… Continue reading “GDT – Through the Car Wash”
Rockwall Trail to Field BC – 75km
June 21 – First Day of Summer
Andrew and Nicky dropped me back at the trail at noon, which was actually really good timing as the rain had just stopped. Fresh snow dusted all the peaks to the north.
It’s a big climb from the highway up through an old burn but I enjoyed the mix of bright green young plants and dark charred trees. Continue reading “GDT – Rockwall Trail”
In northern BC there’s a rarely visited park that I hadn’t even heard of until a few months ago. My good friend, Jim, was putting together a trip to visit the asbestos mine (yikes!) where he used to work years ago and Mount Edziza Provincial Park just happens to be a stone’s throw away. To make the trip even more special, Jim invited Calder who also worked in the mine. They hadn’t seen each other since 1971! Continue reading “Edziza Spectrum Range Traverse”
Glaciologists estimate that the Canadian Rockies will have no glaciers remaining by 2050. That’s shocking for a landscape that was carved out by massive iceflows and is one of the world’s premier places to enjoy and explore alpine terrain. It also means big changes for the millions of people living downstream of the rivers fed by these glaciers. It’s hard to imagine how these cities will function and survive with only seasonal water flow.
That’s a bit of a round-about way to introduce an article about a course on alpine climbing, hosted by the guiding company Yamnuska, that I took part in during the latter half of August. Alpine Climbing is all about accessing these kinds of wild landscapes in as safe a way as possible. It’s a combination of mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, and efficient movement over rugged terrain. My motivation for signing up with Yam for this course was to experience this alpine world for myself and to gain the skills to become a more autonomous climber.
I attended my second Alpine Club of Canada General Mountaineering Camp last week. I loved my first time at the camp last year (despite snow and howling winds in July!) so I was excited to return again this year. I’m amazed at how the camp organizers manage to find such fantastic locations. This year our camp sat atop a small plateau, surrounded by tumbling glaciers and crashing waterfalls in the Purcell Mountains just north of Radium Hotsprings in BC.
The weather started off much as it did last year. Light rain turned into a downpour as we waited for the helicopter to arrive and fog threatened to close in. Very ominous. Fortunately, the flights got through without any trouble, taking us the long way around to avoid having to go up and over the glaciers in such weather. In camp the rain turned to hail, then snow.
Continue reading “Climbing in BC’s Purcell Mountains”
In a few days I’m heading to an annual event hosted by the Alpine Club of Canada. I first attended the General Mountaineering Camp (GMC) last year and I’ve been excited to return since.
Each year the ACC chooses a different location for the camp but it’s always spectacular, especially when you arrive by a thrilling alpine helicopter ride. We started the adventure on a foggy day and the helicopter got grounded in camp before it could make its return to pick up all the guests waiting down at the road. This just built the anticipation and excitement. When we finally made it to camp, flying low over rushing streams and cascading waterfalls, I could hardly wait. There were no trails into this pristine alpine area and getting there on foot would be exceptionally difficult, especially with a week’s worth of food and all our climbing gear. That’s one of the luxuries of the GMC.
Continue reading “Alpine Club of Canada Mountaineering Camp”