My name is Vern Dewit. I moved to Calgary, Alberta (Canada) in 1999 and since then I've fallen in love with the spectacular scenery and grand vistas that open up as you scramble up above treeline on a beautiful fall morning, or make your first cast on some back country stream as the sun throws its golden warmth on surrounding peaks. I hope that my trip reports and pictures will inspire you to push your own physical limits whatever those may be. You may be inspired to try scrambling - a sport where you climb mountains via non-technical ascent routes - or you may simply realize what's in your own backyard and go for a short hike somewhere.
Canada is the most beautiful country on earth, let's get out there and enjoy it. As always, make sure you know what you're doing! Many of the scrambles, canoe trips and backpacking excursions that I describe on my site involve back country navigation and other wilderness survival skills. Read the trip reports carefully and if you have any questions don't hesitate to send me an email.
My site has one goal; namely to get you out from behind your computer and into the great outdoors as fast and as safely as possible. Explor8ion.com is a site dedicated to hiking, scrambling, fishing, biking, canoeing and just about anything else I happen to get interested in over the course of my lifetime! My main focus recently has been in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in and around Alberta, Canada.
For the best viewing experience.
Explor8ion.com is best viewed in either Google Chrome or a Mozilla browser. It will also display in Explorer and other browsers but has not been optimized for those. (Sorry but I'm a Mac user... ;-))
At your own risk, you can check out some of my ramblings on my blog, but like I said, this is soley at your own risk! Another area that I'm passionate about is my photography. I offer a few tips in a short section on photography. I hope to expand this section over time. You should also check out the links page for a world of information on all kinds of trips done by my friends in the Canadian Rockies.
Like most adventurers and climbers, I've always wanted the excitement of the great wild, without the risk, something that I've concluded isn't realistic. I continue to engage in difficult and lengthy excursions as I get older and I have no desire to slow down - if anything I would like to do longer and more difficult trips as I age.
I am walking a delicate line between being a responsible father and husband and satisfying a deep and insistant need for the wild outdoors and adventure next to a dull and utterly meaningless career - one which I now realize I never should have chosen. I used to feel guilty for not being like others who get satisfaction out of doing low-risk things like cycling or going for a walk or a swim or a drive. Being in social situations drains my energy while balancing across a narrow, crumbling ridge or climbing a steep snow slope enfuses me with it!
As you can imagine, Hanneke (my wife) has many things to say about my love with the wild. Often she hates the mountains in equal amounts to my love for them. She tells me that I love tramping around in the bush as much as I love her and I can't argue the point - it rings of truth as much as I hate to admit it. She valiantly tries to understand - bless her. I know her position and it makes me feel even worse for needing it so much.
I've had acquaintances die in the mountains. I've had friends of friends permanently hurt in the mountains. Friends of mine have been directly involved in tragic accidents and had very close calls with injury and death while climbing. This brings up all the questions again. Why do it? Is it really worth it?
I'll state up front that while I love climbing the 11,000er's and plan on climbing most of them if my health stays reasonable, I have no desire to pursue the "list" of 54 that several people have completed and more are currently working on. If I ever do complete this list it will be more by accident than with any intent. I'm done with climbing 'lists' and simply want to get out and enjoy the Rockies as much as I can. Lists are good in that they give us something to focus on but I also love getting out and climbing stuff that nobody else cares about - or most have never even heard of!
While browsing the web I recently came across a four part series on the topic of the 11,000 foot (and higher) peaks in the Rockies which I thought were interesting enough to share here.
These links are all taken from here. Enjoy!
*** Updated January 27 2013 ***
I've been asked the question, "What camera should I buy?" a few times over the past year, so I thought I'd write a little bit about this and next time someone asks me I can simply link to this blog post! Yes. I am a wee bit lazy.
Any camera recommendations depend on the end use of the gear. In this case I am targetting my suggestions at the adventure-oriented photographer. I'll also throw in some suggestions for travel and specialty photography but this is not the place to go if you're a wedding photog looking for gear suggestions!
In order to make any wise decision about anything, you need to be informed. In the case of purchasing digital camera equipment this is no different. There are so many choices and opinions available, that you can quickly and easily become overwhelmed and end up buying crappy gear simply because it's easier to ask the Future Shop guy than figure all "that stuff" out.
Here's a crash course in the basics that make a big difference in digital photography and which equipment I will recommend. I know this seems like a lot to read through but I've kept it as basic as I can with links to my in-depth reading.
Now that I've completed the so-called "Kane List", I am entering a reflective phase of my summit chasing career. Other friends have also started completing summit lists. Between us we have stood on hundreds and hundreds of Canadian Rockies summits. Many people have congratulated me on this accomplishment and are wondering when the party is. If I'm 100% honest about it, I don't get this part of the experience. I don't think what I've done is an accomplishment that needs to be celebrated. Allow me to be blunt.
I am not proud of the fact that I completed the Kane list.
Let me explain.
First some background. When I first started climbing mountains I never even knew there was a 'list'. I just loved the views, loved the exercise and loved getting out with friends or the peace that comes with a solo trip on a beautiful summer day. When Dave Stephens and the RMBooks web board came to my attention I lost a little bit of that innocence. I believe it started fairly innocently but soon the atmosphere around the web board became quite competetive. Dave even started a spreadsheet to track everyone's progress on the list compared with eachother! If you know anything about Dave, he can turn any occasion into a competition - I think it's his American blood! :-) Since I'm of Dutch heritage, I stupidly agree to take on any challenge so I can't blame this all on Dave either. For about 4 years I still climbed mountains because I loved them, but also because I wanted to 'accomplish' something.
This was a mistake.