With the recent death of Ueli Steck on Nuptse in Nepal, internet forums and Facebook posts are ripe with the old platitudes about "living your dreams" and "no regrets". I agree 100% that Ueli obviously lived his dream and now that he's gone, he obviously has no regrets (that's true for every dead person). Two excellent articles that I came across on the topic of "no regrets" in pursuit of your own dreams, include this one by Andy Kirkpatrick and this one by Will Gadd.
I've been asked many times for a list of my top 10 hikes, backpacking trips, scrambles, climbs and so forth. I thought about it for a bit and decided that it would be best to separate my top 10 lists into several categories, so here goes. Please note that I will update these lists as I continue to find "better" options. ;)
After coming so close to its summit the day before after a traverse from Tuff Puff, I knew I was coming back immediately to make a second attempt at Whirlpool Ridge's highest summit the very next day. I enjoyed a delightful (free) camp along hwy 11 the evening before, setting up my mid on the back of my truck for the first time, which worked out great.
While on our 15 hour, 2600m+ vertical day traversing from Mount Ernest Ross to Two O'Clock Ridge with Mike Mitchell, there were two other peaks dominating the landscape for most of the day. The first was Elliot Peak to the north, the second was Whirlpool Ridge to the south. I kept looking over at Whirlpool's north bowl which looked to have a very esthetic line going up snow gullies and chimneys to its summit.
After a longish outing on Mount Head a few days previous with a couple of smelly guys (no offense guys), I decided it was time for a nice hike in Waterton Lakes National Park with my wife for a change. She not only looks (a lot) nicer than those other guys, but she smells nicer too. Again - no offense guys.
On Friday, June 09 2017 I managed to summit Mount Head in the Highwood Range of the front range Rockies with Wietse and Kev Papke. Exactly ten years previous, to the day, I scrambled up Mount Head's southern neighbor, Holy Cross Mountain, also with Wietse. Also, almost ten years to the day, was the first time I became aware of the scrambling on Mount Head when some friends did it and reported back.
There was nothing to do after finally standing on top of Two O'Clock Peak but start our long descent towards Two O'Clock Ridge and the highway, far below and far in the distance still at this point. We were feeling pretty positive as we started down the summit ridge towards the obvious east descent ridge. It looked pretty darn easy and not too far. We should have known better!
In his trip report, Eric mentions that he side-hilled on the east side of Two O'Clock Peak before reaching the far ridge and then backtracking back up to the summit on blocky terrain. He also mentions that it might work better to access the summit directly from the Landslide col. Mike and I were about to find out as we slowly and painfully worked our way down the huge (and freaking loose) boulders and rocks down from the summit of Landslide Peak.
After leaving the summit of Ernest Ross it was time to traverse to the higher, and unofficially named, "Bridge Peak". The sun was out and our views were fantastic as we worked our way down the west ridge of Ernest Ross towards a very distinctive colored band of rock and the much higher summit of Bridge Peak above us.
After a long and difficult trip that ended only a few days previous, I was a wee bit apprehensive when Mike Mitchell asked me what I was doing on Saturday, June 3. Going down stairs still hurt, but I figured it was time to nail a summit so I said I was likely "in". Then Mike sent me the details. As they say, "the Devil is in the details"...
Buddha says that most of life's suffering is caused by an endless cycle of human craving for impermanent things and / or states of being, which is dukkha - incapable of satisfying and painful. By pursuing these things, we are caught in an endless cycle of rebirth, dukkha and dying, or samsara. Is Mount King Edward - or more likely all my mountain pursuits - my samsara?
On Saturday, April 22 I finally managed a long time goal of mine - skiing Mount Turner in Banff National Park near the Mount Assiniboine, Bryant Creek and the Spray River area. I knew already for years that Mount Turner could be skied or snowshoed and it was in the plans for nearly every spring over the past 5 years or so.
After a long hiatus from peak bagging and pretty much any activity in the Rockies, other than resort skiing, I was more than ready to join Eric Coulthard on a front range adventure to scout out the Waiparous Creek area of the North Ghost Wilderness on the eastern edge of the Rockies in Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park, between Kananaskis to the south and Ya Ha Tinda to the north.
With avalanche conditions at "considerable" in the alpine, we had several different options for the weekend of January 21 2017. We could ski something below the alpine, go xcountry or resort skiing, or hike something in the front ranges. Dave Salahub had been trying to con Wietse into a day scramble up Zypher Creek Hills (aka Miller Creek Hills) for a few years already.
After a hiatus from the mountains due to motivation issues and cold weather, I decided to return for an easy outing up Wolverine Ridge with a group of friends on Saturday, January 14th. I knew it would be a ridiculously short day, but what the heck! Sometimes all you need is a short break to get the mojo back.
Happy new year! 2017 holds some pretty nice adventures for me, I hope you are busy planning (or doing) your own adventures too this year. There's nothing quite like dreaming about green alpine meadows with sparkling lakes and blooming wildflowers while freezing your a__ off walking to work in January is there? What I want more than anything for this new year is to focus on simply living by living simply.