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It's a been awhile since I've been out with my friend, Ben Nearingburg - great times on Mount King Edward - but he has just completed his incredible 5.5 record push to complete all the 11,000ers in the Canadian Rockies! This is an amazing feat and beats Nancy Hansen's previous record by 2 years. This would already be a helluva thing on its own but Ben made it much more difficult by refusing to use mechanical assistance (i.e. helicopter) for any of these peaks, including the most remote and his last one, Mount Tsar. He even managed to climb another very remote giant and one of only four Rockies peaks over 12,000 feet, twice - Mount Clemenceau. I really don't think most people can understand the level of commitment and pure drive an accomplishment like this takes. 6 or 7 years ago, Ben hadn't even worn crampons as far as I know! He practiced his climbing skills both indoors and out, including a ton of ice climbing last winter to prepare for climbs such as Robson and The Helmet. He made himself into an alpinist through sheer will and drive and practice.

 

All I can say is WOW. Congrats man, you've managed to do something that will be very hard to best, and in a world of very driven and competitive people you're one of the nicest mountain folks I know which makes your accomplishment even sweeter. You can read all about Ben's many incredible climbs and adventures at his website, BenThereClimbedThat.ca.

Sugarloaf Mountain (The Sphinx)

After completing the long approach trek up Healy and Whistling Passes and the subsequent ascent of Lesser Pharaoh Peak (don't forget about "Tiny" Pharaoh), Phil and I grunted our way back towards the diminutive and unofficial Sugarloaf Mountain. I haven't been able to find out where "Sugarloaf" comes from, but it's on enough references to be official enough for me to bag and claim it. devil

Pharaoh Peak, Lesser

With larch season comes great responsibility for the Rockies hiker, scrambler and photographer. The responsibility comes from having two weeks to take advantage of the very limited and short-lived phenomenon of what's commonly called, <dramatic music>Larch Season</dramatic music>. This season is sacred with those of us lucky enough to have felt its magic touch. For two weeks in September we are overcome with gold fever.

Lyautey, Mount

After cancelling plans for a trip up the Icefields Parkway due to a last minute weather change, Phil Richards and I were at a bit of a loss what to replace it with. We were wary about forest fire smoke as the views from Lyautey are pretty stellar. Staying home seemed like a cop-out so we settled on a 07:00 departure time from the Interlakes parking lot instead.

Quill Peak (+ Porcupine)

As Phil and I drove out of Canmore and towards Lake Louise, we debated about the weather and the smoke. Phil suggested that perhaps we should do Quill and Conical peaks instead of our original plan which was further north up the Icefields Parkway. These two had made the short list a few times already in 2017 but were always pushed off for one or another reason. (Note: this could be considered a four peak day as we also crossed over Porcupine and Porcupine NE2 on the way.)

Molarstone Peak (North Molar Pass)

Andrew Nugara had told me about a new peak he was adding to his latest guidebook already in 2016 in exchange for some of my photos in said book. He claimed that the views both on route and on the summit of this peak were some of the best he'd ever had in the Rockies - an opinion us peakbaggers seem to have alarmingly often about every new peak we ascend! :)

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