Sunday, March 31, 2019

Alternative Medicine: A dose of snowshoes and summit brews

I caught the dreaded man cold on Friday... but rather than whine and moan about it, I tried out some alternate therapy: a huge dose of fresh mountain air, and summit beer. I can now definitively tell you that this is NOT a cure. In fact, it probably made things worse. But regardless, what an amazingly more productive way to spend a Saturday than to be sick and in bed. Jas and I snowshoed up Commonwealth Ridge on a perfectly calm, warm, and sunny day, gaining over 700m of elevation to a summit ridge that looked like you were high up in the Swiss Alps.

We got back into the city mid afternoon, and went for some beers at Ol' Beautiful Brewing, where we would meet two dudes sitting at the bar. They asked us what we'd been up to for the day, and we showed them some photos from the peak. One guy goes, "Wow. You climbed a mountain today? I fell off a sidewalk on the way here." LOL. #accomplishments

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-12

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-1
The first part of the trek in was kind of a boring slog up thigh deep snow. Thankfully, we had snowshoes.

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-2
It was a steep trudge up the ridge.

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We would ditch the snowshoes on the ridge, and changed over to spikes as the terrain got more technical.

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-4

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-6

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-7

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-8

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-9

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-11

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-13

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-14

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-15
Summit Brews: Rad Seeker IPA; District Brewing Session IPA.

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-16
If you look closely, you can see a dude on the South Summit in the middle.

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-17

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-18

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-3
Jas claims to have been taking a photo of the mountains, but I suspect it was a selfie.

Snowshoeing - Commonwealth Ridge - March 2019-19
Beers from Ol' Beautiful.

Photo of me on the summit ridge, by Jas.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Calgary Tower Stair Climb

As we're officially now in spring, I'm doing some spring cleaning. You know how you pack away your winter boots and clothes? Yeah, I'm trying to pack away my winter belly until next year. But it's not going so well. My month long drinking fest known as Febrewery really did a number on my gut, and age related metabolic slowdown means I actually have to work at losing the flab. Boo urns. So when we were presented with a chance to climb the 802 stairs up the Calgary Tower this week, we jumped at the opportunity. It surprisingly only took 10 minutes to do, and probably could have been faster had I known it was only 51 flights of steps. Even so, at this pace, it was the equivalent of scrambling up a mountain in an hour. I hadn't been up the Tower in 20 years, so seeing these views of the city were a different perspective.

Calgary Tower Stair Climb-9
The glass floor of the Calgary Tower, looking back down to 9th Ave, nearly 200m below.

Calgary Tower Stair Climb-8
A different view of Calgary... this is Centre Street heading north, between the Telus Sky and Bow buildings.

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The multi-tiered building on the right is City Hall.

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The Saddledome.

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Calgary Tower Stair Climb-1

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Trip Report - Mt. Lady MacDonald in Winter

We took a scramble up Mt. Lady MacDonald in Canmore yesterday. 1200m of elevation gain on a beautifully warm and sunny mid-March day sounded like a piece of cake. But about 900m of gain in, there was a sudden and noticeable increase in foot stomping and angry hitting the ground with trekking poles in protest from the missus. She claims the snow travel was way harder than a normal hike, and that her legs were so tired she wanted to cut them off. LOL. It took a lot of coaxing and promises of 'We're almost there' and 'I'll buy you a bucket of ice cream after' to get her to slowly (and grumpily) drag her feet all the way to the summit ridge. #teamwork

Those who have done this peak before know that the crux of the summit is an extremely exposed ledge, with a straight drop off the north side, a steep sheer slide down the south face, and the thin ridge itself is a daunting traverse, requiring much care and attention. It is risky in dry summer conditions, and downright spicy when covered in some snow cornices. So for once, logic overcame my stubbornness to reach the ultimate high point, and I parked Anita at the start of the summit ridge.

When you look at the photos from the ridge, you may ask (as several others have), "What happens if you slip?" To which I respond with, "Don't slip." It may be the fastest way down, but certainly the least appealing option. :)

Also, I managed to forget my summit beer at home on the kitchen counter. When you don't beer at the summit, does it even count? #totalfail

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-10

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-2

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-1

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-3

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-4

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-5

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-6

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-7

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-15

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-11

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-14

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-13

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-8

Scrambles - Mt. Lady MacDonald - Mar 2019-9

Friday, March 15, 2019

Natura Vive Skylodge - The Million Star Hotel

I wanted to share photos from one of the highlights of our trip to Peru last October. We spent one night at the Natura Vive Skylodge, a 'hotel' consisting of 3 clear pods suspended off the side of a cliff overlooking the sacred valley, with no elevator. To get to our room, we had to climb a Via Ferrata straight up a cliff side for 1300ft while carrying our bags for the evening. The views from the 'room' were phenomenal, especially in the evening, making the claim of 'The Million Star Hotel' very apt. See the milky way shot below.

[interlude] And because I know you're going to ask, yes, there was a partitioned off bathroom in each pod, that had a toilet seat set up over a bag lined bucket. When you finished your business, you tied up the bag (tightly) and dropped it down a chute that led to a bin underneath your pod. The thought "What if I need to poop?" never even crossed my mind when we booked this adventure, but when I posted a photo of this place to instagram, that's all anyone asked about. Weirdos. [end-erlude?]

To check out of the hotel, we ziplined down a series of 7 lines back to ground level. Are you sold yet? Is this something you'd be up for during a visit to Peru? Do you have a crippling fear of heights? Life advice: face your fears. What's the worst that could happen? Oh right, your fears could punch you right in the face... which in this case is a metaphor for "a wee bit of death." But it's mostly safe. There's harnesses, carabiners, fixed lines, and even some used gardening gloves to protect your delicate skin during the climbing and ziplining. So thoughtful. And I bet they might even inspect the ziplines every once in a while. Or not. Whatever. YOLO.

Okay, go look at the photos and decide for yourself. I wanted to post a GoPro video of me on a zipline... but I couldn't figure out how to work iMovie cause I'm dumb.

K, bye.

Peru Skylodge-18

Peru Skylodge-5

Peru Skylodge-21
These would be our rooms for the evening.

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Peru Skylodge-1
As they say, Safety Third. (1st: Get the shot. 2nd: Have fun).

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The night sky view from atop our pod for the evening.

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Breakfast in the kitchen pod.

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Anita navigates between pods.

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The interior of the pods looks like this.

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