Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Year in Photos - Pandemic, Season 2

Another year is in the books, and as we prepare for Pandemic season 3 (the TV show that no one asked to be renewed), I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past 365. It seemed unimaginable that things could get worse than 2020, but that didn't stop 2021 from proclaiming, "Hold my beer." Between endless news cycles of climate crises, the continued erosion of public belief in science, and ever worsening societal division over Covid, masks, and vaccines, it was easy to fall into a deep well of despair over the state of pretty much everything.

But even in this darkest of years, I did manage to find some temporary moments of light, in the company of friends with a shared passion for getting up at ungodly hours to trudge up piles of rocks. I spent every free moment chasing adventures in the mountains, once again setting all new personal bests over last year's stats:
  • bagged Mt. Smuts, one of the most difficult scrambles in the book
  • 53 different peaks summited in the Rockies
  • 165,687 ft of total elevation gained
  • 593 kms trekked, hiked, and scrambled
  • 360 hours and 15 minutes total time spent bashing up peaks (21,615 minutes)
  • 150th unique peak summited (cumulative) in the Rockies during the summer
  • Temperature Range: bagged summits in as low as -27 degrees, and as high as 36 degrees C
  • 55 total days spent in the mountains
Aside from chasing summits, the rest of year consisted of working in a new and challenging role in Covid response, teaching my first in person photography class in a long time, taking my first sets of flights (one for leisure, and one for work) since 2019, catching a Raptors game in Toronto, throwing out my back rolling out of bed (but then foolishly deciding to climb a mountain that day anyways), watching a lot of prairie and mountain sunrises, drinking 159 different craft beers, and otherwise napping on the couch like the 90 year old I am.

It was hard to find a variety of photos that weren't just entirely mountains, but here it is... my annual mosaic of the year in photos.

May 2022 be a little less Covidy, and a whole lot more civil for us all. Cheers, friends!


Previous annual mosaics: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009

Monday, November 29, 2021

Elbow Falls

The original plan was to bag another peak on Sunday, but a change in the forecast to a full day of rain dampened our enthusiasm, and we opted to forego a summit adventure. I really wasn’t keen on being drizzled on for 7 hours while slogging up a peak, so instead we played local tourist and checked out Elbow Falls near Bragg Creek. Normally these falls would be overrun with people, but owing to the cooler weather, and the fact that we went as daylight was starting to fade, meant that we had it mostly to ourselves.

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I like how this shot makes it look like the falls just pour into a contained pool.

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"Art" (or in this case, an accidental click of the shutter while moving the tripod).

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Trip Report - Mt. Elpoca East Ridge

I can’t find the words to describe how beautiful this minor ridge in the Highwood Pass was this past weekend. Even despite the cold biting 60 - 80km wind gusts, and some steep postholing en route to gaining the ridge crest, we agreed it was a super fun adventure. Check out the photos to see some of the interesting terrain we got to tromp around in.

Elpoca East Ridge - Nov 2021-75

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Traversing this steep snow slope just below the ridge crest was probably the crux of the day.

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Eighty Eight Brewing Co's Hydration Station Hazy Pale Ale with Electrolytes. Almost too cold to finish, but still super yummy.

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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Date Night at Sensei Bar

In lieu of the mountains, the missus and I went on a date night and we checked out the newly opened Sensei Bar, just off 17th Ave. They served up an interesting mix of cocktails and asian inspired share plates.

The place was small and cozy, and they had us seated beside a couple of dudes. We weren’t intentionally eavesdropping, but they were loud so it was hard to drown out the one dude constantly peppering his partner with questions about the food. “What’s a kohlrabi?” “What’s char siu?” “What’s gochujang?” "What's matcha?" “Is this the bison?”

Now if you haven’t eaten much asian cuisine, I’d get why you might not know what char siu or gochujang are. But isn’t kohlrabi a fairly standard item at the local grocery store? Has this guy legit never wandered through a produce department before?

Time for a poll: do you know what kohlrabi is (eg: is this guy in the minority), or am I just expecting too much produce knowledge of others?

Sensei Bao Bar-3
Muddle Plum cocktail - Sloe Gin, Brandy, Hibiscus, Aperol, Lemon, Egg White

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White Grape Mojito - Pisco, Rose Water, Honey, Lime, Mint, with some infused citrus smoke.

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This was the aforementioned kohlrabi. It was diced into cubes, lightly picked/ marinated, and served alongside some sweet purple yam puree and a light bit of soy sauce.

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Potato crusted miso cod served with snap peas, tartar sauce, and crispy coconut polenta and cilantro oil. The purple dollops were described as pomme puree, but I think they were just purple yam puree again.

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Pork and Shrimp Truffle Dumplings served with chilli oil and anise shoyu

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Two Baos - Tempura maitake mushrooms (with miso pineapple mayo, kimchi, tarragon carrot, and cilantro) and Ebi Prawn (with kohlrabi, anise sweet soy, scallion, and sesame)

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Cucumbers served in a gochuchang type sauce, with black and white sesame seeds. I don't remember the exact details, but it was yummy.

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For dessert, we had the 'lollipops', which were lychee cheesecake lollis coated with pop rocks, served alongside matcha coated sponge toffee, a dollop of tapioca, and then some gooseberries. This dish was supposed to be whimsical, but it felt more non-sensical than anything as the flavours didn't really pair well or complement each other. But pop rocks are always fun.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Thunder Mountain

After losing an hour's sleep, Anita and I headed out bright and early on Sunday morning to the Crowsnest Pass area, and scrambled up the long and beautiful ridge of Thunder Mountain. With the bright blue skies, warm sun, and generally mild wind, everything about the adventure felt invigorating, and the views were epic. But if you asked Anita, she might have used some other choice four letter words to describe the outing. She was tired, grumpy, and disinterested most of the day... but still soldiered on all the way to the summit.

Scrambles - Thunder Mountain - March 2021-20

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Summit Brew: Rural Routes Brewing It's Prounounced Chow-dah New England IPA. Delicious thirst quencher for a long day in the sun.

Scrambles - Thunder Mountain - March 2021-12
Mr. Tubby gets to see the summit too. Miss you tons, buddy.

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