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In case you hadn't noticed, I've been spending a lot of time in David Thompson Country lately. There are reasons for this;

  • With Canada's 150th the national parks are crazy busy this summer
  • DTC has random camping options (free!)
  • DTC has some surprisingly remote and large mountains
  • The terrain in DTC is ideal for scrambling - dry and open forests and lots of hands-on slabby rock
  • Abraham Lake provides a stunning backdrop for many of the hikes and scramble, especially as it fills up in summer
  • Many of the peaks are unexplored or largely ignored by the online community making them feel more unique

So far my top scrambles in DTC would have to be Elliott Peak and Abraham Mountain due to their unique approaches and wonderful summit views. So if you're getting bored with the Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise area, or simply want to experience a new place in the beautiful Canadian Rockies, I highly recommend spending a few weekends in DTC.

Welcome to Explor8ion!

Welcome to my tiny little corner of the internet. This site is an online journal of my hiking, backpacking, climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, camping, biking and canoeing activities. This site is my personal journal - there is nothing on here that you should necessarily agree with or follow.

 

As always - be safe and see you sometime in the hills or on the water.

Bobac Mountain

Doing both Watermelon Peak and Bobac Mountain as a day trip is like having a really, really good meal, but in several mind-altering bites instead of over several hours. Even though the longer meal is usually the preferred way to enjoy a palette explosion, sometimes you want to enjoy all the same flavors of a long, slow meal in a few compressed, heavenly bites. And that is exactly what we got on this trip.

Watermelon Peak

I agree with Liam that it's important to break free of the lightweight, hustle bustle, go-as-fast-as-you-can mentality of our modern culture. That's what backpacking with my daughter next week is all about. That is not, however, what this particular trip was going to be all about. This trip was about overloading the senses with nature and wild landscapes in one long, compressed day while traveling as efficiently as possible.

McGillivray, Mount

After enjoying a Kane difficult scramble on Divide Mountain with Liz and Mike on Friday, I choose to go solo on a Nugara difficult for Saturday, July 8 2017. Mount McGillivray has been on my hit list for many years already. I first heard of it in 2003 when the Nugara brothers attempted it from the east. I don't know how many times I've driven past the mountain over the last 14 years, wondering why the heck I hadn't done it already?! It was time to find out.

Stelfox, Mount

When our plans for climbing Mount Lefroy fell through, Mike and I started looking at other options. After swearing that I was done with David Thompson Country for at least a few months, I found myself planning another trip to the area. Our plans for the Sunday and Monday were to scramble Mount Stelfox, spend Sunday night camping and then attempt to find a scramble route up Bright Star Peak, it's higher neighbor to the north.

Abraham Mountain

There aren't many published scramble reports on Abraham Mountain, but the few that are published make it sound pretty arduous and exhausting. I couldn't for the life of me, figure out why. It measures less than 11km round trip with about 1600m of height gain. There is no long approach and no mention of heinous bushwhacking either. How can it be such an exhausting trip? Only one way to find out!

Elliott Peak (Sentinel)

After staring at it while ascending 6 or 7 peaks in the Two O'Clock Creek area of David Thompson Country, I finally managed to ascend Elliott Peak solo, on Monday, June 19 2017. Mike Mitchell is absolutely correct when he labels this scramble as nothing more than a "hike on loose scree" - but it's his follow-up wording that maybe I should have paid a bit more attention to...

Whirlpool Ridge (Peak)

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.

Tuff Puff (Whirly Puff)

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.

Head, Mount

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.

Two O'Clock Ridge

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!

Two O'Clock Peak

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.

Sisyphean Life Lessons - King Edward II

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?

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