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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.

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! :)

Muir, Mount

After a nice, relaxing day spent ascending Mount Strachan before chilling at Carnarvon Lake, Kaycie and I woke up early on Monday morning to tackle Mount Muir and our highline traverse to Weary Creek Gap. The idea was to take full backpacks up and over Mount Muir and down towards Weary Creek Gap which would be our home for another night.

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.

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