25 June 2014

first summit, 2014

Coming from the middle of the Canadian prairies, mountains are a novelty. Despite being merely three hours away from Alberta's portion of the Canadian Rockies, my hometown is completely flat, with no inkling whatsoever that there are mountains anywhere near enough to get to. I hold those handful of times in the year that I get to see them/breathe them/climb them as very precious. I try to keep them vivid in my mind for as long as possible, until the next time--which, in every case, can never come too soon.

Over the weekend, K and I went to Jasper. We set up camp. We hiked through and around Maligne Canyon. We swam in Lake Edith. We purchased a growler of beer from the local brewery. We even encountered a bear.

But, in all of that, it's always the mountain that yields the highest level of satisfaction. On the first day of our trip, the summer solstice, we climbed Roche Miette.

It was not an easy venture--it was downright painful at times. The scree at the top threatened to shower down on us; we burnt our faces (forgot the sunscreen) and our legs still ache. But what did we gain? We stood on the top of a goddamn mountain.

I love all of it: the sheer distance away from other people and wifi, the idea that the only things you own at that time is what you carry on your back, the distict smell of rock in the sun, the constantly changing view, the good quadricep pain, the feeling of intense satisfaction when you reach the top...

There's nothing like it.

Even so, I am no pro. I'm not even hiking-fit. This is only the second mountain I've ever climbed. But last year, after climbing Mount Lady MacDonald in Canmore, I fell in love with it. I needed it. And this one, though more difficult, was even more satisfying. I can hardly wait for the next one.

And what better activity is there to do with someone you like a real lot? K is the best mountain-conquering partner I could ask for.


  1. I now know exactly what you mean. Yesterday we hiked to Stanley Glacier. Not quite the top of a mountain, but high enough.