These cold frozen areas capture our imagination- what is it about inhospitable places that draws us to them? Is it because it requires us to adapt to survive in them? Is it because they are so outside of our realm of day to day experience that we can’t help but be inspired by such natural beauty. Or, in the words of one famous mountaineer, because “it is there”.
Or is it because it might not be there much longer….
To travel safely in these areas requires specialized training. One must read the glacier and guess at its secrets. Are there crevasses behind that bend? Will the ice hanging above my head (called seracs) calve and fall off and send me scurrying for cover?
A couple of organizations have prepared me for this kind of wilderness travel. One is the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (www.acmg.ca) . Although this kind of trip is outside of my typical ‘terrain guidelines’, the decision making processes they teach in their courses have held me in good stead while travelling in the mountains. Another is the Alpine Club of Canada ( alpineclubofcanada.ca). I began my mountaineering career with them on one of their introductory courses- they are a fantastic resource for connecting to the mountaineering community, operate a number of backcountry huts and run mountaineering camps annually for people of all ages and abilities. Check them out if you are interested in travelling on the glaciers of the Canadian Rockies.