13 Adventures from 2013

We’ve been on way more adventures and micro-adventures in 2013 than we can count. Some we’ve written about here, some we still plan to write about and others we haven’t decided about yet.

We decided to pick our top 13 Adventures from 2013, so here they are in chronological order. Let us know in the comments about your own favorite adventure from 2013.

1. Winter Camping on the summit of Iago Peak:

Iago Peak

Quite a few of our most memorable adventures have been the result of some serendipity. We ended up on Iago Peak after our original plan had backfired due to another area we wished to visit being used by a cacophony of sledders. Iago Peak overlooks the Coquihalla Highway. On this night it was shrouded in fog and the lights from the various rest stops along it illuminated the fog from below creating the scene above.

2. Ice Climbing near Canmore, Alberta:

Guinness Gully

In February we went Ice Climbing in Canmore for a week. In this picture Spring is pictured climbing one of the daunting ice pitches in Guinness Gully. By far our most memorable moment from this trip was ice climbing in the bottom of Kings Creek Canyon. On that day snow was dumping from the skies and as we climbed the ice walls at the bottom of the canyon we would intermittently get hit with avalanches of loose snow that had built up on the bluffs above before reaching critical mass and releasing down on us. It was like being shaken up inside a snow globe and made the ice climbing that much more adventurous.

3. Our first experience with AT Skiing, a Baptism of Fire:

Skiing Garibaldi

We chose a rather large objective as our first time out on our new Alpine Touring ski setup. We planned to ski up to the base of Atwell Peak and then climb to its summit before skiing out. Poor conditions stopped us from reaching the summit of Atwell though. The return trip covered over 34km’s with ~2000m’s of elevation gain. We’d definitely broken in our brand new ski boots by the end of that adventure.

4. Sport Climbing at Skaha:

Skaha Climbing

Over the Easter long weekend we joined some friends on a road trip to visit Skaha, a sport climbing area near Penticton. The weather was perfect and it was our first experience with sport climbing and clipping bolts rather than placing traditional climbing protection like nuts and cams. The area is amazing and we only scratched the surface of the climbing there over our 3 days. We plan to visit Skaha now at least once a year.

5. Camping on the summit of Empetrum Peak:

Empetrum Bivy

Another moment of serendipity. We ended up on this summit when we checked the forecast and realized the freezing levels were too high to attempt some more difficult mountaineering objectives. The high freezing level and warm temperatures allowed us to sleep out under the stars in our bivy sacks and stare out at the impressive Black Tusk, an appropriately named tower of dark volcanic rock.

6. First multi-pitch climb, Star Chek:

Star Chek

The picture says it all. This was my first multi-pitch climb. It’s low in difficulty but high in intensity. It follows the prow of an Arete straight out of the roaring rapids of the Cheakamus River. It’s a climb I know I will repeat again and again.

7. Camping on the shoulder of Pelion Mountain:

Pelion in the Tantalus Range

This picture makes up our 3rd moment of serendipity in our Top 13 Adventures of 2013. We had planned to summit the prominent peak in the background, Mount Tantalus, but we lost the confidence for completing the climb when we reached the shoulder of Pelion. We ended up camping on that shoulder and had an amazing night watching the sun set and then the moon rise. We will be back to reach Mount Tantalus, I guarantee it.

8. Reaching the summit of Welch Peak:

Welch Peak

The climb and scramble to the summit of this peak stands out as our favorite from the last year. The ridge to the summit follows a ridge crest that gets increasingly narrower and narrower until you are literally walking on a knife edge of rocks balanced on top of each other. Fun and exhilarating. We were happy to be able to share that experience with two of our friends.

9. Exploring Athelney Pass:

Athelney Pass

It was hard to pick just one picture from our trip to Athelney Pass. This was definitely our favorite trip of the year. As we hiked in and passed below gargantuan glaciers thunder boomed from storm clouds overhead. That night, in the heart of Athelney Pass, we had a campfire with friends under a starry sky as more thunder and lightning flashed in the distance. On our first day there we visited 3 peaks nearby under perfect conditions before settling in for our 2nd night. On our 3rd day we hiked out under blue skies. We will definitely be back to this place to explore some more in the future.

10. 6 days in the Tantalus Range:

Canoeing Lake Lovely Water

This trip humbled us. The Tantalus Range is the most raw and rugged range of mountains we have visited to date. A highlight for us was canoeing around Lake Lovely Water on our first day, looking up at the many peaks we hope to visit in the coming years.

11. Our first experience with Canyoneering at Monmouth Creek:

Monmouth Creek Canyoneering

We’d tried a similar activity called “gorge walking” before, but that was nothing compared to Canyoneering at Monmouth Creek which involved rappelling a series of tall, flowing waterfalls and jumping between rock features to land in pools of water to break our falls. It was intense and amazing. We plan to explore many more canyons in the future now.

12. Rock climbing at Leavenworth:

Leavenworth Climbing

We went on another climbing roadtrip to the bavarian town of Leavenworth in October. Not only does this place offer worldclass granite climbing, in the month of October the town of Leavenworth also celebrates Oktoberfest. By day we climbed beautiful granite cracks and slabs and by night we had our fill of sausages and beer. Perfection! We also got to try out Bouldering for the first time. We loved it so much that we started Bouldering when we returned to Squamish and subsequently joined the towns indoor Bouldering Gym to get stronger at it for the next climbing season.

13. Ice Climbing on the Mount Baker Seracs:

Mount Baker Seracs

Again, the picture says it all. This was a surreal, otherworldly experience. At the base of Mount Baker, a volcano in Washington State, USA lies a long field of broken and contorted glacier ice. We went here to try out climbing on this different type of Ice. Unlike waterfall ice which forms every year in the winter and then melts in the summer, glacier ice likely started it’s life as a snowflake at the top of Mount Baker and over countless millenia worked it’s way down the side of the mountain under the pull of gravity. Lowering into these crevasses of broken ice and listening to the echoing creaks as the ice walls shifted and rubbed against each other was an experience in and of itself, but then we got to climb this ice with axes and crampons to get out again. It was amazing! Another adventure we will be sure to repeat every year.

So there you have it. What are your best memories or adventures from 2013?

Author: Leigh McClurg

I grew up in County Dublin, Ireland and moved to British Columbia, Canada with my wife in 2010. I fell in love with being in the Backcountry and Mountains that are all around me here and try to spend all of my free time exploring those wild places. My main goals are to chase happiness, see as much of this planet and its cultures as possible and grow every day through knowledge and experiences.

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