2013 Recap (Sorta)

Overlooking Mummy Lake from the top of Pharaoh Peak (2700m), Banff NP
Overlooking Mummy Lake from the top of Pharaoh Peak (2700m), Banff NP

“I thought I knew what running was. I thought running was something you were supposed to do like this (performs something like an all-out sprint). But then I saw you running and I was like, ‘Wait, what the f*** is this s***?'” – My buddy Owen to me

Hello and welcome to what I intend to be a record of my experiences and reflections running mountains in the Canadian Rockies… Blogs always begin so awkwardly. Mountain running is the intersection of one of our most basic, fundamental abilities practiced in the most complex and tedious of environments. In this discipline, we prance over talus, bash our way up scree slopes, come as close as possible to flying on the downhills and scrawl immense lines and patterns across the landscape with our bodies and GPS tracks. I’ve always considered the mountains an arena for challenging oneself physically and mentally, and it’s obvious to me that they uplift and elevate the spirit as much as they batter the body. The art of traveling quickly through such terrain I find as graceful as it is masochistic or gruelling; it is the juxtaposition of all these qualities and diversity of skills required which attracts me to this sport. You might say that on a warm summer day, high on some summit somewhere shirtless, wearing just a pair of shorts and sneakers, that despite the blood, sweat and dust on my lips, all I can taste is the sublime…

To inaugurate this blog I wanted to provide an introduction and recap my first summer running mountains and backcountry trails in the Rockies, however that season is well over and twenty-fourteen is now upon me. Over the next few weeks I instead plan to post a three-part essay which delves into my transition to mountain running, some of the people and ideas I met which inspired me, and some of the projects which possessed my mind throughout that summer — for anyone who cares, of course. Otherwise, my chief aim is to chronicle my training and mountain running exploits, reflections on the sport, and drop a few pics of sexy mountain-porn each week.

Here’s a video which describes a bit about my journey as a mountain runner, produced by Tera Swanson for the Calgary Journal:

And in the meantime, peep these highlights from my 2013 mountain running season and a few sexy pics 😉 Many more to come…

  • Canmore Triple Crown (Ha Ling Pk., Rundle-East & Mt. Lady Macdonald) – 43km, 3000m vertical
  • Loop around Mt. Rundle – 48km, 500m vertical
  • Leg #3, Sinister 7 ultramarathon, Crowsnest Pass, AB – 35km, 1300m vertical
  • Redearth Creek >Shadow Lake > Haiduk Lake > Whistling Pass > Pharaoh Peak + back again – 50km
  • Mt. Temple summit & loop – 30km, 2000m vertical
  • Mt. Temple fastest known time – 2h18m to summit, 3h44m trailhead to trailhead, 1700m vertical
  • Meet Your Maker 50-mile ultramarathon, Whistler, BC – 86km, 3700m vertical
Floe Lake seen from a high col between Numa Peak and Foster Peak, Kootenay NP
Mount Bourgeau on left and Assiniboine in the distance, seen from Bourgeau-West, Banff NP
Overlooking high peaks of the upper Bow Valley from the summit of Cirque Peak in early winter conditions, Banff NP
Deltaform Mountain seen during an early-morning approach to summit and circumambulate Mt. Temple, Banff NP
Kiwetinok Lake seen from the top of Mt. Kerr
Kiwetinok Lake seen from the top of Mt. Kerr, Yoho NP
Alpine scenery on Mt. Cory, Banff NP
Night running along the top of Banff's local Sulphur Mountain, during spring 2013 flood/blackout
Night running along the top of Banff’s local Sulphur Mountain, during spring 2013 flood/blackout
View from the top of Mount Temple (3544m) during summit and circumambulation, Banff NP
View from the top of Mount Temple (3544m) during summit and circumambulation in August 2013, Banff NP
Stickin’ it to winter: a late-season ascent of Mt. Bourgeau, Banff NP
2013 Recap (Sorta)

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