There are a lot of outdoor courses out there, but few are as excellent and comprehensive as Mahikan Trails’ survival courses. Just took their 2-day survival course last week. It is actually more of a bushcraft course. At the end of it we had built shelters, made whistles, wood saws, fishing nets, traps, learnt about native foods, fire craft, you name it. And we had a great time while at it. Highly recommended.
Rob Bryce’s new Hiking Jasper and Robson is a hiking guide with a twist. It has descriptions of 70 trails in Jasper National Park and Mt. Robson Provincial Park, but, it also comes with a DVD that has GPS data for all 70 hikes on it, including elevation profiles, Google Earth map overviews, and tracks and waypoints that can easily be downloaded to a GPS. If you are a technophile, or like to carefully plan your hikes, this guide is for you.
The guide is available at stores in Jasper, MEC in Alberta and BC, and soon some other stores in the region. Or it is available online at Canadian Rockies Books.
Indonesia is blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful volcanoes (they have also created some of the world’s most fertile soils, although the frequent eruptions have caused countless hardships for those living on their slopes). One of my favourite hobbies while I lived in Indonesia was to climb these peaks. The views from the tops are amazing, it is nice and cool up there, and it’s great exercise. Until now there was no single source of information on all volcanoes and other mountains in the country, but a couple of expats have recently launched Gunung Bagging – a website that details all the mountains in Indonesia over 1000m. Very inspiring!
Thanks to besthike.com for the tip-off.
The Monkman Pass Memorial Trail was opened recently in Northern BC. This 63-km long trail follows the route that Alex Monkman and his band of pioneers established in the 1930s. Most of this little-known, but spectacular trail is in Monkman Provincial Park, leading from Kinuseo Falls over the Rocky Mountains to Hobi’s Cabin on the Herrick River. There are very few facilities along the route – this is a true wilderness experience.
Details can be found in the Monkman Trail brochure.
The Times online just posted an article on the top 50 walks in the world, ranked from easy strolls to tough mountain treks. The Snowman trek in Bhutan was listed as the most difficult trek in the world. It indeed is no easy stroll in the park; supposedly less people have completed this trek than have climbed Mt. Everest. I can think of harder treks, especially those in the highlands of Papua, but it ain’t easy.
Interestingly, the Tour du Mont Blanc is ranked as the second most difficult. Now I really want to walk this trek too.
Sadly, no other Canadian treks, such as the West Coast Trail, are mentioned. It is certainly tougher and more classic than some of the listed treks!
There are several good resource sites for the world’s (and Canada’s) mountains:
Peakbagger.com The goal of this web page is to host the most comprehensive collection of peak lists in the world.
Peaklist.org This website is designed to provide definitive lists of summits organized around the concept of topographic prominence.Â Peaklist does not attempt to list every mountain in the world; rather it introduces original and complete research in specific geographical regions, contributed by a wide number of researchers.
Bivouac.comÂ Encyclopedia of Canadian mountains.Â It is run by members who are hikers and climbers who do a terrific job in building perhaps the best encyclopedia of mountains available for Canada. Membership costs $25 per year.
Two poorly prepared hikers were rescued in the Stein Valley yesterday. Luckily neither were harmed, but it shows that this is no hike for the faint of heart. it turned out they didn’t have appropriate clothing for the high altitude, didn’t tell anyone of their exact trip plan, and most importantly, didn’t have a map or GPS. The alpine area to the west of the Stein Valley is extremely rugged, with barely a trail. The area just outside of the park is more a route, that requires advanced route finding skills. Going into this area without a map and compass and/or GPS is a recipe for disaster.
My friend Bart Jordans has just published the second edition of his excellent guide to trekking in Bhutan: Bhutan, a Trekker’s Guide. This comprehensive book is the only guide dedicated to trekking in Bhutan. It covers all the major treks, including the famous snowman trek, often said to be one of the world’s most difficult treks.
We usually associate hut to hut trekking with Europe, or New Zealand. But in a recent article, National Geographic Adventure magazine did highlight two such treks in Canada. In BC, Wells Gray Adventures organizes multi day hut to hut treks – in summer on foot, and in winter on ski.
Meanwhile, Quebec offers the self guided grande traversÃ©e in the Chic Choc mountains. You’ll find well-appointed huts along the way, with shuttles available to ferry goods back and forth. Aside from that, the new Chic Choc mountain lodge offers luxury in the middle of the mountain range.
That is the question that the authors of a recent article on the new North Coast Trail (NCT; you saw the abbreviation here first!) asked. Their conclusion? It’s a close call, but they feel the scenery along the NCT is slightly better, and it’s more rugged. Think the WCT 20-30 years ago. This seems to be a truly hot trail. Combined with all the other attractions in the area (Cape Scott, Johnson Strait whalewatching, Sointula area) it will help put northern Vancouver Island on the map.