Feckin' Trekkin'

Matt and Krista's Awesome Travel Blog

Month: August 2009

Toronto vs the Rockies vs the Seven Summits

I thought it would be fun to put a bit of context around what we’re getting up to next week, and where the Rockies fit in the grand order of things. They say a picture paints a thousand words, so I figure a graph has got to be worth at least 500.

I started off with Lake Ontario and the CN Tower as they’re two of the big landmarks back home in Toronto. Bow Hut is where we’ll be based next week, and Mt Balfour is one of the peaks we may end up climbing if all goes well. Mt Robson represents the highest point in the Rockies, for comparison. The Rockies always look pretty impressive to me, and yet Robson is smaller than any of the Seven Summits, and less than half the height of many of the Himalayan giants that we’ll hopefully get to see next year.

I then added in the 7 continental summits. The observant will notice there’s actually 8 spikes on there, as there’s a certain amount of disagreement over whether the Carstenz Pyramid is part of Australasia or not.

To round out the mountain comparisons I added in a few key points that we’ll be passing through next year (Kathmandu, Lukla airport and Everest Base camp) as well as Everest summit itself. I also added on our slightly audacious personal target, the summit of Lobuche East.

After that I marked up the maximum safe altitude for a helicopter, the cruising altitude of a Jumbo jet, and the edge of the troposphere. That’s right folks, Everest pokes up halfway to the edge of the atmosphere. Crazy.

Then, just to remind us that there’s a lot of lumps and bumps below sea level too, I added in the deepest ocean trench, the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific. Suddenly Everest doesn’t look so tall, does it?

Graph showing relative elevation of various mountains

Note: All elevations are in meters.

A Funny Feeling In My Tummy

So here it is.

Tomorrow Matt and I will be flying out to Calgary to kick off our adventure of Mountain Climbing. Needless to say my nerves are starting to act up a bit. My sleep last night was clouded with thoughts of our upcoming trip, whether I am physically capable of doing this, wondering what is in store for me. Even this morning I took longer than expected to get ready as I was stood in the bathroom day dreaming of the next few days.

I tend to underestimate myself before a big trip. Yes, I know it will be physically demanding. I am confident that I can do this! Having nerves before a trip is good right? Keeps you on your toes (and for some deprives you of sleep). Heh, I almost feel like I am reassuring myself here ūüôā

Questions floating in my head – Can I do this? How many people will be with? Will I be warm enough? How many snoring buggers will be in the room? Will there be other females? Will I actually enjoy this? Will I master the zipper on my pants? (pee funnel anyone?) Heh! Funny….

Matt could tell something was up last night as well as this morning.  He has been a great support and has eased any fears/reservations I have. He made a great point of reminding me that we should enjoy the next few days and that if nerves are to come into play, let it happen on Sunday night! Point taken.

One more trip to MEC today to exchange some gaiters and I will be good to go.

Just need to take a big deep breath and relax as we will have a few days of fun before leaving our Blackberries behind and trekking into the unknown.

Two Weeks ‘Til Canmore

This countdown requires a little bit of an explanation now doesn’t it?

Matt and I are going on a week vacation. Most couples tend to jet away to some all inclusive resort that have nice sunny beaches, all-inclusive drinks, clear blue oceans and are accompanied by your typical tourist attractions. Instead we are heading out west and into the mountains. Alberta is our sunny destination for a week!

View of Bow Hut near the Wapta IcefieldWe thought it would be a good idea to get a feel for this “mountain stuff” and hit up a company called Yamnuska as suggested by Himex Big Boss, Russell Brice. We have signed ourselves up for an Intro to Mountaineering course. Located at Bow Hut on the Wapta Icefields, just north of Lake Louise, our course will cover¬†climbing on snow, ice, rock & mixed terrain, glacier travel, crevasse rescue & navigation. In addition to all of that, we¬†will have the experience of summiting a few mountains (weather permitting) with an elevation of up to 10,000 feet. Once¬†the course is complete, we can add this onto our¬†climbing CV and submit our applications to Himex for next years trek to Lobuche (more to follow on that puppy).

We will be documenting the trip with pictures and video (trying out our new video camera along the way) so you all can see what we got up to.

So in a nut¬†shell, we get to chill out in a hut surrounded by¬†glaciers and mountains, meet cool, interesting, knowledgeable people who share the same sense of passion for the outdoors¬†and determine if we really like it all! Oh ya, let’s not forget, we don’t get to shower for a week. Hmmmm the smell of adventure ūüėČ

A Big Bust-Up – Update for August Training

The training for August has taken a bit of a turn. Unfortunately Matt has busted up a few toes over the long weekend! Gasp! This has slightly hindered any TTC trekking (for now), climbing (although he can belay me!) and any real physical activity.

It has been a test for Matt’s sanity over the past few days. It isn’t easy one bit for him to stop any type of physical activity. So far so good though. We managed to obtain crutches for him. The funny part is the tallest ones they have available go up to 6″6. The hand rest on the crutches touch my nose. Makes me realize how short I really am! On a positive note, my trekking poles have proved to be a great use as a cane for Matt in the city! Matt has since been able to actually fit his right foot into a shoe. An improvement from just a sock.

So, we have been presented with this challenge! I know that we will¬†be ready and raring to go for August 23rd!¬†HECK YES ūüôā

With all of this said, I am sending positive toe vibes out and hoping for a speedy recovery for Matt and his big toe.

Photography in the mountains

Photography Tips for the Mountains (AlpineExposures.com) – An introduction to film speed, shutter speed and aperture. If you typically use your expensive camera in Auto mode, you really should read this. Greater understanding of your camera’s settings will ultimately lead to a more satisfying photography session.

Better Mountain Photography (UKClimbing.com) – Article on composition, light and dynamics. As well as lots of inspirational advice this article includes some great example photos and quotes from world-renowned photographers.

Expanding your mountain photography style (AlpineExposures.com) Night time, macro, panoramas. Plus how to get great shots of your mates climbing. Common sense, practical advice throughout.

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