Our plans would usually start with a conversation over a few beers: ‘why don’t we go try to climb Alpha this weekend! Weather looks good!’ – and so we would go. 10pm at night, no prior planning or packing. Once the idea had been hatched we set off, frantically packing our bags. 'Will I need an ice axe? What about crampons? How much food? What about a tent? How long will this take? What's the route?". Planning a trip last minute didn't leave much time for planning. It's more fun that way.
We’d cross the cables at night, swaying precariously weighed down by heavy packs. Get to the other side and find out some of us had forgotten headlamps, or climbing helmets, or any manner of other important items. We’d hike in the dark, often lost, and stumble our way to Lake Lovely Water. On a particular trip, we arrived at the hut, and much to our surprise came upon three women in sun dresses, flower tiaras, and a full array of fresh fruit and meats and cheeses celebrating a birthday party. They didn’t like us – smelly, unapologetic, rude climbers. They liked us even less when we woke at 3am, clambered around the hut, and began hiking to get an early start at the summit.
Here, we’re pictured sussing out the actual climbing portion of the route, our motley crew perched high above the surrounding hanging glaciers and peaks. We climbed onwards, encouraging one another higher and higher until there was nothing left above us. We hooted and hollered, shared half a snickers bar amongst the 4 of us, descended back from the climb, took a dip into an alpine lake to cool off, then ran, and stumbled back down the trail to the cable crossing, hitch hiked with a local First Nations fisherman back across the river, then continued to run back to our car, the gluttonous taste of half-priced appetizers at the local pub encouraging us onwards.
It’s trips like these that I’ll remember for a long, long time. Not for everything that went right, but for everything that went hilariously and harmlessly amiss. Adventure is just poor planning after all, isn’t it?