Monday, August 1, 2016

Inga Petri is sharing their location

Inga Petri is sharing their location at the MapShare web site:


we are about to fly in, follow along at my MapShare!

Do not reply directly to this message.

To learn more about MapShare and the DeLorme inReach two-way satellite communicator, visit or

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Iqaluit's Alianait Arts Festival magic

While attending Alianait I was generously hosted by Heather Daley, the festival's director. It was a pleasure to experience the magic of this festival that focuses on bringing circumpolar, Inuit and other indigenous artists together with select Southern Canadian musicians. The festival includes professionally produced shows at the Nakasuk school auditorium's stage, musical jams, theatre, and workshops. Many musical genres are represented from fiddles and accordion, to throat singing, blues, rock and more.

It runs over Canada Day so that its big top becomes a focal point for this community celebration.

I was invited to post-show artist get-togethers and experienced joyous musical collaborations. Artists coming from Nunavut, Greenland, Northwest Territories, Mongolia, Iran, southern Canada mingled together at parties and invariably music ensued, with a great deal of curiosity and exchange about each others styles and vibes.

This video of Simon Lynge jamming with the assembled crew shows merely one of many highlights.


REND from Edmonton played two great shows, including
Canada Day show in the big top. Representing alternative rock.

Members of Sedaa share their music mixing Inuit drums and
their style of throat signing to great delight of party-goers.
World fusion jam made a truly magic soundscape.
Sedaa, Barrule (Isle of Man), Sylvia Cloutier (Nunavut),
Tiffany Ayalik (Yellowknife)

Mongolian musician explains their style of throat signing
to Inuit and southern Canadian musicians.
Blues jam on stage: The Tradeoffs (Iqaluit),
Quantum Tangle (Grey Gritt and Tiffany Ayalik, Yellowknife),
The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer (Vancouver)

Iqaluit, Nunavut in summer

I spent 6 days in Iqaluit, Nunavut during the Alianait Arts Festival, from June 29 to July 4. Summer on the tundra and on Frobisher Bay is a remarkable experience.

With Nunavut's much shorter summer than the one I've been enjoying in the Yukon - at similar latitudes - there is a sense of urgency to take in the sun, be outside, participate. Here are a few impressions of the landscapes and town. (Simply click on an image to see it in larger slide show mode.)

The big top flew the Pride flag for the first time. It was a much
appreciated gesture after the Orlando massacre in Florida.
A stunning sunrise around 2:00 am. The nights don't get
dark this time of year, as the sun merely dips below the
horizon for a short while.
Panorama over the Road to Nowhere toward Frobisher Bay

The draw of the Big Top after the Canada Day Parade
Dynamic skies over the tundra beach at Frobisher Bay.
Frobisher Bay panorama showing the ice breaking up. The first icebreaker of the season was expected within a few days,
clearing the way for the all important Sealift later in July.
Beautiful light around 2 in the morning.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Juan de Fuca trail, Vancouver Island

Taking advantage of a work trip to Victoria, BC, I met up with a fellow ACCer (Alpine Club of Canada), Jordan, to do an overnight hike on the Juan de Fuca trail on the last weekend in June. The challenges were a Saturday afternoon start for the drive out, only one car to manage a point-to-point hike and catching a red eye flight to Ottawa the next evening. 
Success would require steady movement and a bit of luck: from dropping the car at our end point at Sombrio Beach and hitchhiking back to the trail head at China Beach, to making it to Bear Beach for our overnight, and an early start for the most challenging part of the hike. In total we would hike about 29 km with considerable cumulative elevation gain as the trail meanders along the coast from sea level up to 231 m and is hardly ever actually flat.

We managed it all with ease. The sweltering heat was kept at bay by the trail running through coastal forest and therefore endless shade. The timing issues with night fall and an early rise were handled deftly - such is the nature of necessity. We fueled well and made sure we stayed hydrated. We also got to take a look at our respective gear - from my inReach and ultra light 3 person tent, to Jordan's awesome cooking set up and crek crossing foot wear. Between the two of us, we seem to be in the right gear kind of shape for a long, unsupported remote traverse.

This trip was an exploratory excursion to see whether my new hiking pal and I would enjoy a 10-day remote back country trek in Northern BC this August. It appears we are the kind of compatible you'd want to be for an excursion like that. Now, there is just one final logistical item to iron out and we'll make a final decision about whether this trek is a go next month sometime next week.

Meanwhile where are a few impressions from Juan de Fuca. (Click on images to see them larger in slide show mode)
Morning fog from our camp side hideaway on Bear Beach.

Morning fog burns off.

Bear Beach views

For some a sign is reassurance. Then again, there is only one trail.

View from the trail.

Lots of creeks giving opportunity to experiment with camera settings.

Sombrio Beach was our end point this time. Heading up to the car
 and back to Victoria with enough time for a shower
before going to the airport ;)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Seeking: mountaineering partner for Aconcagua 2018

Seeking: mountaineering partner/s interested in the South American Andes between about 15 and 40
To  Plaza de Mulas, the climbing base camp.
degrees South (i.e. Altitudes of more than 6,000m/20,000 feet, relatively little snow or glaciers). 

My objective: to climb Aconcagua in Argentina in 2018 (summit just short of 7,000 m).

I'm looking for people to plan, train (think epic Yukon treks, long Eastern US/Canada through hikes, trips at altitude) and climb this impressive mountain. Regular climbing season on Aconcagua runs from mid-November to mid-March. The trip takes about 3 weeks, but I'll need more time to acclimatize and likely would do so in Bolivia's high mountains. Intrigued? Interested? 
The Polish route sen from Plaza Francia
(not considering that one so much)

Check out:

You'll see, Jan, my long-time partner in life and the mountains in many of these posts. Unfortunately, that partnership ended last year, so I am looking for a new 'travel in high places' partner.

Message me here and let's talk!

Aconcagua Normal route seen from Plaza de Mulas
at about 4,450 m. Summit at 6,962 m (22,840 feet)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Winter hiking near Whitehorse

I've been in Whitehorse since Friday. Happily I wrangled some hikes around town with some of my new Yukon friends and their Yukon dogs. There is snow everywhere, but in the higher elevations it is the best kind of winter. Super dry cold - can one ever moisturize enough up here?! - gorgeous fluffy snow on all the trees. A certain monochromatic whiteness and ever changing skies.

Dressing for this weather is much simpler than the damp cold in Ottawa and similar locales. Basically, with the right mix of performance clothing the cold stays outside; it just doesn't get into your bones. Also, there was no wind today. Wind makes such a ridge walk a whole different sort of experience. When we started the hike today it was probably around -18C or so. It felt fine and there was some de-layering needed on the uphill portion.

Our high point today was 1,507 m. We climbed 400 m from Fish Lake Road to the top of the ridge, according to my inReach. As Whitehorse is around 700 m, it doesn't conjure quite this wintry feeling, yet.

The scenery is crazy gorgeous. I mean it is stunning in the summer here but mind-blowing now. Check out today's Fish Lake hike up on to the ridge.

The view across Fish Lake from the ridge.

Walking along the ridge.

This Yukon dog really didn't appreciate standing still on
the snow.  Do check out the backdrop!
The human hiking pals, some I met a few months ago, some today.
That is how it rolls. 

Short breaks make for happy hikers.

Snow covered trees in the sunlight.

The Ridge. We are just above the treeline here.
Fun hike.

Monday, November 9, 2015

ACC Gazette published my story on Icefield Discovery

Full story:
The Alpine Club of Canada's Gazette, the ACC trice yearly members' magazine, has just published my Icefield Discovery camp story in its Winter 2015 issue. And it made the cover, thanks to some fellow campers great photography! This one was more of a team effort, with ACCers contributing photos and offering edit suggestions on a draft text.

Read the full story and see more great pics here.

This is my third ACC Gazette article in the last few years. The other two are:
The Summer issue in 2014 detailing a trip to Bolivia's remote parts of the Cordillera Real and doing a first female ascent to Pico Aguila at about 5,500m.

The Winter issue in 2012 detailing one week of a 3 months Andean adventure focused on the stunning Cochamo valley in the Chilean Lake District in Northern Patagonia.

It's fun to spend this kind of time in some amazing mountains on this Earth of ours.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My first Yukon paddle: Chadburn Lake

My last evening in Whitehorse this September, a friend took me out for my very first paddle in the Yukon. As it was a post-work excursion we kept it simple: flat water kayaking on Chadburn Lake. This beautiful spot is within city limits in Whitehorse. I don't know if it ever gets busy there, but there were just three of us on his lake that evening. We paddled until dark and enjoyed visiting with a beaver, ducks and perhaps even a loon, and each other.

It was a perfect evening.

My ride with my ride - thanks to Up North Adventures for the kayak.
Reflections. Evening Light on Grey Mountain. 

Solitude and silence.

That's me on Chadburn Lake. Thanks for this cool photo! (by Kalin Pallett)

Light and dark as the sun begins to set.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hiking around Whitehorse: Grey Mountain Traverse

Today's GPS tracking points.
Today we spent another day hiking, bushwhacking and ridge walking. The objective: A north - south traverse of Grey Mountain ridge. I think traverses are always a really cool thing.

View of Whitehorse from one of the most northern ridges. 
We set up a vehicle shuttle, so we could avoid hiking along the dirt road at the end of this 7.5 hour hike. That way our energy was focused on the high-reward aspects of this impressive traverse.

Starting on the north side we had to climb about 200 m more in terms of elevation. That was well worth the effort: we ascended the ridge one intermediate summit after another, offering exquisite views and culminating in the highest summit on the south end.

One challenge was finding the up-track once the trail faded amongst the brush and many fallen trees. We were happy that Jeanne had loaded up a GPS track, so we could avoid backtracking as we meandered uphill. The bushwhacking and trail-finding was made more challenging by early season snow.

The view of the south summit of  Grey Mountain.
Once we gained the first high point, the view overlooking Whitehorse was immediately impressive. And it only got more so, as we headed further up on our south-ward trajectory and gained views from Lake Laberge to Marsh Lake and the mountains beyond.

We also got a fine view of the still snow-clad Mount Lorne.

Despite some threatening clouds we only got minimal rain on our final, steep descent on Money Shot. (To be sure, this seems to be typical sandbagging kind of name for a mountain bike trail.)
Wendy and Jeanne head toward the south summit of Grey Mountain.

In total, we ascended just over 700 m; a perfectly reasonable effort.

All in all a great day in the company of some very fine companions. Thanks Wendy and Jeanne!
This image doesn't do the fall colours justice. The yellows really popped
among the grey rocks and evergreens.

Hard to capture the mood of this moment with a smart phone camera.
Alas, it is what I got :) (with Yukon River)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Hiking around Whitehorse: Mount Lorne

Our out and back track on the south side of Mount Lorne
I had made plans with a couple of new Alpine Club friends to head to Kluane's Bock's Lake and explore that area during the long weekend. But early snow, reported to be over one foot in those mountains and the potential for high water creek crossings due to snow melt, made that three-day trip seem a tad ambitous. Instead two of us opted for closer to Whitehorse hiking. Yesterday, we made our way to Mount Lorne.

Mount Lorne range viewed from the south.
The Mt. Lorne area has a long tradition of  First Nations people hunting and gathering. In fact, an archaeological dig at Annie Lake discovered remains of campsites dating back over 8,000 years.

Beautiful fall colours.
My hiking companion was hoping to confirm the route for a traverse of the Lorne ridge and a range just to the South. To that end she hoped to get up high enough on a col to get a look down at Monkey Creek. 

We couldn't get quite as far as far as anticipated, as we were clambering over, under and around fallen trees every 50 - 100 m for the length of the trail, and once up high we were post holing through at times knee-deep snow. Still we managed to ascend from about 770 metres at the trail head to 1,515 metres. And bonus, it was enough to confirm the traverse route in any case.

We had fantastic views to Marsh Lake and the full panorama of these mountains. It was a beautiful hiking day.

View toward Marsh Lake from our high point at 1,514 m (Click on images to view large)