Thursday July 2. And that was Peyto Hut, our cozy abode for 2 nights. After an oatmeal breakfast we packed up and cleaned up. One of my tasks was to empty some leftover bison stew and pasta into the outhouse. It is not a fun thing to do. The outhouse, as you can imagine, has a strong pungent stench of the excrement of many mountaineers. And in I go, with bowls of food, to throw the leftovers into the hole. It’s a whole lotta smells!
Today we would summit another mountain. We headed off with two choices that would depend on the snow quality. Either we hike snow covered Mount Rhondda (3062 metres), or scramble up the rocky Mount Thompson (3084 metres). Once we stepped onto the snow and ice the choice seemed clear. With an overnight of 8 degrees, the temperature had not dipped enough for a freeze, and so slush was the reality of the hike… and it was tiring. Mount Thompson it was.
The sun was relentless. You’d think it’s a good thing to have sunny weather and blue skies, but when it’s ridiculously hot, scrambling up a huge rocky mountain is not fun. Step after step, the summit seemed to get further and higher. But the slog proved to be worth it once I saw the views from the peak. Suddenly Bow Lake- shiny, shadowy, blue as ever- came into view flanked by mountain tops that stretched on for kilometres. Behind, the Wapta Icefield and other mountains went on for miles. More and more mountains… all the mountains! It honestly goes down as one of the best panoramics I’ve seen from my Rocky Mountain adventures.
Once we descended, James had set up an ice climbing activity at the side of the glacier in the moat at the base of Mount Thompson. So fun! What was crazy was seeing the cross section of a crevasse. Yes, falling into a crevasse certainly looked as scary as I envisioned.
Then it was time to gear up for the remaining and, again, exhausting trek across the glacier back to the Bow Hut. We all looked forward to having a wonderful and quiet evening. Little did we know that the hut was also booked by two other mountaineering teams, making the 32 person hut near capacity. Oh man, that is not my idea of fun at all. Smelly mountaineers after a day in the hot sun, with all their stank gear and clothing, all crammed into one room. Ugh, but I guess you make do. It didn’t help that Yamnuska decided that day 5 was the perfect time for a large chili dinner! What a tasty but gassy nightmare for everyone. That said, though, it’s all a non-issue compared to what’s truly important: time in the mountains with good people. You just can’t beat that environment.
I had an absolutely incredible summer vacation in the snow and ice of the Canadian Rockies with an amazing team of alpinists. Each day was both draining and relaxing filled with great food, company, and experiences. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. But the next day, it would be time to hike out and go back to reality. After 6 days without my comforts, I was reminded that my reality ain’t so bad. There will be many more mountain adventures, but for the time being, a hot shower to wash off the stank and a comfortable slumber wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.