Oct 242008

Lady MacDonald is a fantastic scramble. The route is easy to find and follow but the summit ridge is too exposed for most folks.

Is it really that bad?


First summit from Main summit

First summit from Main summit


Only a complete klutz would fall off of this ridge (aside from an unfortunate super gust of flesh shearing wind) so the only thing that will stop you is your irrational fear of premature self inflicted cataclysmic death, OK? Do you have hands, feet and a butt? Well that’s all you really need to accomplish the traverse.

Look at it this way; this is an opportunity for the fear of living types out there to put a positive emotional imprint on your self doubt or any other fears you may struggle with. If you get through it you’ll be thrilled and your confidence in the mountains will rise markedly

Main summit from first summit

Main summit from first summit

If however you truly are a klutz please stay on the first summit. I don’t want to be a party to the death of anyone.

The individual who died was either careless or was blown off the ridge or slipped in wet conditions.

Death on the mountain (when alone) is your sole responsibility.

Just recently I was in a dangerous position and realized how all of my experience seemed of little importance or perhaps a hindrance. I backed down the debris strewn, down sloping, exposed ledges and got out while I was still alive. I can not emphasize safety enough.

Examine the photos and decide for yourself if you can face the exposure.

Note: Looking at these photos and being there are two different things, but the only way to know how you will react is to just go do it. You can always turn back. I have!

Enjoy the exposure! Bye Bye!

I do not endorse activities that you are not comfortable with. Even if you are totally comfortable on this ridge, you may die! Please realize that life is a gamble and nothing is guaranteed.

I’m sitting casually on the crux at this point, the wind is buffeting wildly and I’m enjoying myself for a change. This is easy compared to normal life.

I’m sitting casually on the crux at this point, the wind is
buffeting wildly and I’m enjoying myself for a change. This is easy compared to normal life.   


Fear can be headier than whiskey, once man has acquired a taste for it.

Donald Downes

eave everything. Leave Dada. Leave your wife. Leave your mistress. Leave your hopes and fears. Leave your children in the woods. Leave the substance for the shadow. Leave your easy life, leave what you are given for the future. Set off on the roads.

Andre Breton
1989-1966, French Surrealist

hen you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all. We all need some form of deeply rooted, powerful motivation — it empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams.

Les Brown
1945-, American Speaker, Author, Trainer, Motivator Lecturer

y worst fear is that I’ll end up living in some run-down duplex on Wilshire wearing pants hiked up to my nipples and muttering under my breath.

Richard Dreyfuss
1947-, American Actor

Mount Lady MacDonald Gallery

Mount Field

 Posted by on October 24, 2008  Yoho National Park  No Responses »
Oct 242008
Mount Stephen is on the left, Mount Field and Wapta Mountain on the right, Mount Burgess hides behind Mount Field

Mount Stephen is on the left, Mount Field and Wapta Mountain on the right, Mount Burgess hides behind Mount Field

3:01 PM Friday Sept 20 2002

H and I just made it to the summit of Mt. Field by way of the Burgess Shale trail and then the N.W. ridge. The scrambling was good on firm rock. When we first looked at it from the top of the approach we weren’t sure.

The west ridge of Mt. Field

The west ridge of Mt. Field

The route looked gnarlier near the end. It was a bit gnarly but the crux was a small wall composed of solid steps with good and ample holds.

Anything to say H?

Uhmmm…. not at this second….. No.

OK that’s what will go in then….

Humum bumehmnnn … Laugh You’re writing down what I said?


H below the crux

H below the crux

H rates it a good junior climb … mind you he adds ….we senior with our ….. You’re going to write down everything?

Next time though, I’m bringing more film. I missed a few shots of scrambles though some pinnacles and also a view of Emerald Lake from the Burgess High Line. The sun broke through the clouds and shone directly upon the lake bringing out one the finest blues to be had.

7:46 PM The bulgur will be ready in 10 minutes so I can write some more.

The way down was more difficult than Kane’s book would suggest. Lots of loose rubble; no real trail through the scree like some of the moderates and difficult scrambles.

Wapta Mountain from Mount Field

Wapta Mountain from Mount Field

The trick is to find the cairn to get through the upper rock band. All considered I think a moderate rating would be more appropriate. After all there is a small amount of route finding to get through this loose rock band as I could not see the cairn until I had traversed over a ways. When I saw it, I hollered out to H that the band pass was over here. He left the steep and rotten cliffs he was about to go down.

Shudder ….

The next morning saw us pack our gear and enjoy breakfast with and also be the beneficiaries of a complementary speech by the local resident geologist. He was giving a preamble to a group on their way to visit the Burgess Shale quarry on the slopes of Mt. Field.

One of the nice young women on the tour approached me sitting at the picnic table next to Yoho Lake. I mentioned that H and I had mistakenly stumbled upon the UNESCO World Heritage Site by accident on our way to the summit of Mt. Field.

The speech given by the tour guide was great.

The era that is displayed in the formation of the Burgess Shale is a fascinating topic and even though the fossils are extremely old, indistinct, and laying on the side of a mountain virtually unprotected; they have created a certain resonance with me.

Mount Stephen has an exposure too…. The Burgess Shale that is…..

Mount Stephen has an exposure too…. The Burgess Shale that is…..

This geological boundary represents the beginning of the explosion of multi-cellular life forms that have visited the Earth since the beginning of the Cambrian period, possibly the most important time in the history of the Earth.

What a fantastic spot!!!!!

Mount Field Panorama

Mount Field Panorama

Imagine spending four billion years stocking the oceans with seafood, filling the ground with fossil fuels, and drilling the bees in honey production — only to produce a race of bed-wetters!

Barbara Ehrenreich
1941-, American Author, Columnist

he earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit — not a fossil earth, but a living
earth; compared with whose great central life all animal and vegetable life is merely parasitic. Its throes will heave our exuviate from their graves.

Henry David Thoreau
1817-1862, American Essayist, Poet, Naturalist

Mount Saint Piran

 Posted by on October 24, 2008  Banff National Park  No Responses »
Oct 242008

This small peak is accessible by trail, and a signed one at that. Just go to the Lake Louise parking area, and you got it, park. After that you must get out and walk.

The trail to the peak proper starts just before you get to Little Beehive. Look to your left for a trail, and a sign is just up the trail about ten feet. From that point on the crowds are few and the air fresh. I sometimes wish I could control the seasons, so I could do these hikes more often, but I’m not God so that’s not my domain.

Once on the summit the views are great, just not as good as Mt. Fairview.

Mount Niblock and Mount Whyte however are dominant from this perspective.

Once you’ve finished feeding yourself and drinking much water, go back to ground level and perhaps enjoy an expensive meal of greasy food at the local chalet.


Mount Saint Piran Panorama

Mount Saint Piran Panorama

bsence blots people out. We really have no
absent friends.

Elizabeth Bowen
1899-1973, Anglo-Irish Novelist

o man is so perfect, so necessary to his friends, as to give them no cause
to miss him less.

De La Bruyère
1645-1696, French Classical Writer

et me tell
you I am better acquainted with you for a long
absence, as men are with
themselves for a long affliction: absence does but hold off a
friend, to make one see him the truer.

Alexander Pope
1688-1744, British Poet, Critic, Translator