October 21, 2017

Freedom Of The Hills | Mountaineering & Climbs

Why climb the mountain when you could just go around it? The feeling of summiting mountains is invigorating and unforgettable. For the mountaineer each hike can be different, each hike is different, though for the most part it is self-fulfilling, self-rewarding and stimulating – your entire body. I cherish and remember the details of every excursion. From start to finish (preparations, departures, ascents, descents, HD videos), it all makes up what we call, mountaineering.  It’s survival and being alone high in the mountains. Enjoying the cool thinned-out air while you are prepping a perfect meal. Often making special connections with like-minded people helps magnify the thrilling experience.  The people come from all walks of life, alpine cabins are unique, and each sunset and sunrise is truly picturesque.

You quickly learn to better respect animals when you trod through their homes; their environment; their backyard. The high altitude, the exercise, and many hours of solitude quickly clear, then refresh your mind. You allow your job for once to ride the backseat while your mind and life recharge, and the life-long camaraderie built among fellow climbers is magnificent.

Thank you to all those that have climbed/hiked with me. We are bonded by our stories… Let’s do it again.

If you ever want to hike please call me. Let’s Go!!! 778 996 3539  

10 Amazing Day Hikes Near Vancouver – Excellent

Hiking Trails Sorted by Name – Excellent

PHOTOS:  Below.  After Special Thank You



Who, after a rather disturbing introspective tent incident at our Zermatt base-camp the night before, still managed to regroup himself and hike the Matterhorn (passed the Hornlihutte, higher than even Ted and I).  Congratulations AM!!!   An unforgettable experience.  Not many people have ever been to that elevation – let alone, on one of the most dangerous mountain on earth.

Alex Geisler – Mr. Exploitive

For yelling in French, from his lead position above me, to Ted Byrne (below me)  “Exploitive, Exploitive, we’re going to die on this #$&*#$ mountain.” (“Mais, fils de putzi, on vas mourir sur ce putzi de montagne”). I looked to see, one of Ted’s crampons dangerously dangling off his Scarpa boot, only held there by string. Why all the hubbub Alex?… wwere anchored into a wall of ice.

Directly below Ted opened a dark, deadly, and seemingly bottomless crevasse.  Not a comforting comment from our competent friend/guide whom we had entrusted our lives to. Fortunately, skilled Alex lowered himself passed me to help Ted reattach his crampon.  That night, inside the igloo, dinner was very appreciated. In fact, all of us still feel it was one of the best glad-to-be-alive dinners we have ever had. Warm, safe from the elements, flanked between Matterhorn and Mt. Blanc. A cloudless full moon night… with no less than a billion stars to gaze up at, perhaps the ultimate breathtaking experience. To stay alive is good.

Mama (Margreth “Greta Walli”  Fry)

Who introduced me (“Du Rhone”) to the Alps;  she was born in a house in Fideris, Switzerland (Population 340).  For introducing me to Jake Sloan, who insisted on taking me to the top of Cypress Bowl. I never forgot that adventure. The unmistakable ‘high’ from sitting atop my first summit. Spending time there, eating, drinking, and gazing downward to the Pacific Ocean below.  I was immediately hooked.

For introducing me to her cousin Rudolf Walli. Who then convinced me to hike ‘barefooted’ from Strahlegg (Fideris), to the top of Kistenstein / Mattjischorn, Fideriser, Heubergen in Switzerland (see photo).  As culture dictates, it was that hike that finally made me  ‘Eine Mann’.

Wilfred Fry (Granddad) – For the many hikes throughout Switzerland and Canada. Thank you. 

Mina Kumari Kavia

For convincing me, mid-day, to quickly Bataan Death March across Jasper’s Skyline Trail. Normally a 3-4 day hike. Thankfully the Skyline Trail was only 44km, a marathon distance of Rocky Mountainous terrain. We were furthermore lucky to only be packing a limited quantity of food and water. This hike was easily one of the most amazing experiences I have ever shared. An absolutely stunning physical and mental challenge, all mixed among the endless cascading scenery of the Canadian Rockies.

In the end, now void of any proper nutrition all day (don’t do that), I eased myself to the ground. I was virtually unable to rise again without Mina’s help. Without her encouragement and hand to lift me back on my feet I would still – very likely – be there – uncontrollably weeping.  Crazy & unforgettable Mina – that’s what you are.  To everyone in good shape and off their rocker – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the SKYLINE TRAIL. 5 Stars.

Melanie Dekker

For pushing me to get out and hike all things, all the time… big or small. the fresh air, exercise, challenging…rain or shine?… Let’s go...

Edward (Ted) Byrne

Who has easily accompanied me on the most hikes.  A 6’8 (203cm) alpinist. I tell you, there is nothing like having ‘that’ sleep beside you in a tent. I’ve seen Ted in and through a few precarious situations. The best though is watching Ted beam ear-to-ear with unequivocal happiness.  When Ted radiates, he has the biggest “we did it” smiles, which are always accompanied by a huge 14,000 foot hug or high-five.

Ted has shown me massive ‘silver-dollar-sized’ blisters, so deep that you could virtually see his bone. These were caused by long-range hikes (see photos; if interested, sadistic or insane).  My suggestion is avert your eyes, if you can, you’ll sleep much better.

(I will recount our stories soon).

The 6am Grouse Grinders: 

Bob Faulkner, Richard Dustan, Rob Hartvikson, Mark Perry, Cedric Burgers, Dan Shepansky, Dan Swanson, Dave Norona, Mark James, Craig Cameron, Tom Duguid, Alex Blodgett, Eric Sandberg, Glenn Dorey, Ian Hoffman, Kelly Cross, Kevin Thomson, Meaghan Buisson, Natasha Cowie, Paul Grehan, Stitch,  Tony Hoare.

Thank you to Kevin Thomson for introducing me to this fabulous hiking/biking group. Many of the best hikes I’ve ever done. Absolutely unforgettable!!!

Summit Hug – Shepansky, Putzi, Burgers

Favourite Tree - Blown Down

Shane Wright

For letting me show a “Western Ivey Business School MBA” Prairie Boy how to slide down (off) a mountain on his chest penguin-style.  …the kid’s a fast learner. 

Rudolf “Ruedi” Walli (Strahlegg)

Who in 1984, insisted that to become a man I needed to hike barefooted from his village Strahlegg to the top of the Kistenstein / Mattjischorn, in the Fideriser, Heubergen in Switzerland. (see pictures). Excellent hike.

Ron & Margreth Fry – Barefoot hike with Ruedi Walli 

Ruedi Walli & Ruedi Walli Jr. – 1985 (Credit: Marietta Kobald) 

‍Ruedi Walli (Credit: Marietta Kobald)

Additional THANK YOU to my Mountaineering Friends

Martin Paulmichl, Christof Walli, Maria Walli, Wilfred Fry, Anza Bars, Dr. David ‘Old Man’ Williscroft, Graeme Lindsay, Nikki Reinert, Gabriella Trabucchi, Sylvia Byrne, Eve Kramer, Eric Reed, Leah Putzi, Jenna Putzi, Erik Dekker, Jack Sloan, Hans & Susan Heim, Johannes Putzi (Swiss Grandpa).

Thank you

SUMMITS – Many with different friends…

Mt. Seymour  – 2013

1st Peak, North Vancouver, BC (2x)

1,455m (4,774ft)

Les Dents du Midi – 2010

Chablais Alps, Valais, Switzerland

3,257m (10,686ft)

The Bishorn – 2010

 Pennine Alps, Valais, Switzerland

4,153m (13,625ft)

The Matterhorn – 2005

Hornlihutte, Pennine Alps, Valais, Switzerland (3x)

4,478m (14,692ft)

Igloo des Pantalons Blancs – 2002

Valais, Switzerland

3,400m (11,155ft)

Cornettes de Bise – 2002

Vaud, Switzerland

2,432m (7,979ft)  

Hochwang – 2001

Plessur Alps, GR, Switzerland (4x)

2,534m (8,314ft)

Sulzfluh – 1999

Ratikon Range, GR, Switzerland (3x)

2,817m (9,242 ft)

Haldensteiner Calanda – 1998

GlarusAlps, GR, Switzerland

2,805m (9,203ft)

Wilf & Margreth Fry and I turned around 150m from summit

Monschsjochhutte – 1997

Bernese Alps, Valais, Switzerland

3,658m (12,001ft)

Schesaplana – 1997

Ratikon Range, Vorarlberg, Austria

2,964m (9,725 ft)

Col du Jorat – 1997

Chablais Alps, Switzerland

2,482m (8,143ft)

Cornette de Bise – 1997

Chablais Alps, France/Switzerland

2,432m (7,979ft)

Machu Picchu – 1995

Cusco Region, Sacred Valley, Peru

2,430m (7,970ft)

Huayna Picchu – 1995

Cusco Region, Sacred Valley, Peru

2,720m (8,920ft)

BC Lions – 1993

Howe Sound Group, British Columbia, Canada

1,654m (5,427ft)

The Skyline Trail – 1992

Jasper, Alberta, Canada – A Dream!!!

2,511m (8,238ft)

Kistenstein / Mattjischorn  – 1984

Fideriser, Heubergen, Switzerland

2,461m (8,074ft)

Barefooted assent, my passage from Boyhood to Man.  Hiked with Rudolf Walli:   www.ruwa.ch

Ruedi Walli & Ruedi Walli Jr. (Credit: Marietta Kobald)

Enjoy the Pictures !!!