Jill Hayward and her husband Bob have a number of items on their 'Bucket List'; like seeing the Salmon Glacier, British Columbia, on July 23, 2011 | Submitted by Bob Hayward | Submit yours!
Grizzly Bear. Photo taken near Kananaskis Lakes, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Kananaskis Country, Alberta |
Submitted by Trevor Ward | Submit yours!
First summits! Photo taken at Mount Fairview, in 2010, Banff National Park, Alberta |
Submitted by Tanya Koob | Submit yours!
Time to play! Photo taken at Deception Pass, in March 2011, Banff National Park, Alberta |
Submitted by Michael Southward | Submit yours!
Binocular, photo taken at Lake Louise, in September 2011, Banff National Park, Alberta |
Submitted by Yu Liu | Submit yours!
Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta |
Submitted by Gary Clennan,
Calgary, Alberta | July 17, 2010 | Submit yours!
En route for Lake McArthur, British Columbia, July 2010 |
Submitted by John Drew,
Toronto, Ontario | August 10, 2010 | Submit yours!
Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta |
Submitted by Debbie Sheridan,
Kamloops, British Columbia | July 27, 2010 | Submit yours!
On the Bow River, Bow Valley, Alberta |
Submitted by David Hudson,
Taunton, United Kingdom | March 30, 2010 | Submit yours!
On the way to Miette Hot Springs, Jasper National Park, Alberta |
Submitted by Damien Bottolier-Curtet,
Haute-Savoie, France | February 21, 2011 | Submit yours!
Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta |
Submitted by Dale Doram,
Edmonton, Alberta | July 23, 2010 | Submit yours!
Self portrait on top of Panorama Ridge viewpoint overlooking Garibaldi Lake, British Columbia, July 2007 |
Submitted by Claude Robidoux,
Penticton, British Columbia | March 21, 2011 | Submit yours!
Submitted by Alexander Babos,
Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A. | October 8, 2010 | Submit yours!
Discovering Athabasca, Icefields Parkway, Alberta |
Submitted by Anders Rempel, Steinbach, Manitoba | September 23, 2010 | Submit yours!
Looking over Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, in the morning. |
Submitted by Andrej Zlatos, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A. | September 26, 2010 | Submit yours!
"True Canadian Splendor". Shot at Wilcox Pass in Jasper National Park, Alberta in July, 2010 | Submitted by Benjamin Barlow, Eaton Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A. | October 17, 2010 | Submit yours!
Submitted by Brian MacDonald, Grande Prairie, Alberta | August 29, 2010 | Submit yours!
Bow Valley, May 17th, 2010, taken off the Bow Valley road in between Banff and Lake Louise. | Submitted by Caroline Freebairn, Calgary, Alberta | August 1, 2010 | Submit yours!
Iceland poppies, Lake Louise, Alberta, August 2010 | Submitted by Cesar Bueno, Vallejo, California, U.S.A. | August 22, 2010 | Submit yours!
Sun rising on Victoria Glacier with the Death Trap below, Banff National Park, Alberta. | Submitted by Cindy Walker, Calgary, Alberta | August 31, 2010 | Submit yours!
Submitted by Claire Stanhope, Coldstream, British Columbia | October 30, 2010 | Submit yours!
"The 3 Amigos", Bighorn Sheep in Radium Hot Springs | Submitted by Dale Genest, Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia | September 3, 2010 | Submit yours!
Hiking along a Jasper trail, Jasper National Park, Alberta, August 2010 | Submitted by Dale Nally, Saint-Albert, Alberta | November 17, 2010 | Submit yours!
"A moment to remember", Edith Lake | Submitted by Darlene Nguyen, Edmonton, Alberta | August 12, 2010 | Submit yours!
Fly-fishing in the Kootenays, British Columbia, on August 2, 2010 | Submitted by Debbie Sheridan, Kamloops, British Columbia | September 8, 2010 | Submit yours!
My daughter enjoying the view from Whistler Mountain summit, British Columbia | Submitted by Fernando Ortiz, Naucalpan, Mexico | October 17, 2010 | Submit yours!
"Stop", Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park, 2009. | Submitted by Ganna Melekh, Edmonton, Alberta | August 1, 2010 | Submit yours!
Chipmunk on a stone barrier, Lake Louise, Banff, Alberta, August, 2010 on a hiking trail just next to the lake itself. | Submitted by Grace Mah, Edmonton, Alberta | August 28, 2010 | Submit yours!
Storm on Mount Vimy, Waterton Lakes National Park, October 5, 2009 | Submitted by Greg Abt, Ponoka, Alberta | August 8, 2010 | Submit yours!
A mother grizzly with her two cubs in Jasper National Park, Alberta, May 2010. | Submitted by Guy d'Anjou, Prevost, Québec | November 30, 2010 | Submit yours!
Elk | Submitted by Jaliya Rasaputra, Nepean, Ontario | October 14, 2010 | Submit yours!
Blue heron, Bowser, Vancouver Island, British Columbia | Submitted by Jennie Holt, Wabasca, Alberta | August 26, 2010 | Submit yours!
Canmore, Alberta, my first helicopter ride, and a view from the top, back in May 2009! | Submitted by Maria Roxas-Enriquez, Banff, Alberta | August 5, 2010 | Submit yours!
"Mountain Spectrum" From the end of Maligne Lake, Cornet Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta. | Submitted by Laura Barlow, Eaton Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A. | October 17, 2010 | Submit yours!
Submitted by Marietta Pangan-Dutkoski, Calgary, Alberta | December 10, 2010 | Submit yours!
Submitted by Mark Brooker, Calgary, Alberta | October 7, 2010 | Submit yours!
Nothing more to ask for...Glacier Lake, Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park, October 2, 2010 | Submitted by Mylene Poulin, Calgary, Alberta | October 4, 2010 | Submit yours!
"Taking it all in", canoeing at Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia | Submitted by Owen Yuen, Calgary, Alberta | September 4, 2010 | Submit yours!
Mineral spring, Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia | Submitted by Petra Wildschuetz, Fuerstenwalde, Brandenburg, Germany | August 15, 2010 | Submit yours!
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, my favourite lake of the Canadian Rockies | Submitted by Priscilla Turocy, Parma Heights, Ohio, U.S.A. | October 4, 2010 | Submit yours!
On our way to Vancouver, the girls by the river seemed to be comforting each other. July 10, 2010 | Submitted by Ray Chiang, Calgary, Alberta | September 7, 2010 | Submit yours!
One of the many wonderful landscapes in Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.A. | Submitted by Tatiana Ciolacu, Moscow, Idaho, U.S.A. | August 8, 2010 | Submit yours!
Lake Louise, a few minutes after a rain squall had caused a wedding ceremony to finish up quickly. | Submitted by Stanley G. Munn, Calgary, Alberta | August 9, 2010 | Submit yours!
Baby loves hiking, Kananaskis Country | Submitted by Tanya Koob, Calgary, Alberta | August 9, 2010 | Submit yours!
Experience The Mountain Parks Blog
...all about the Alberta-to-British Columbia mountain parks, including life in and around the parks. Not all our news and stories are here, though, so you might want to check our news section and Bob's "tweets" —conveniently placed in the upper right of each page.
Fishing enthusiasts have long understood the benefits of visiting remote locations. Although the lodging at fly-in camps may be off the electrical grid, the setting meant a better experience. Now, other adventure lovers can have an off-the-grid experience and without the cost of a flight. Nipika Mountain Resort in southeast British Columbia is a scenic four-hour drive from Red Deer and offers premium cross-country skiing and mountain biking conditions with space to roam.
Nipika was the brainchild of Lyle and Dianne Wilson. A former coach with Canada’s Olympic Cross Country ski team, Lyle discovered the location that would make his dream of a resort a reality, while out skiing in 1979. Dianne and Lyle bought 144 acres of this land adjacent to Kootenay National Park and started creating trails and adding buildings. The result is an eco-resort with several cabins, a conference centre and day lodge, all developed in harmony with the natural environment.
Most of the buildings and furniture at the resort were built from wood killed by the mountain pine bark beetle. The Nipika Day Lodge is a recycled building. Lyle found an old farm building near Golden and took it apart, labelling each piece of wood so it could be rebuilt in its original form. Gazing at the solid wood beams, I could see no signs of mechanical cutting, everything was hand-hewn when these trees were felled.
The building is now used for waxing skis, and trail orientation. It was a luxury to leisurely apply wax to my skis while my toes stayed warm. Usually, I shiver and quickly slap on wax in a parking lot.
A new barn roof has been added to the day lodge to create room for meetings and events like small weddings. "There are no drawings or plans to tell you how to build a barn roof like this,” Diane explained, "I had to stop at barns all over the countryside and ask permission to look inside so we knew how to build this!"
That same resourcefulness was needed when it came time to turn on the lights. With no access to conventional energy sources, the Wilsons explored alternative energy sources. "Wind technology nowadays would probably work, but when we started, there was not enough wind in the area to power the resort,” says Diane. Instead they installed solar panels to collect sunlight and batteries to store power for later use.
You cannot plug in a hair dryer at Nipika, but it should not be a problem since you will find yourself wearing a bike helmet or ski toque much of the day. Water for coffee is boiled on a stove, not brewed in a coffee maker. Disconnecting from the wired world is probably the hardest change, but rumour has it, that if you wander around the main reception area you might pick up an occasional wi-fi signal.
With over one hundred kilometres of trails, you can ski for hours and see far fewer people than in a provincial or national park. In the summer, the same trails are popular with mountain bikers and equestrians. There are no horses on the property, but riders are welcome to bring their own.
Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Nipika trails or the neighbouring Cross River Canyon Recreation Site, making it a great place for self-propelled adventure lovers. As I explored the area, the stillness was broken only by the sound of skis slicing through the snow, and I realized it was a wonderful place to renew a soul that spent too many hours on the grid!
Carol Patterson helps businesses and people reinvent themselves through adventure. When she isn’t travelling for work, Carol is travelling for fun. More of her adventures can be found at www.naturetravelgal.com
One HD camera and accessories provided by The Camera Store in Calgary (valued around $1500)
Liam won a three-day (long) weekend experience for up to 20 guests (!!) on a houseboat, the Genesis 75 during peak season (yes we said 'peak season') of the summer 2013. This incredible prize, valued over $6000, is sponsored by Waterway.
Are you a boomer interested in connecting with the outdoors in comfort? Is your young family looking for camping convenience? Are you thinking of camping for the first time? This summer, Parks Canada is making your camping experience in Banff National Park easier!
Exclusive to Canada’s national parks, oTENTiks are coming to Banff National Park in July. A cross between an A-frame cabin and a prospector tent mounted on a raised wooden floor, this new visitor experience seeks to attract and connect with key target markets including urbanites, youth and new Canadians. oTENTiks is designed to modernize and diversify the traditional camping experience in the park.
The ten oTENTiks will be clustered together and embraced by Douglas fir, white spruce and pine trees along one of the most intimate shorelines in the park – Two Jack Lake. Set within Two Jack Lakeside Campground for easy access to site and town amenities, and as one of best locations for stunning views of the majestic mountain ranges.
A few oTENTik features:
An outdoor deck overlooking Two Jack Lake presents an ideal location for relaxation,
19 x 24 ft wide tent provides plenty of room for families or groups up to six,
Sleeping area accommodates two-queen sized and one double-sized bunk bed with high density
foammattresses for a restful night’s sleep - $145/night (includes GST),
A spacious living room, with a table for six, offers a great activity area for inclement weather,
A replica cast iron fireplace ensures extra warmth for cool mountain nights and mornings,
Lighting and electrical outlets offers the convenience of night time reading or charging electronics,
An outdoor fire pit and a Weber BBQ guarantees the tradition of camp-style cooking,
Windows that unzip and mosquito screens allows fresh air movement and fibreglass doors that lock.
I have discovered that reinventing yourself or your business requires change, something that also causes discomfort. I encountered a brilliant example of this recently, when I attended the Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA) Global Summit in Lucerne, Switzerland. Taleb Rifai,Secretary General of UNWTO, acknowledged the importance of adventure travel in the world and praised adventure professionals for taking the time to gather and learn. But not all of the learning happened at the conference centre.
On our 'day of adventure' I selected a field trip to visit the mires (the high bogs of the Alps) in search of Golden Eagles. We did not see any eagles, but we had plenty to look at. After explaining the difference between a high moor and a low moor - they both look the same to the untrained eye, our guide, Christian Wittker, caught everyone's attention when he said, "This is the adventure part of the hike. If you would like to feel what a moor is like, we could take our shoes off and walk barefoot across the moors."
You could hear crickets in the silence that greeted this suggestion. For a group of professional adventurers, there was a decided lack of enthusiasm. I was running a quick risk assessment in my head "What if I hurt my feet on something sharp? Is this covered by my travel insurance?" My mind then moved onto the real issues "What if I get cold i.e. uncomfortable? What if I don't like it? I haven't walked barefoot since I was a kid! Can I still do it at my age? Should I?" I realized I was having the biggest adventure of the trip and it was all in my mind - I hadn't done anything yet.
Figuring I could put my shoes back on if it was too painful or slippery, I doffed my boots along with some other brave souls. The rest of our group headed to drier ground and our merry band of barefoot hikers tentatively tiptoed through the cold, wet moors. It was fantastic!
Yes, my feet found the thistles quickly, but I made friends faster in those fifteen minutes than in days at most conferences. We helped each other find the softest walkways and took each other' s picture for bragging rights on Facebook. My feet felt like they had been at a very expensive spa when finished, and I could cross barefoot bog-walking off my bucket list.
What I learned from this experience was how scary the situation became when it was unexpected or impossible to prepare for. There is no equipment you can buy for barefoot walking and no special training. You have to believe you can cope without a training manual, relying on your willingness to try something your ancestors did for thousands of years. When was the last time you made yourself uncomfortable with a small challenge? As you visit the mountains of western Canada what you unique adventures can you add to your trip?
~ By Carol Patterson
Carol writes and speaks on Reinventure®, the process of reinventing your life and business with adventure. For more information go to www.CarolPatterson.ca
In 1961, Peter Fuhrmann, a German climber working in
Banff, arranged to take his professional mountain guide’s
exam with Walter Perren, the Swiss mountain guide heading
Parks Canada’s public safety program.
At the appointed rendez-vous, Fuhrmann learned Perren
was conducting a rescue. Driving to Castle Mountain, he
scrambled to where he could see Perren climbing solo up
“He yelled down, ‘come up, give me a hand and bring
my pack,’” Fuhrmann, now 80, recalled. “So I put his
pack on top of my pack and then I climbed up the right
hand ridge of Eisenhower Tower.”
Reaching the summit, he found Perren with three
climbers who, although uninjured, lacked the skills to descend.
Perren suggested that Fuhrmann descend with one of the climbers
as an examination exercise. That task completed, the following
day Fuhrmann climbed Mount Victoria, backdrop to Lake
Louise, with Perren, who declared him certified.
Today, candidates hoping to earn professional certification
follow a more structured and rigorous program through the
Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG). Extensive
outdoor experience is required to gain acceptance; on average
the multiple exams take seven years to complete. This year, now
850 members strong, the association formed by Fuhrmann and
eight other guides in 1963 celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Among those founding members was Hans Gmoser who had established
himself as western Canada’s preeminent guide since
emigrating from Austria in 1951. Like Perren, who certified
him in 1956, Gmoser advocated for a Canadian association.
The group—the majority Europeans — elected Fuhrmann as the
ACMG’s first president. Those already holding licences were
In Europe’s alpine nations, the guiding profession is long-established
and highly respected. Historically, people feared the alpine
as home to evil dragons, but by the first ascent of the Alps’
highest, Mont Blanc, in 1786, attitudes began changing. Rail
travel brought tourists eager to view peaks, glaciers and wildflower
meadows. Among them, wealthy Brits and Americans hired
locals to lead them safely to claim virgin summits. Chamonix,
France claims guiding’s oldest professional association, established
In Canada, the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway
(CP) in 1885 lured mountaineers west. In 1897, friends of Phillip
Stanley Abbot, who died climbing Mount Lefroy the previous
summer, hired Switzerland’s Peter Sarbach—the first professional
guide to work in Canada. In 1899, CP began employing
Swiss guides to lead its hotel guests to summits in the Rockies
and Selkirks, a program that continued until the early 1950s. Perren
was one of CP’s last guides.
As chair of the ACMG’s technical standards committee, Gmoser
set the qualification bar high. As his helicopter skiing business,
Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) flourished through the
1970s and ’80s, demand for professional guides increased. While
the ACMG certified a growing number of Canadians, dozens of
European guides eagerly worked in the exciting new industry.
Many of them stayed.
In 1973, two of those Swiss guides, Hans Peter Stettler and Rudi
Gertsch (a second-generation guide) attended the annual meeting
of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations
(IFMGA) in Liechtenstein, intent on demonstrating that
Canadian standards matched Europe’s. In 1974, the ACMG became
the IFMGA’s first non-European member.
Since then, the ACMG has steadily evolved, expanding to encompass
mountain, hiking and climbing gym programs. In addition
to safely guiding mountaineers around the world, today’s
ACMG guides work as highway safety technicians, avalanche
experts, coroner’s consultants, army instructors and as riggers for
Hollywood productions. Under the direction of Fuhrmann (who
succeeded Perren) and Jasper’s Willi Pfisterer, they also developed
Parks Canada’s world-class public safety program.
“Standards are usually minimums, and in Canada we had the
chance to set higher standards from the beginning,” said Gertsch,
whose own son, Jeff, is an ACMG ski guide. “We can be proud.
Canadian guides are leaders, some of the best in the world.”
While climbing for a living might appear glamorous, mountaineering
days can easily last upwards of 12 hours demanding that
guides evaluate rockfall and avalanche hazards at every step;
glacier traverses involve consecutive nights in tents eating dehydrated
dinners. Seasonal employment means irregular schedules
and incomes. Injuries are costly; physiotherapy visits essential.
Still, for those who pass the gruelling and expensive examination
process, few imagine doing anything else.
A Calgary native, Jen Olson earned her ACMG mountain guide
certification in 2008, one of eight women in Canada with that
qualification. She’s guided clients in Italy’s Dolomites and Argentinean
Patagonia as well as her backyard Rockies and Selkirks.
Internationally recognized certification allows her to explore
new wilderness areas while providing her clients an adventure
far beyond what they could manage on their own.
“I like teaching, I like to travel and I like introducing people to
a lifestyle I value,” Olson said. “To travel as a guide really makes
Even at 70, when Ferdl Taxbock is not hiking, backcountry skiing
or rock climbing recreationally, he guides part-time. Every
summer he runs the Alpine Club of Canada’s 55 Plus Summer
Trekking and Climbing Camp out of Stanley Mitchell Hut in
Yoho National Park.
“I still really enjoy guiding,” said Taxbock, who emigrated from
Austria in 1967. “It’s fun to be with other people who also love
the mountains and to help them enjoy the scenery or to help
them move on exposed rock safely.
“And,” he added, “It gets me out too!”
From traversing the Wapta Icefields to backpacking in Jasper to
climbing in Mongolia, ACMG guides are trained and eager to
make your adventure dreams reality.
~By Lynn Martel
Top photo from the 1967 ACMG guides course includes, back row, from left, Don Vockeroth, Ottmar Setzer, Bob Geber, John Gow, Charlie Locke and Bernie Royle. Seated in the front row, from left, are Leo Grillmair, Lloyd Gallagher, Hans Gmoser, Peter Fuhrmann and Hans Schwartz. Credit: Chic Scott collection.
Bottom photo: ACMG Hiking and Ski Guide, Félix Camiré (front left) leads two Alpine Club of Canada amateur trip leaders on a backcountry ski touring skills course in the popular Rogers Pass area of BC’s Glacier National Park. Photo by Lynn Martel.