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.
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.
“The Columbia Mountains are the first major barrier to incoming moisture across British Columbia's Interior Plateau. The northern Columbia's which include the Monashees and the Selkriks receive some of Canada's highest annual snowfall amounts.
The ideal atmospheric circulation for heavy snow to the Northern Selkirks is a west to southwest flow. This way moisture off the Pacific Ocean can sneak in between the South Coast Mountains and the Northern Cascades and remain relatively uninterrupted until encountering the Columbia Mountain Range. A southwesterly flow arrives perpendicular to the range and results in maximum orographic lifting. Western Canada's weather pattern is predominantly from the west. This moisture laden southwesterly flow is thus very common, making heavy snowfall a regular occurrence in the Northern Selkirks.
Located smack dab in the middle of the Northern Selkirks sits the Durrand Glacier, Selkirk Mountain Experience's playground. From the Durrand Glacier, several glacial valleys fan out in a variety of orientations including the E-W Carnes Creek, the SE-NW Downie Creek and the NW-SE Woolsey Creek. This medley of drainage orientations promotes convergence for each of the major atmospheric flows which ultimately results in enhanced snowfall. Carnes Creek channels moisture during the predominant west to southwest flow and creates a snow-belt over the Durrand Glacier and its surrounding mountains. Downie Creek promotes enhanced snowfall to the glacier in a northwesterly atmospheric flow while many of the surrounding sub-ranges have become subsident and dry. Additionally, Woolsey Creek allows moisture to be channeled and converge at the southern edge of the glacier during a southerly flow..
The Durrand Glacier thus benefits from the large scale orographic enhancement of the Columbia's as well as the smaller scale chanelling and convergence effects of the various surrounding drainages. Year after year all of these factors combine to give the Durrand Glacier some of the highest annual snowfall amounts while many surrounding ranges experience large seasonal variability. Deep snow is almost guaranteed on the Durrand Glacier!”
"A short clip of Ruedi and Nicoline enjoying the first ski of the season, at the Durrand Glacier
Chalet, on November 1, 2011. We have been very excited for this year's ski season, as we truly believe it is going to be a
great snow year. The snow at the Chalet is already measuring 153 cm of snow pack!", said Ruedi.
Make a trip to the local RV store to procure all the essential materials for maintenance. The necessary items are:
- Cleaning wands for the holding/waste water tank
- A compressed air adapter
- New water filters
- Pliers and wrenches to remove plugs
- RV antifreeze
- Water pump converter and WD-40A water heater bypass will be required, unless it's already installed.
Grab the owner's manual and remember to review all the specifications, even if you have been prudent about maintaining your RV. Don't forget that every RV is different in function and style, so some of us will require additional materials to perform this maintenance and alternate servicing techniques. It may be helpful to employ a partner to assist you during the maintenance process.
Remove all in-line water filters.
Empty out the fresh water tank and the hot water heater, allowing ample time for the water to cool after you have turned off the heater.
Take out the drain plug and undo the pressure relief valve.
Continuing with the draining process, empty out and flush the black and gray wastewater holding tanks. Some RVs have tank flushing systems; if yours does, use it.
Clean the tanks of debris and remnants using your cleaning wands. Remember to leave the valves opened and apply the WD-40 to the termination valves.
Attach the compressed air adapter to the fresh water inlet, setting the compressed air adapter to less than twenty pounds per square inch (PSI).
Make sure to check each faucet one at a time, including the shower and toilet. The compressed air will remove any remaining water.
Use the compressed air adapter to clear out the water heater.
Replace the drain plug and shut the water heater bypass valve.
Detach the compressed air adapter, storing it in a safe place.
Close all opened valves.
Attach the water pump converter, fastening the kit's clear tubing to the pump's inlet side. In the other side, pour the antifreeze.
Turning on the water pump to pressurize the system.
Check every cold and hot valve, opening each slowly until the antifreeze appears.
Afterward, close each valve. Add additional antifreeze, if necessary. Make sure to remember to close the shower valves during this process. The toilet will need to be flushed until you see the antifreeze as well.
The seasonal travel restriction has ended on one of Banff National Park’s treasured gems. The annual restriction on the parkway helps protect wildlife from disturbance during the critical times when animals are actively looking for food and bearing their young after the long winter.
This spectacular scenic heritage route provides opportunities to visitors of all ages, abilities, and comfort levels to enjoy diverse and safe outdoor experiences in the wilderness of Banff National Park. Whether interest lies in exploring canyons and trails, delving into history, or indulging in fine dining, the Bow Valley Parkway has it all.
The original two-lane road between Banff and Lake Louise, offers outstanding views of the Sawback Range, Castle Mountain, and Mount Temple, and accesses exceptional recreational opportunities like picnicking, hiking, canoeing, and camping.
The best way to experience the parkway is to cycle it or take a leisurely drive: the speed limit is 60 km per hour. Roadside pull-offs with interpretive panels and self-guiding trails add to the experience with stories about the history and natural features of the area. Rustic campgrounds, a hostel, and unique cottage accommodations offer peaceful overnight stays. The eastern section of the parkway traverses a small, but important area of the park for species like grizzly bears and wolves – perhaps an opportunity to spot some along the drive.