Alpine Club of Canada

SpringGazette2017

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Resident Artist Leona Amann to guide and inspire painters Artists Week at the Albert Icefield GMC $1450 | August 12 – 17 www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/artists 2017 NEW for 18 The Alpine Club of Canada Gazette spring 2017 closer, I began to run too. What next? A quick glance over my shoulder—she was close. A second glance—get ready to be mauled. She was just less than 10 metres behind me. Wait—throw backpack! A flash of orange Deuter pack whipped at her with super accuracy. Unbelievable, I am not being chewed on, I am going to survive—I hope. She disappeared over some low angle terraced cliffs below the trail. Dane sat higher on the trail in disbelief, crouched and hiding. is is exactly what we all hope will never happen, and like to believe, like most deadly things, "won't happen to me". Dane and I took the high country route up to the glacier, over the height of land and down the glacier trail back to the lodge. Being 6:30 a.m., Nicoline was in the kitchen when we barged in to the lodge. "You look like you just saw a bear?" she said. Yep, we did! After describing the situation over a cup of coffee, we slowly gained enough courage to head back out to work, armed with all available deter‑ rent options. In more than 20 years of travelling through the mountains, I have had the amazing experience of observing bears in the wild on many occasions. All but this experience happened without conse‑ quence, leading me to realize that they are probably just as scared of us as we are of them. With mountain travel we prepare for the hazards and analyze the risk. But how do we know for sure we have the skill or equipment to cope? With my near miss, the obvious mistakes were due to complacency—not carrying our air blast horns as we usually did, which would have most likely scared her off. Do what you do, love what you do, and, respect the wild world with caution. ACMG Mountain Guide Jeff Bullock runs www.alpineairadventures.com. At that very moment, Dane yelled, "BEAR!" And he began running away diagonally uphill. In the dawn light I was able to see her uphill and left from us below a small bluff, standing on her hind legs. Her two cubs—now two or three years old—peered down at us. What is the first thing that came to mind? Stand your ground, stay calm, and get any deterrent device ready. Complacency, however, had left our bear deterrents back at the lodge that day. Dane was already 50 metres ahead, run‑ ning, as she descended in a run from her perch. I caught up to Dane by grabbing his shirt, and I yelled "stop!" He tore from my grip and kept running, which put me in the middle of the situation. With the mature grizzly galloping by Jeff bullock M ountain travel has many inher‑ ent risks that we must consider when we prepare for a climb‑ ing, skiing or hiking adventure. Still, on occasion we find ourselves staring right into the eye of that risk. In summer 2005 I worked building hiking trails for a lodge in the northern Selkirk Mountains. It was my second summer in the area and I was aware of her and her babies. I had seen them from a healthy distance during the 2003 summer when the boys were yearlings, observing them in their home playing like children on lingering snow fields below tree line. It was a truly amazing sight. e trail work was laborious but like mediation, and to be honest, the location allowed me to climb regularly on the cliffs surrounding the lodge. We started work early to beat the heat and allow time for afternoon climbing, hiking in pre‑dawn darkness to carry on from the previous day's endpoint. e morning I met her was normal, up and at 'er for me and my helper, young Dane. As we walked up the subalpine trail in low light, heads down and minds still shut off, I heard a faint "huff " noise; almost a bark, but not quite. I thought to myself: Marmot? No. Pika? No way. Ptarmigan? Nope. I brushed the sound off to "just hearing things". en I heard it a second time. Alpine Start: Her name was Griz A grizzly munches on its favourite food, buffaloberry. photo: chuck o'callaghan

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