Alpine Club of Canada

SpringGazette2017

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HOW WILL YOU EXPLORE THE ROCKIES THIS SUMMER? Get the information you need for scrambling, hiking, and climbing with three new guidebooks from Rocky Mountain Books. Think outside Le Club Alpin du Canada Gazette printemps 2017 7 overwhelmed us every day. We breathed it in through our pores. It's about skiing within metres of seals and penguins that waved us on our way each morning, and welcomed us back at the end of day with open flippers. It's about skiing from high rocky summits down to the South Atlantic Ocean where icebergs as big as apartment buildings eclipsed the size of the ship. e endless stream of on‑board presentations by marine biologists, geologists, ornithologists and historians who equipped us with an overwhelming amount of information so we could appreciate—in real time—what we were seeing and experiencing. Spending our days in the company of the best‑of‑the‑ best of like‑minded people from around the world: the UIAGM guides represented 10 countries, the skiers 18 countries. e overwhelming realization of standing upside‑down on the bottom of the globe with skis on feet (!?!) without falling off into space. e joy of skiing into the crater of an active volcano on a calm and clear bluebird day. Hearing the stat that more people have summited Everest than have skied in Antarctica (not for long) and thereby feeling somehow connected to the Shackleton‑era explorers. ere was no suffering, but I have many tales to tell. ere are so many superfluous adjectives I could use to describe the experience, but none of them would really do it justice. It will take many months to process all that we learned, experienced and felt on this trip. Ski touring in the Antarctic: mind offi‑ cially blown. Canmore resident and long-time ACC member Sandy Walker is past VP for Sections, an energetic volunteer at the sec- tion and national levels and an insatiable adventurer. to the Antarctic" to ensure that no seeds or litter change the ecosystem of the currently pristine Antarctic, we returned to the ship most days for lunch and sailed to a different island or stretch of the continent proper in the afternoon. Long seasonal daylight hours provided plenty of time for skiing regardless. We skied islands such as Livingston, Half Moon, Bluff, Rongé and several others I'd never heard of, but will never forget. At the end of each ski tour, the waiting Zodiac™ returned us to the ship, navigating ice‑ bergs and sea ice along the way with albatross and Antarctic petrels accom‑ panying us on the thermals overhead. Typically, I've found the best stories to tell are the ones where things go wrong. "Type 2 Fun" that involves suffering at the time, but telling the stories fondly for years to come. But nothing went wrong on this trip. So, what makes skiing in Antarctica so noteworthy? e complete and utter sensory overload of awesomeness that fuelled the sadomasochistic desire to endure a ridiculous Drake Passage cross‑ ing so we'd have wonderful stories to tell of our bravery and sturdy composure, leaving out the vomiting, desperation and vulnerability parts. But the Drake Shake turned out to be Drake Lake (only about an 8 to those familiar with the Beaufort Scale) and we arrived at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula two days later, well‑rested, well‑fed and raring to go. As for shipboard suffering, the closest we got to eating raw seal blubber were some wonderful sushi platters created by the on‑board chef. e next seven days are a blur of daily outrageous experiences. Each morning a Zodiac™ took us to shore where we geared up and began our ski touring day. Since eating on Antarctic lands is not permitted by IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) whose mandate is to "advocate and promote the practice of safe and environ‑ mentally responsible private‑sector travel ACMG Mountain Guide Jim Gudjonson, left, prepares to lower Kirsten Serkin down to the Zodiak. À gauche, le guide de montagne ACMG Jim Gudjonson prépare la descente de Kirsten Serkin vers le Zodiak. photo: John kirk

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