Sometimes, in life, you just need to jump in a heli and fly to a tranquil lake, rope up and hike on a glacier, sit in a canoe and enjoy the ride while your partner does 68% of the work, take arbitrary selfies while sun-tanning, capture the sunset with a loved one, indulge in (impressive) pancake breakfasts and steak dinners, and jump back in a heli and fly out.
This is a very special place. Though very close to home, its location and inaccessibility amplifies its beauty and seclusion.
During the August long weekend, I had my first mountaineering experience.. and it was a little startling! Well on to the glacier and more than half way up to the col between Omega and Iota, I entered a mild stage of panic. Once I came to terms with the fact that I wont randomly slip and fall off the mountain and I have a very competent partner just in case I do, it was a breeze :).
Ride to the lake:
First views of the lake:
Exploring near the cabin:
After claiming our sleep spaces and getting organized, we hit the lake for a swim:
Taking it all in:
It was getting close to dinner time so we made our way back to the cabin. Ryan told me I’d be impressed with the daily menu.. was I ever!! Each morning we woke up to a pancake breakfast, complete with toast, bacon and sausages. For lunch we had sandwiches and granola bars. For dinner we indulged in various salads, pastas, and a steak dinner. Needless to say, my ‘camping’ expectations have gone through the roof.
After dinner, we explored a bit more around the cabin and found a bluffy view point. Some views:
After dinner, we headed down to the dock to catch the sunset. The colours were outstanding:
Now for the good stuff. Our plan for today was to summit Iota.
With a fairly early start, we were quickly en route.
View of the lake from the sandspit:
View of the creek crossing:
Looking back at Niobe Meadows:
Sidenote, North Shore Rescue was here on a mountaineering workshop for the weekend. It was pretty cool to see some of the things they were practicing.
Ryan, patiently waiting:
Markus in the background:
At this point, we took a bit of a break to get ready for the glacier. A pair of hikers were planning to cross ahead of us. We hung around before dropping down to the glacier.
Ryan on the pinnacle:
Mike and Markus dropping down to the glacier:
Mike and Markus on the glacier:
Our turn! I was eager to get going. We headed over to the glacier and roped up on some nearby rocks. Ryan gave me a quick 101 on how to use an ice axe and explained what we were going to do.
Ryan on the glacier:
NSR making their way up too:
As we ascended, I spent some time looking ahead and reflecting; I’m acquiring exciting new skills in a such beautiful place. How cool is this?!
To be honest, the ascent was a bit of a struggle for me because I have zero confidence when it comes to ascending/descending on steep snow. I decided to stop for a minute to take a picture of the view behind me. Unfortunately, looking down and looking over at the steepness of the slope sent me into a bit of a panic. Thoughts of losing my footing and falling into rocks crossed my mind.
The view looking back:
We pulled over on to some rocks and took a breather. Ryan assured me that I’m completely fine, I wont slip off the mountain, and that I’m doing great so far.
Views from our break spot. Iota, Pelops, and Niobe:
We continued on and shortly after, we reached the Iota-Omega col. On our way up, I realized there was no way I’d reach Iota today. I didn’t have the confidence and I was already pushing well past my comfort zone.
We took an extended break at the col. The views were amazing! Though we didn’t summit Iota, I was happy with what I had accomplished – after much reassurance from Ryan.
Views from the col:
Ryan and I:
A last look back at the col:
I have some unfinished business that will bring us back here next Summer, once I gain more experience and confidence. All in all, it was a solid day :).
Despite the bugs, it was a nice night to take some long exposure shots.
The Milky Way:
Today we planned to spend most of our day out on the water. At a very leisurely pace, we paddled out to the north end of the lake and skirted back around.
Back at the cabin, time to cool off:
We headed back home today.
I had an amazing weekend and despite not summiting, I’m motivated to push myself, brush up on existing skills, and learn new ones.
The ride home:
More of Ryan’s perspectives: http://realaworld.zenfolio.com/p27336816
A quick blood sugar rundown for the weekend: It was a little tough to manage given the heat and exposure to sun. My levels spiked a few times and I found I was dehydrated by the time we reached the cabin post mountaineering. It was nothing a little bit insulin and water didn’t fix!
Hope everyone had a good weekend :).