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features: On The Rocks Nancy Hansen's Radical Approach Feature Artist: Justa Jeskova New Column by Kevin Van Tighem

issue Ć?o 16

Fall 2015

the choice issue H I G H L I N E O N L I N E . C A




View from the top of Imja Tse, Nepal (6,149m) by Andrew Pavlidis - @andrewpavlidis

contents I S S U E 16 - FA L L 2 015






letter from us


what's up with Highline

bear hugs + mooseknuckles

spotlight on: Callum Snape






reader feedback

handpicked hotspots

book review

column: We need to talk. differently.

know your neighbour






feature artist: Justa Jeskova

instagram contest

Nancy Hansen's radical approach

on the rocks

gear guide






guidebook: Abraham Lake

bushcraft: Wanna Spoon?

recipe: Alberta Shore Lunch

fall events

free art


FA L L 2 015 ISSUE 16


Kristy Davison · kristy@highlineonline.ca MANAGING EDITOR

Corrie DiManno · corrie@highlineonline.ca HEAD DESIGNER

Lin Oosterhoff · linoosterhoff.com ADVERTISING SALES + SPONSORSHIPS

Lachlan Mackintosh · lachlan@highlineonline.ca COPY EDITOR



Camara Miller (Chief Fun Officer) Chloe Vance (Neighbour in Chief) BUSINESS MENTOR


For more locations check bit.ly/pickupacopy. CONTRIBUTORS

Agathe Bernard, Felix Camire, Erin Cipollone, Jeremy Collins, Joanna Croston, Kristy Davison, Corrie DiManno, Ralf Dujmovits, Jonathan Hiltz, Justa Jeskova, Lynn Martel, Andrew Pavlidis, Colin Payne, John Price, Dan Rafla, Georgie Silckerodt, Callum Snape, Wade Suvan, Maarten van Haeren, Brian Van Tighem, Kevin Van Tighem, and AV Wakefield. FOR MORE INFORMATION

info@highlineonline.ca  Highline Magazine  @HighlineMag HIGHLINEONLINE.CA

 HighlineMag

Highline Magazine is soul food for mountain people. An indie, wild, and free quarterly publication. We acknowledge and honour that we stand on Treaty 7 land, the traditional lands of the Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot, Tsuu T'ina people.

Printed in Canada on FSC Certified Recycled Paper.

 Cover: Sunset from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park by Callum Snape.



mong the books, journals, and old cameras on my bookshelf sits a box of postcards with the words ‘Live the life you love, Love the life you live’ printed on the cover. Not usually drawn to materials with quotes written on them, this was gifted to me by a wonderful, fairy godmother of a woman who passed away quite suddenly earlier this year. When I learned that she died, I went straight to the unused set of postcards, wiped the dust off the box and made a promise to start sending these via snail mail to my buddies across the globe. This was March. It’s now September and I haven’t sent one postcard. Sometimes I sense death quite strongly: counting the years family members likely have left, that I have left. Sometimes birthdays make me anxious. And then sometimes I don’t think about death at all, like when I’m looking back for the last glances of Mt. Assiniboine before it disappears to the bend as the trail ahead of me stretches toward home. Or when I’m riding my bike. Or when I’m swimming in Johnson Lake. Or when I’m setting my mind to living the life I love and loving the life I’m living. So, let’s do it:

More nature, less Netflix. More friend and family face time, less texts and emails. More hiking, less sitting. More biking, less driving. More activism, less caring what others might think. More backcountry hut trips, less excuses. More books, less iPhone apps. More dancing, bear-hugging, and high-fiving, less drama. More shouting ‘yes’ to adventure, less waiting for the skies to clear.

We all have a choice. This issue’s features (On the Rocks, Nancy Hansen’s Radical Approach, and We Need To Talk. Differently.) may just inspire you to brave the world a little more intentionally. We’re in this together. Are you in? — Corrie DiManno, Managing Editor

What would you add to the list? Anything you’d take away? Send your thoughts to info@highlineonline.ca to appear in the next magazine’s reader feed. If you’d like to receive one of these aforementioned postcards, feel free to holler at your girl with your mailing address: corrie@highlineonline.ca.


Après. www.epicRide.ca #snowjobshotglass @myepicRide


KE VIN VAN TIGHEM Kevin Van Tighem spent more than three decades studying wildlife, interpreting nature and managing Canada’s mountain national parks. An author of 13 books on conservation-related topics, he lives with wife Gail in Canmore. When not writing or advocating for Canada’s wildlife and wild places, he hikes, paddles, fishes and hunts in Alberta’s foothills and Front Ranges.  rmbooks.com

E R I N C I P O L L O N E Erin Cipollone is a freelance writer based in Canmore, AB. Her adventures lately consist of chasing a kamikaze toddler around the valley's playgrounds and coffee shops. Erin has a degree in international relations from the University of Calgary and a journalism arts diploma from SAIT. She is the co-founder of Highline Magazine.


A Rockies resident for three decades, Lynn is endlessly inspired by the mountains — for backcountry adventures and for captivating story material. Author of 11 books and hundreds of articles, Lynn’s writing, photos and presentations celebrate the intriguing places, people and culture that make the Canadian Rockies irresistibly distinct.  lynnmartel.ca  Lynn Martel Mountain Writer

J O N AT H A N H I LT Z Jonathan Hiltz is a journalist and TV producer based in Toronto and regularly writes for a number of great publications, including GoodLife Magazine, NUVO and Triathlon Magazine.  jonhiltz.wordpress.com


Born and raised in Newfoundland, Colin spent several of his 10 years in the west sojourning in the Rockies before settling down with his wife and daughter near Nelson, B.C. A professional writer, editor and award-winning nature photographer, Colin’s work is driven by a passion for nature and a mission to make the world a better place.  colinpaynephoto.com  @colinpaynemedia  colinpaynephotography


W h at ’s U p w i th Hi g hl ine

Gettin' busy.



More soup for you! Highline is officially back on a quarterly publication schedule! Show us some love and support for the cause by subscribing to our newsletter [highlineonline.ca/newsletter] and social media channels online. It’s easy to do from our home page at highlineonline.ca.

One of Alberta’s most outspoken and experienced environmental activists, Kevin Van Tighem will be contributing a new column to Highline beginning with this issue’s We Need to Talk. Differently. [p.20]. It’s bound to spark conversation. Send us your thoughts at info@highlineonline.ca.



Highline has partnered with The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival to sponsor the 2015 Mountain Fiction and Poetry award. Stay tuned for features on contenders and winners at highlineonline.ca during the festival [Oct. 31 - Nov. 8] and get your tickets for the evening Book Awards at banffcentre.ca/mountainfestival.

Sign up for our Off the Beaten Path newsletter. It’ll hit your mailbox about once every six weeks and will include a draw for awesome prizes only available to subscribers. November’s prize: a Snomad backpack from The North Face [p.47]. highlineonline.ca/newsletter

HAPPY HOUR WITH THE AC C Cheers to 40 epic years! The Banff Mountain Film and Book Fest turns 40 this year and we are joining with them and the Alpine Club of Canada to bring you a Happy Hour special on Saturday, November 7 from 5-6:30pm in the Eric Harvie Theatre lobby. Purchase a commemorative beer stein and drink for free! That’s right: FREE!


THE ROAD TO NOWHERE SHOW CJSW + Highline = beautiful music. Tune into our boy Will Cowie, host of the Road to Nowhere show, every Tuesday from 12-2pm on CJSW 90.9 FM. It’s your pathway to radio heaven. Indie, folk, country and the inside scoop on stories from the mag.

After years of working together to bring you some good ol’ fashioned fun at our Know Your Neighbour Nights, the Banff Ave Brewing Co has teamed up with the Highline gang to create a brand new brew for the Bow Valley: the Naked Nut - Brown Ale. Slip into your Sunday best and get yourself down to the Brew Co for a sip of nutty brown nectar. Keep your eyes peeled for the official launch and follow us online for up-tothe-minute updates.

HIGHLINE’S FIRST E VER E XHIBITION L AUNCH PART Y Mark your calendars! November 21 is the official opening of Highline’s “Perspectives in Mountain Culture” exhibition at Canmore’s new artsPlace. The gallery space will host 12 framed, large-scale photos selected from Highline’s collection of images from the past seven years of publication. Come out and bid to win one in the silent auction, drink pints and pints of the Highline Mag Naked Nut Brown Ale provided by the Banff Ave Brewing Co, and mingle with Canmore’s finest dirtbags and dreamers. Tickets available on our website at highlineonline.ca as of October 15.




 info@highlineonline.ca

BEAR HUGS to all the cute, locally owned bookshops in mountain towns, doing their dangedest to take care of the elusive Rocky Mountain Bookworm species. Please never break up with us.

BEAR HUGS to brand spankin’ new mountain babes, little

Max and Levitt. xoxo BEAR HUGS to the Blue Toque Diner, grillin' up some

delicious mountain grub Fernie style!!

A big, fat, sweaty MOOSEKNUCKLE to the untimely end of the G8 trail! Say it ain’t so!

MOOSEKNUCKLES to people who still insist on having fruit

trees in their yards that attract bears in to our town to feast on delicious berries and then end up getting relocated and/ or destroyed. Being bear aware means no food attractants in your yard - not composts, bird feeders, or fruit trees.

to knuckleheads who toss their cigarette butts on the street/out the car window. Hello! This is a national park, not your personal ashtray.


Actual BEAR HUGS go out to those of you who are cutting down your fruit trees in the Bow Valley. At first we were kinda pissed, but we know it’s for the best - The Bears.

BEAR HUGS  to the new climbing trail from the meadow to the top of Terminator at the Nordic Centre!  BEAR HUGS to the Town of Banff for giving us the green light to rainbow a crosswalk for this year’s Banff PRIDE! #proudpaint

MOOSEKNUCKLES to beaver schnitzel.


e l o p e m e n t s




a d v e n t u r e s

www.ANDREWPAVLIDIS.com a n d r e w p a v l i d i s


spotlight on



allum Snape is the bee’s knees. This small-town kid (our newly appointed staff photographer and long time advocate of Highline) is riding the wave of nearly-overnight notoriety on the international photography scene. The 24-yearold has a quarter of a million followers among his social media platforms, and it’s about time he gets a local shoutout! On officially joining the team: “I’m stoked to be working with such passionate mountain people. And I'm really looking forward to sharing my experiences with readers who find inspiration in the same sources as I do,” Snape says. Based in Banff (though days at home are a rare luxury these days) he’s a sucker for self-propelled adventure in our beautiful backyard and is a master of sharing that pride and joy with the world. A few highlights from his list of editorial clients include Outside Magazine, Canadian Geographic and the Daily Mail. You have him to thank for the killer cover shot and a couple of other beauties in the pages of this issue. Kudos, and keep ‘em comin’.

 callumsnapephoto.com

 calsnape

 Callum Snape Photography

 @CalSnape



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Jeez, guys. This feedback about the summer issue has us feeling like we could really use a good dose of constructive criticism. Somebody take us down a notch, will ya? Send your thoughts to  info@highlineonline.ca for a chance to be featured.

Greetings from Calgary. I just picked up your magazine at MEC for the first time and I want to congratulate you guys on doing such a masterful job. I am in the art business. I do some consulting for marketing and layout design. Really exceptional stuff you guys are doing here. It’s wonderful to see. Just wanted to congratulate you and wish you well. Cheers. — Michael L, CALGARY

I always look forward to the new issue. Love the fresh approach to journalism, bringing awareness to local issues, and the lively design. The lack of cynicism and hard-sell is soothing. It’s a good reflection of the mountain sensibility. Raising awareness with intelligence and humour works so much better than a knock on the noggin.

I love picking up a new issue of Highline, sitting down with a latte and taking time to feel the shared passion of people who love the mountains. Knowing that the people whose stories and photos I’m reading in the magazine might be sitting right beside me the coffee shop is one of my favourite things about the experience.

I'd throw a parade for you guys if I could, I like the magazine that much.

The photo of the elk sparring under the bridges on the back page [Summer 2015, The Current Issue] is insane. Jeremiah Marsh is a boss.

It is rare to find products where the heart and soul of the people that create them come through. Highline Magazine is one of those rare publications. From the look of every carefully crafted page, to the inspiring stories, to the feel of the pages as you flip them, the essence of something deeper is imbued on the reader.

— Houston N, BANFF



The “Spiced Chickpea Wrap” recipe [Summer 2015, The Current Issue] lives on my fridge door. It’s my new favourite backpacking lunch, and the one luxury I allow myself in my otherwise super light backpack. Thanks to Ms. Wakefield for the inspiration! — Seana L, CANMORE

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Need to Read 2015 words: Joanna Croston




book review


his year’s Banff Mountain Book and Film Festival’s literary game is strong. From memoir to mountaineering history, the fest continues to bring out the best in books. Don’t know where to start your reading list? Look no further, friends.


Too Close to God Jeff Long, Imaginary Mountain Surveyors

The small local publishing team at Imaginary Mountain Surveyors never ceases to amaze. Really, who gets away with actively starting up a publishing house in this digital age, specializing in one of smallest literature genres possible: mountain fiction? Hats off to these guys as they put the doubters to shame with yet another revelatory gem of a book in Too Close to God. Jeff Long is no stranger to mountain lit readers, and this beautifully edited and crafted volume of his most chilling tales of climbing fiction sets the bar high. OK, OK, so Long might just be a New York Times bestselling author who has several titles with the big guns in NYC, but it just serves to highlight the attractiveness of a small press in a small mountain town. It gets the right stories to the right people. “The word is the mountain. Ascent is a physical act, of course, but not before it is an idea built from other ideas, like mountain and summit. We climb upon our language.” – Jeff Long

“The word is the mountain. Ascent is a physical act, of course, but not before it is an idea built from other ideas, like mountain and summit. We climb upon our language.” - Jeff Long



Jeremy Collins, The Mountaineers Books

The climber as visual artist is manifested throughout these vivid, intricate pages of exceptional art. Drawn is a moving tribute to fallen climber Jonny Copp by a good friend and artist trying to find the words to express the sadness of his loss. Naturally Jeremy Collins turns to washes of colour and detailed ink sketches intertwined with memory and stories that convey celebration of life more than tragic death. It’s a cross between a classic mountaineering memoir and Griffin and Sabine (worth the Google search!) because one medium for storytelling seems too insufficient to tell the complex truth of a climber’s life and death. “I’m no mystic, and I don’t think a person literally inhabits a place where their ashes are dropped. In a place like Yosemite, I’m sure there have been a thousand ceremonies like mine, starting way back with those native tribes. But I do believe in the cathartic release for the one performing the ritual. ” – Jeremy Collins

Opposite page illustration: Jeremy Collins



A Youth Wasted Climbing David Chaundy-Smart, Rocky Mountain Books

As a teenager, hoping to escape the lights of the big city and suburban boredom, David ChaundySmart took to the wilderness pockets and crags bordering the city of Toronto. Including many a mishap with his brother Reg, Chaundy-Smart managed to actually ascend a few routes without dying before local climbing mentors intervened and taught the boys a few things about safety. The result? One of Ontario’s leading climbers of the 1980s and 1990s found his calling and put up over 600 new routes, thus establishing a serious climbing community in the East that still thrives to this day. A Youth Wasted Climbing is a boisterous page-turner with awkward teenage love affairs, glam rock bands and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. “A man in a nylon bivouac hammock clipped to a piton a few feet up squirmed free and fell to the ground. A beard ringed his round face, and he had a folded handkerchief tied around his head. His spotless white pants and button-down shirt made William whisper that he looked like Mr. Clean, but he said his name was Bryan.” – David Chaundy-Smart


Alpine Warriors

Bernadette McDonald, Rocky Mountain Books

Bernadette McDonald has done it again, revealing more Eastern European climbers for what they are: truly amazing. This time around, similar to her previous work Freedom Climbers, which mixes politics with mountaineering, Alpine Warriors takes us into the heart of the Yugoslavian civil conflict and the hardcore Slovenian alpine climbing scene. Some familiar names like Tomo Česen, Marko Prezelj and Tomaž Humar appear. But for the most part, the book reveals incredible ferocious climbing feats by total unknowns (at least unknown to the average North American climber). By 1995, all of the 8,000 metre peaks had been summited by Slovenian teams and often by the most difficult lines. Gripping and informative, take your time with Alpine Warriors and, well, prepare to learn and a thing or two.


Rogers Pass: Uptracks, Bootpacks & Bushwhacks Douglas Sproul, GeoBackcountry and Uptrack Publishing

This new comprehensive guide to skiing in Rogers Pass is a beaut to behold for backcountry skiers. The book covers the topic extensively, and with an accompanying mobile app and a high production map as add-ons to purchase, you need go no further to plan your trips into the wintry Selkirks. World renowned powder, secret big lines and local’s-only stashes once thought to be only vicious rumours, are revealed by Douglas Sproul, and no corner of this stellar backcountry destination is left undiscovered. Happy turns y’all; now you really have no excuse.


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W E N E E D T O T A L K . D I F F E R E N T LY.

words: Kevin Van Tighem


photos: Brian Van Tighem


n abandoned road in Jasper National Park winds through the forests and meadows behind Lakes Annette and Edith. It used to be the main drive connecting Jasper Park Lodge to the bridge at Old Fort Point and to the town of Jasper. It fell into disuse after the government bridged the Athabasca River at a more convenient location as part of a project to run a tourist road up the Maligne Valley to Medicine Lake.

The original road is cracked and pitted but still, for the most part, intact. Its unconventional-looking asphalt has a dense, sandy texture. In very hot weather, the surface becomes soft enough to hold boot impressions until the next warm spell softens it again. The road isn’t really surfaced with asphalt but rather paved with bituminous sand brought into the park by train from the Athabasca tar sands northeast of Edmonton. As a kid growing up in Calgary, a few hundred kilometres south of that tar road, I learned about the tar sands in Grade 8. Some day, we were told, somebody might figure out how to get oil out of them. Somebody did. In recognition of their new economic status, the deposits of gooey muck were renamed “oil sands.” The term “tar sands,” instead of the historically authentic term for a material so gummy it was once used to pave a road, became loaded with symbolism. Good Alberta capitalists say “oil sands.” Hippy treehuggers say “tar sands.” Words are meant to be tools; when loaded, however, they become weapons. Stephen Harper knows this well. It’s why he doesn’t allow public servants to have public conversations. Journalists get carefully scripted answers in a oneway conversation where political staffers control the language. You’ll never hear the term “tar sand” from the PMO. You will, however, hear “terrorist” — a useful word for feeding fears regarding citizens who are concerned about rapid tar sand exploitation. Whoever controls the words, controls the conversation. For every idealist trying to get the conversation right, there are others trying to spin it toward their interests. That’s why we need to pay attention to words, and who is using them. When rivers flood, water managers and land developers call for better control rather than more responsible land-use. When fires burn, foresters talk about destruction rather than the ecological renewal of fire-dependent landscapes.


Vested interests steer public conversations toward their preferred outcome by using words like ‘control’, ‘destruction’ and ‘emergency’ rather than toward ecological literacy and serious reflection that might challenge orthodoxy. When the Bow River and its tributaries flooded in June 2013, water management engineers took control of the conversation before the basements were even bailed out. We heard about the need to better control the rivers to prevent future floods. Conveniently, that kind of conversation leads to expensive engineering projects that are as profitable to engineering firms as they are destructive to rivers. Once the problem was defined, the conversation became about where to build flood control structures, not whether we really understood the problem. When then Premier of Alberta Jim Prentice, scavenging for Calgary votes, announced a flood control dam on the Elbow River near Springbank, a real estate developer in Bragg Creek began lobbying instead for a dam farther upstream, near McLean Creek. The conversation had already been framed around the need to tame the river; now the only question was where to send the dam builders.

Floods don’t come from rivers. They come to rivers. They come from landscapes.

But floods don’t come from rivers. They come to rivers. They come from landscapes. The headwaters of the Oldman, Bow, Red Deer and North Saskatchewan Rivers are fragmented, vandalized remnants of what was once a green, living sponge that released groundwater gradually through the seasons. Clean, cold groundwater springs sustained healthy streams, native fisheries and rich riparian wildlife habitats. Now, thanks to clearcut logging, off-road vehicle vandalism and a network of gas well roads, pipelines and other linear disturbances, water runs off the landscape rapidly rather than soaking into the water table. That’s the conversation we didn’t have. . . because dam engineers chose the words we ended up using to define the problem and its solutions. And of course there is the question of the floodplain, where rivers store spring runoff and trap the mud and sand carried by those high flows. The floodplain is part of the river, but only in the spring runoff season. There would be little or no flood damage if there were fewer valuable structures on the


floodplain. But that’s not a conversation that turns shortterm profits or makes politicians popular, so we are steered into a dialogue that leads, ironically, to further destruction. Two years after the flood of 2013, the winter snows melted early, and the June rains passed us by. Instead of floods, in 2015 Western Canada got fires. Predictably, the public conversation was about the hectares of forest destroyed, about crews and machines deployed to “fight” the fires, and the need to head off future disasters. We could have managed some of those fires differently — recognizing them as natural processes that help landscapes adapt to climate change — but that would have required choosing different words and having different conversations than the ones towards which the forest industry was quick to steer us. Floods and fires are natural processes. They keep nature vital, diverse and functioning. They are, in fact, essential. They are not problems; they are part of the solution. It’s how we talk about them, and what that leads us to do or not do, that is the problem. In a crowded world worried about sustainability, where species blink out as public debt grows and places we love become increasingly compromised by failure, it should be obvious that we’ve been having the wrong conversations. Having the right conversation calls for more of us to shout down the vested interests who are always so quick to tell us what we should talk about. Oil billionaires want us to talk about oil sands because oil sounds like jobs. Tar is something mucky and hard to clean up. But those are, in fact, tar sands. Call them what they are, and we can have the more challenging conversations that boreal Alberta and our future sustainability need and deserve. If the only language we have for natural events is the language of disaster, then all our conversations will lead to an ever more-intense war against nature. But a war against nature is, ultimately, a war against our very selves. That sort of war can only be lost. Like the abandoned ribbon of tar sand that winds through Jasper National Park, it’s a road that leads nowhere.

Kevin Van Tighem spent more than three decades studying wildlife, interpreting nature and managing Canada’s mountain national parks. An author of 13 books on conservation-related topics, he lives with wife Gail in Canmore. When not writing or advocating for Canada’s wildlife and wild places, he hikes, paddles, fishes and hunts in Alberta’s foothills and Front Ranges. His newest book Heart Waters, (Rocky Mountain Books), created in partnership with his son Brian Van Tighem, is available in stores.

know your neighbour


words: Corrie DiManno


photo: Georgie Silckerodt


ete Rochacewich is a dirty trash talker. Affectionately known as Garbageman Pete, he relishes the opportunity to converse -- especially with Canmore residents -- about cardboard, cans and other crap. Originally from New Market, Ontario, Rochacewich got a job in public works for the Town of Canmore about a year ago. But he almost quit two weeks in after seeing the staggering amount of stuff a “green” small town throws away. He felt as if the planet was doomed: this is not what sustainability looks like! Instead of putting in his notice, he got busy broadcasting all of Canmore’s dirty little secrets on his Facebook page. Now with 620 followers, Rochacewich has a platform to spread the gospel of garbage. His photo captions are a cry for change, like this one taken from his image of a pile of waste, overflowing from the back wall to the front doors of the Material Recycling Facility: “I don't understand how we can imagine that the planet has the potential to sustain this kind of consuming. I understand that consumerism produces jobs, but I'm tired of hearing it when this is what I see every day. Our system is backwards, upside down, inside out and ridiculous. Reduce, reuse, recycle, landfill — in that order. Please.” While growing up, Rochacewich wanted to be a paleontologist but instead went to school to become a tool and die maker. However, when he’s on the sorting line at work (a conveyor on which the town’s plastic and metal recycling — and loads of other anonymous garbage, unfortunately — go to be separated) he’s still committed to conducting his own form of scientific research: the study of Canmore’s choices. The most disappointing of said choices, for Rochacewich, are exhibited in the volume of plastic bags and disposable coffee cups; disappointing not only because they are the most common, but also because they are the easiest to recycle properly. He attributes this phenomenon to the “time is money” philosophy: “The faster people can get something done, the better. Time is more valuable than money, and it’s faster to just get rid of something than it is to take an extra minute to recycle it or to find someone who can use it.” A case in point is the brand new Italian stovetop coffeemaker Rochacewich plucked off the line, took home and has used to make Americanos every day since. When he’s not educating Canmore about the consequences of their consumerism, he can be found rock climbing in Lake Louise. Check out the trashiest page on Facebook and learn how to be a better recycler with tips from the inside at facebook.com/garbagemanpete.

To nominate a neighbour for this feature, email Corrie at corrie@highlineonline.ca.


BowValleyHomeInspections.com info@BowValleyHomeInspections.com

Bow Valley Home Inspections

Alasdair Cook, Certified Master Inspector

Canmore's Greenest, Comprehensive Home and Property Inspections Utilizing infra-red thermography scans to maximize energy efficiencies Highline_ Spa_Sep2015.pdf 1 9/3/2015 11:34:41 AM

Art. Inspiration. Events. DARCY OAKE: EDGE OF REALITY Master illusionist and sleight-ofhand artist Darcy Oake makes his return to Canada with Edge of Reality. Oake delivers a logicbending and contemporary adaptation of an art form that has entertained for centuries. Suitable for all ages. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 7:30 P.M. ERIC HARVIE THEATRE $30






SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR: CHRISTMAS SHOW Soweto Gospel Choir is arguably one of the most popular vocal groups worldwide. Soweto blends elements of African gospel, reggae and American popular music to be enjoyed by the whole family. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, 4 P.M. ERIC HARVIE THEATRE $45 | SENIOR/STUDENT $40 CHILD $25

Images (L to R): Darcy Oake, photo courtesy of the artist; Soweto Gospel Choir, photo by Lorenzo Di Nozzi.

Coming up: Hofesh Shechter Company: barbarians, Ballet BC: 30th Anniversary Tour, Molly Johnson: Billie Holiday Christmas, Ron James, Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, and many more! PACKAGES AVAILABLE Accommodation, tickets, and breakfast for two from

$180 1.800.884.7574 banffcentre.ca Box Office: 403.762.6301 Note: $2 per ticket processing fee applies to all ticket purchases, to a maximum of $16 per order.

feature artist




Winner of the 2015 Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition

“Sometimes an ordinary moment in life can make for an extraordinary image,” says Slovakian photographer Justa Jeskova of her award-winning 2015 Banff Mountain Photo Essay. What started as a mountain biking trip to Guatemala in search of new trails and diverse landscapes, turned into a cultural journey of story-telling and discovery into the human condition. “We were there for the riding but found so much more,” says Jeskova, who is a selftaught photographer based in Whistler, Canada. “My absolute favourite part of photography is searching out new places, cultures and people. The challenge of capturing that feeling of adventure when journeying into something unknown to you and portraying that to the viewer is a huge motivator for me. I love story telling through my photos, and being able to share that with people is a very big inspiration.” Jeskova’s work has appeared internationally in National Geographic Adventure, Bike, Dirt and Dirt Rag.

Established in 1996, the Banff Mountain Photo Essay Competition recognizes creative excellence in photography on mountain subjects, and includes a Grand Prize of $3,000. The competition aims to showcase the best in mountain-themed photo essays and to recognize the best stories told through a series of still images. To find out more about how to share your next adventure in the 2016 competition, visit banffmountainfestival.ca.

 justajeskova.com  Justa Jeskova Photography  justajeskova top: The bonus of getting up early before the sun go too high was hearing the towns far below come to life and enjoying the sun rise from our perch high above.

bottom: A hand shake. Sometimes an ordinary moment in life can make for an extraordinary image. The Mayan farmers of Lago De Atitlan are among the friendliest in the world.

A hand shake.  Sometimes an ordinary moment in life can make for an extraordinary image.   The Mayan farmers of Lago De Atitlan are among the friendliest in the world.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” — Michael Althsuler

30 Photo: Justa Jeskova.




This kind woman saw us huddling underneath a tree in an intense thunderstorm and invited us into her small home. She took six of us into her cramped home and offered us dry clothing and let me photograph her cooking and weaving – a lesson in kindness I will never forget.

As we were hiking up a mountainside to find some trails, some children from the nearby came out of nowhere and we pushed them up and down the hill while they hung onto any part of the bike they could. Those smiles and laughter are something I remember vividly to this day. Â


MOUNTAIN PEOPLE, UNITE! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag your mountain moments with #mountainpeopleunite for a chance to be featured here in the next issue. ď…­ HIGHLINEMAG


Can't get enough? You can win an overnight trip for two to backcountry luxury at Sundance Lodge. Entering is simple; 1. Follow us on Instagram 2. Upload your adventure photos with #HighlineHutlife 3. Tag @highlinemag in your pic. Winners will be announced in the winter 2015/16 issue.

Congrats t o Cour tney Crow e (@ t hebanf f diaries) f or capturing our f avourite shot f rom t his summer. She's w on herself a Fjallraven Kanken backpack f rom Valhalla Pure Out f it ters in Canmore. Sw eet !










NANCY HANSEN'S RADICAL APPROACH words: Lynn Martel // cover photo: John Price



A Canmore resident for two decades, Nancy Hansen’s enthusiasm has been unrivalled since she began climbing in 1995. In 2003, after summiting 3,612metre Mount Forbes, she became the first woman, and only sixth person to climb all 54 of the Canadian Rockies’ peaks above 3,353 metres (11,000 feet), many of them remote and heavily glaciated. Adding to a long and impressive check list, with 46 summits completed, she has climbed more of the peaks listed in Roper and Steck’s book, Fifty Classic Climbs of North America than anyone else. And now, she stood on the approach to climb the world’s biggest mountain.


iking the 22-kilometre route from Mount Everest’s north side Rongbuk Glacier base camp to advanced base camp was a dream adventure.

Early along the trail Hansen and her partner, German alpinist Ralf Dujmovits, reached a partially frozen pond nestled in a corridor fenced by a massive 1,000-metre-high moraine running for two kilometres on the upslope side, with a small, five-metre moraine on the other. Playfully, she tested the pond’s icy surface. “I stepped on it and it made a sound. Then it moved and sort of made a big wave.” Attempting to repeat the experience, she jumped hard on the ice. The resulting succession of waves were so powerful she and Dujmovits nearly fell over. Before they had time to wonder how she had caused such a dynamic reaction, massive boulders began bouncing and crashing down the steep side of the massive moraine. Suddenly they were running for their lives, scrambling as fast as they could up the smaller moraine to watch boulders explode on the corridor floor. “The whole sky was full of dust and rocks,” Hansen says. “Big boulders were coming down right toward us. I was thinking, ‘Holy crap, what did I just do?’ It was too weird, totally bizarre.” Indeed, the timing of Hansen’s pond jumps was utterly bizarre, coinciding exactly with the two major tremors that rocked the Himalayan nation of Nepal on April 25, 2015, demolishing entire villages and killing more than 9,000 people – including 19 on Everest’s south side - and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Both Campbell and Carter believed strongly that Canmore’s peaks should be accessible to all, so the group officially went rogue in the fight to open up summits to hikers, rather than just to those who were able and willing to navigate cliffs and scramble through scree.


Growing up on an acreage outside Edmonton, as the youngest of four kids (her closest sibling is six years older), Hansen remedied boredom – which she detested – by making friends with the dogs, horses, cats, chickens, rabbits and cows. Eager to escape Edmonton after graduation, her plans to tour Greece and Italy fell through after her female travel partner backed out. Hansen was keen to go solo, but her parents nixed that. So she joined some male friends heading to Australia, then ditched them after a week. She worked on a prawn trawler as a deck hand/cook for multi-month stints totalling a full year. “I loved it. It was so different from Edmonton, like being on a different planet,” Hansen recalls. “Out on warm open water, we pulled up the most amazing things from the depths of the ocean.” On land, she rode her Ducati motorbike to weekend music festivals with friends. For fun, they raced on twisty roads; sometimes she won. Six and a half years and a geology degree later, when she was offered a professional position, she turned it down, knowing it would mean staying there. She tried living in Vancouver for a couple of months but hated it. Her sister and brother-in-law living in Canmore invited her to try mountain life. “I gave up a job as a geologist and went to work at the Sunshine ski school desk for $6.50 an hour,” Hansen laughs. Within a month she met Doug Fulford, Sunshine Village’s assistant controller. Their first date was at the diminutive Banff Community High School climbing wall. With little experience, they begged to join Alpine Club of Canada volunteer-led trips, beginning with Mount Fay above Banff National Park’s Moraine Lake. “It rained. It hailed. It was a complete whiteout. We got soaking wet, and we froze,” Hansen remembers clearly. “Doug made the world’s worst oatmeal for breakfast, and I nearly threw up from the altitude and runny oatmeal. Following Kelly Adams - she mentored us for years afterward – we ventured into the whiteout towards Mount Fay, but turned back when we were all close to hypothermia. That was the trip where we fell in love with mountain climbing. Seriously.” A self-professed “list person,” Hansen completed the Canadian Rockies’ 11,000ers – including being knocked unconscious and heli-evacuated from Goodsir South – in only seven years, half the time of any others. While Fulford was always her main climbing partner, Calgary’s Bill Corbett, author of a book on the 11,000ers, was another. While

descending notoriously elusive Mount Alberta they were forced to bivy on the summit ridge above 3,353 metres. Hansen snuggled up with an ice block for a pillow. “It was a long, miserable night, with too much shivering and teeth chattering to get much sleep. Yet Nancy remained quite cheerful throughout,” Corbett says. “She kept the equanimity that allowed us to do the endless rappelling down the rotten face and eventually get down to safer ground.” Hansen soon embraced the never-done Fifty Classics, poring over maps and doggedly recruiting partners for the cold, snowy alpine routes. Harvie Heights’ Renée Lavergne was one. To acclimatize for the D1 route on Colorado’s 4,344-metre Longs Peak, they climbed a 5.11 route, Vertical Sanctuary. A hiker on a nearby col shouted to them that a storm not visible from their stance was approaching. “Nancy just started climbing, there was never a discussion,” Lavergne says. “She on-sighted the pitch; it took her an hour. She just kept climbing right through the middle of the storm. She’s so focused, so much intensity. Nothing deters this woman.” Climbing D1 was less intense, despite ice sheets falling from the face beside them all day, capping what Lavergne called, “a super fun trip.” “Fun,” however, took on a whole new meaning during their soggy expedition to Alaska’s Kichatna Range to climb Middle Triple Peak’s East Buttress. In 2012, Hansen and partner Holly Beck were dropped off by bush plane and hauled 136 kilograms of food and gear over a steep, glaciated pass only to discover the bottom 40 metres of the route had dropped off the mountain. Hansen returned with Lavergne the following spring only to be confined to their tent for 17 days with no books, no iPod, dwindling food and toilet paper rations, and water seeping into the tent and 4°C temperatures. They wrote songs and mock commercials that they filmed themselves performing, thanks to robust camera batteries. While Hansen is the first to credit Lavergne for keeping the team spirit up, Lavergne shared the sentiment. “We didn’t dwell on it; we just focused on the task at hand. It would have been easy to pout in the tent all day long, but we just got creative instead. It was a good place to channel our energy. Nancy is a glass three-quarters full kind of person. She sees the possibilities, not the obstacles.” Chasing possibilities, in 2014 Hansen headed to the Yukon with Wade Suvan and Monte Johnston to attempt two of her remaining Fifty Classics : the only twice-climbed


Abruzzi Ridge on Mount Saint Elias; and Mount Logan’s Hummingbird Ridge, climbed once, in 1965. Poor weather and Suvan’s broken ski biding - Hansen refused to continue without him – denied them Saint Elias’ summit. After Johnston left, Hansen and Suvan endured a week of hurricane-force snow storms. “It was so easy compared to the Kichatnas!” Hansen recalls. “When you set the bar really, really low, everything else seems like a holiday. That’s the secret. Have the worst experience possible, and everything else will feel like a beach holiday.”

From the beginning, everything about the Everest expedition was different. After 17 years of marriage, in 2014 Hansen and Fulford parted. Soon afterward, Dujmovits (the first German and 16th person to climb the world’s fourteen 8,000-metre peaks) whom she’d met at the 2012 Banff Mountain Film Festival, invited her to climb Everest with him. It would be his seventh attempt on Everest without bottled oxygen, and her first. Unlike all her previous climbs, which she organized herself, her new partner in love and adventure had everything planned. A public fundraising effort, another first for Hansen, met great success.

“What did I feel? A mixture of relief and guilt and sadness. Sad that I couldn’t do anything but watch.” Her first sight of Everest, from the small Tibetan village of Tingri, was unforgettable. “I had always had a secret desire to climb Everest but thought the chances were about the same as going to the moon,” she says. “I felt in awe of it, scared and really, really excited all at once.” From multiple sightings during their approach, their objective, the only twice-climbed Norton Couloir, appeared to be in good condition. They were stoked. Then the world shook. Their beach holiday was over; the worst yet to come.

Nancy and Ralf in Tingri Tibet with the north face of Everest to their left and the north face of Cho Oyu to their right. Photo: Ralf Dujmovits 37

From top to bottom, left to right, photos: Ralf Dujmovits, Wade Suvan, Ralf Dujmovits, Felix Camire


At advanced base camp with no satellite phone (still in transit), information was sparse. Rattled by more earthquakes and aftershocks, after five nights they returned to base camp to be greeted by China Tibet Mountaineering Association officials who drove them for 14 hours to Lhasa. They spent a few days sightseeing, shooting photos and video of Tibetans openly displaying Dalai Lama images. “Lhasa was clean, beautiful, interesting, extremely peaceful, but always with a policeman over your shoulder,” Hansen recollects. With little information about the earthquake available through Tibet’s “filtered” Internet, they organized flights to Nepal to visit three schools Dujmovits had helped build. They packed to be self-sufficient with a tent, sleeping bags, stove and food. Landing in Kathmandu two weeks after the big quake, Hansen was surprised by the semblance of normalcy. “We drove to the hotel; everything looked fine,” she says. “We saw very little damage in Kathmandu, just little pockets.” The chief organizer with the German/Austrian NGO that built the schools, Nepalhilfe Beilngries, arranged for them to travel to a village with a medical team. “That was when we saw the real destruction,” Hansen says. “We passed through about 15 villages, and in every one of them 80 to 85 per cent of the homes and buildings were flattened. It was grim. At the end of the day I felt like somebody had torn my soul out. I was gutted.” For several days they travelled from village to village where people lived under tarps. While aid groups had handed out bags of rice, toothpaste and soap, nobody had what they needed most – tools to move piles of shattered bricks. “It was an interesting time to be there, between weeks two and three,” Hansen says. “People were going through a transition, starting to realize their reality. The tourists were gone; the aid workers were leaving. They started to get really desperate about their future. And there was no help. They were left to fend for themselves.”

After Dujmovits flew home to Germany, Hansen was alone for a few days awaiting her flight. “I got approached constantly,” she says with a sigh. “I can’t help 29 million people. I had a bike, I rode around. I took as many photos as I could. It was hard. People in such despair. I really felt like the best I could do for these people was not to forget about them.” The lively, vibrant Kathmandu Hansen had instantly liked


upon arrival had suddenly ceased to be. “The standard of living had looked pretty good. They seemed to be doing well,” she said. “That was part of what was so crushing. Everything had just been taken away from them.” The only upside, she says, was that it happened on a Saturday, when most people were outside, and children weren’t in the schools that collapsed. While she was sitting on her hotel bed, though, the second major earthquake hit. “I was on the third floor, and the whole building was swaying back and forth; my bed was jumping,” she says. “It felt like turbulence in an airplane. I sat there hoping it would stop. People were screaming and crying. Everyone ran outside, out of their homes and businesses. When I left two days later, they still hadn’t gone back inside. Everything was still closed. What did I feel? A mixture of relief and guilt and sadness. Sad that I couldn’t do anything but watch.” For the first time in her life, Hansen admitted her optimism had been dented. “It definitely challenged me, challenged my positive attitude. I can’t find words to describe how much bigger that situation was than me,” she says. “I felt so helpless. It was, and still is, hard for me to find something positive to say about that situation. I hope they get help from foreigners, and that something can change their government corruption. That’s a big problem.” “For me, the experience made me more compassionate to suffering. To see the looks on peoples’ faces – I think it made me more humble. Stuff that seemed important isn’t anymore. And I’m not sure I’ve reached a peak with it yet.” That said, at 46 years old Hansen is moving forward, planning to share her photos in slide shows and organizing future adventures with Dujmovits - possibly Everest, perhaps Hummingbird Ridge, probably one of Nepal’s unclimbed 7,000-metre peaks. “Ralf and I both enjoy aiming for difficult goals. We thrive on it. We have lots and lots of plans.”

You Can Help Nepal by Visiting Nepal - Only 10 out of 75 districts and 1 out of 10 national parks is affected. - No damage to (inter)national airports, highways and subways. - Only 3 out of 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites have around 40% damages. - Only two out of 35 tracking routes are affected - Hospital and clinics are safe and in operation. No viral diseases. - Communication is perfect *Statistics gathered by My Holiday Nepal (myholidaynepal.com) Also, if you would like to donate to the relief efforts in Nepal, we recommend putting your dollars to use through doctorswithoutborders.org



words: Colin Payne // cover photo: Dan Rafla



T H E C L I M AT E S , T H E Y A R E A’ C H A N G I N ’.

It is early morning, and I am alone at the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. The early-July sun beams down brightly, and the crisp subalpine breeze makes me wish I wore something just a bit warmer.


emmed in by lofty, glacier-hatted peaks that glow orange in the morning sun, and faced with a that hundreds of thousands of people travel from all over the world to see each year, you would think it would be an opportunity for me to celebrate the grandeur of nature and to revel in the in the surrounding beauty. But instead, it feels more like a solitary funeral ritual. The Athabasca Glacier and the rest of its kin throughout Western Canada are dying, in large part due to anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. And with the loss of glaciers, much of what we mountain folk hold dear about the places we love will be washed away. Our little pieces of paradise – along with the planet as a whole – will become much different and more difficult places to live.

“If glaciers haven’t got a collection area, they can’t sustain themselves, and they’re going to fade away,” says Clarke, who has been studying glaciers since 1962. Glaciers in the Rockies, which aren’t that thick in the first place, are currently thinning at the rate of at least half a meter per year. And since they can maintain their surface area while still losing thickness, Clarke says the study’s projections show their disappearance could be quite sudden. “The sense of loss is not an immediate one. You can see the area of a glacier, and it seems like it’s not changing dramatically from one year to the next,” he explains. “But the thickness is losing ground continually, and eventually you come to the glacier’s bottom and hit bedrock. “You don’t get the sense that much is happening until 2050. Then it seems everything just starts to vapourize.”

N O W Y O U S E E I T; N O W Y O U D O N ’ T

A recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, entitled “Projected De-glaciation of Western Canada in the Twenty-first Century,” uses observational data, computer models and climate simulations to predict the future of individual glaciers in the mountains of Western Canada. Released in April 2015, it reveals that 70 per cent of the glacial ice could be gone in the next 85 years, including a 90 per cent glacier loss in the Rockies. The study creates four different climate change scenarios, ranging from two to eight degrees Celsius of global temperature increase, and examines how each would affect the melting of Canada’s mountain glaciers. “If temperatures rise more than 2.5 degrees, little will be left of the mountain glaciers by 2100,” explains study co-author Garry Clarke, professor emeritus of glaciology at the University of British Columbia. Clarke explains that glaciers need a collection area — part of the glacier that stays covered in snow throughout the summer — in order to maintain their mass. If warming temperatures cause all the snow on glaciers to melt during warmer months, exposing bare ice to the sun, this process will spell their eventual demise.

According to the study, the only mountains in Western Canada likely to have glaciers remaining by the end of the 21st century are those in the far northwest of British Columbia. The rest, defrocked of their glistening glacial covers, will be reminiscent of mountains much further south. “Soon, our mountains could look like those in Colorado or California,” Clarke notes. “And you don’t see much ice in those landscapes.”


The evidence of this demise and its consequences are literally written all over the scene here at the Athabasca Glacier. Signs posted at the base show exactly how far it has receded (a total of 1,500 metres) in the past 125 years. During that time it has also lost more than half its volume, and continues to recede at a rate of five to 10 metres per year. Another sign tells the hundreds of thousands of visitors who arrive here each year that if the Athabasca Glacier continues to recede at its current rate, eventually little will remain of it. Instead, a large lake may take its place. Complete with an illustration of a glacier-vacant valley, the sign only skims the surface of the consequences of this loss.


“Within the next three generations, the Athabasca Glacier and the water it provides to communities across Western North America may almost disappear,” it reads. “Strong scientific evidence points to human activities as the primary cause of climate change.” What the sign fails to explain though is the larger consequences of glacial melt, which may make life in the mountains and prairies surrounding it much more difficult in the decades to come. Canmore-based hydrologist John Pomeroy knows all too well what melting glaciers mean for the environment. Pomeroy, director of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan, and Canada research chair in Water Resources and Climate Change, likens glaciers to a “deep savings account” for water that provide much-needed flow in the late summer and fall after snows melt. “Warming temperatures,” he explains, “are already causing us to dip into that savings account. Warmer temperatures means snowfall is often replaced by rain, which leads to a thinner alpine snowpack. This not only reduces the amount of snow that can melt and feed waterways in the spring, but also means glaciers lose their reflective, snow-white cover earlier and melt more quickly. “All these things start to connect with each other,” Pomeroy notes. “We’ve had a water bonus in glaciers, and it’s getting smaller and smaller… When we lose the glaciers, we lose that deep savings account. So in a hot summer, stream flows will become very, very small – much smaller than we’re experiencing now.” He points to the winter and summer of 2015 as a preview of what’s to come: “We’re going to see a series of crises, and perhaps we already are. This last winter was a disaster for ski areas in B.C. and a challenging one for ski areas here in Alberta. There was fire and record drought in Southern B.C. and Saskatchewan; and you've got the Bow River flowing at one tenth of what it should be at the mouth of the river. “With further warming, we will eventually see very sparse glacier coverage in the Rockies. It’s going to become a much more challenging place to live. When we do get these droughts, which will become more frequent as the climate warms, there will be less water in our deep savings to deal with them.”


This phenomenon couldn’t be more evident than it is today, here at the foot of the Athabasca Glacier. To the east of me, Alberta farmers grapple with massive agricultural disasters brought on by water shortages. To the west of me, wildfires rage throughout a drought-stricken B.C. In front of me, there is a glacier that’s clearly dying. In early July, there is no snow on the part of the glacier that is visible to me. Instead, it is covered by dark silt that attracts more heat from the sun. A sign warns me not to approach the glacier, as the lake that could eventually replace the mass of ice has already begun to form beneath its surface – making it dangerous and unstable to go close. In the mountain morning silence, I can hear the glacier creaking, groaning and grinding. It sounds like the moaning of an injured animal, struggling for life. From its base, like grey-green blood, flows a steady stream of melt water.



Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort is taking what some might call the direct approach to saving its starving Horstman Glacier. High atop Blackcomb Mountain, the glacier is home to two T-bars, a half pipe, terrain park, mogul field and racing lanes. Horstman sees thousands of visitors each summer who come either to ski for fun or attend the private and national team training camps hosted there. Arthur De Jong, mountain planning and environmental resource manager at Whistler Blackcomb has been keeping track of Horstman’s health since he started working as a ski patroller in 1980. “In order to sustain our summer operations, we’re at a point now where we need to interject and put snowmaking on top of the glacier,” De Jong explains, noting that the first step happens this summer with the installation of five snow guns as a pilot project. If those guns are able to hit their benchmarks, he says a total of 26 guns will be installed at the top of the glacier. “That number of guns, based on the ratings and assumptions we’ve made would be enough to reverse the declining mass of the glacier.” Based on decades of data, the guns will have to be able to annually put back about 500,000 cubic metres of ice to preserve the glacier. And since machine-made snow has a higher density than that made by Mother Nature, De Jong says it has better staying power to last the summer and to help meet that lofty target. “If we can maintain that white colour into the fall, at that point we should have a good jump on keeping the melt under control to some degree,” he says. According to a recent UBC study, with a 4º Celsius global temperature increase, the Horstman Glacier would be all but gone by the year 2050. When presented with this scenario and asked how long he expects the artificial snow can sustain the Blackcomb Glacier, De Jong said only that the equipment being installed has an expected life span of 30 to 40 years – which would take it to about mid-century.

“Soon, our mountains could look like those in Colorado or California, and you don’t see much ice in those landscapes.” Water from the Columbia Icefields feeds three major rivers that flow across the continent into three different oceans – providing fresh water for millions of people and countless other living beings along the way. Like the waters from the Icefields, the effects of a warming climate and melting glaciers will course outwards and have impacts far beyond these mountain walls, throughout North America and around the world.


Amongst other titles, Sandford is the EPCOR chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. Along with having written several books on the topic, Sandford speaks about water policy and water issues across the country. He says climate change is causing major changes in the water cycle throughout North America and in the process, is bringing about more extreme weather events such as increasingly severe storms like Hurricane Sandy on the east coast, and major droughts such as the one that has been happening in California for the past five years. And it could just be the beginning. “We’ve reached the level of 400 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere,” Sandford explains. “A lot of atmospheric physicists think this might be the threshold beyond which step-like changes in the climate system can occur very quickly. Some climatologists believe we might be witnessing the beginning of a long-awaited jump in global temperatures by as much as 3 degrees Celsius. Change of this magnitude can occur in as little time as a few months. Many scientists are fearful this is what’s happening in California.” When combined with the current drier-than-normal conditions being brought about by the El Niño weather phenomenon we’re currently experiencing, Sandford says scientists fear that drought could become the new normal.

“You’ve got a cyclic return of drier (weather) conditions combined with the effects of warming brought about by changes in the composition of the atmosphere. So there’s a danger of passing over an invisible threshold in the combination of those two events, into a new hydro-climatic regime in which drier conditions could prevail.” Sandford says that glaciers are the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to the inner workings of water in North America. “They’re one of the most significant symbols of climate effects that you could possibly find.” He adds that the effects of glacial melt and decreased snowpack will reach beyond the grand disasters of drought, pestilence and forest fires into every aspect of our societies. “This should be of great concern not only from an environmental point of view, but from an economic point of view,” Sandford points out. “The economic costs of dealing with these increased consequences of warming are making it impossible to do other things we need to do socially: like health care, education and so many other things we want. It puts pressure on the whole system. This is a big deal. What you’ve done is pulled a pretty important thread out of the whole cloth.”


The still, silent air is pierced by a sudden enthusiastic shriek of “Dada, Dada!” I turn to see my toddler bounding along with her mom across the moon-like surface of the Athabasca Glacier’s most recent recessional moraine. Immense questions immediately flood to mind. What kind of world will she inherit? What will her life be like? Will glaciers like this one still exist when she is an adult? And, most importantly, is there anything we can do to help avoid the catastrophic scenario currently laid out before us?


According to Clarke, the only scenario that could allow glaciers to remain in the mountains involves keeping atmospheric warming to no more than 2 degrees, but also notes that many people think we have already passed the point where that’s possible. “It would involve taking actions to really taper off to roughly zero emissions by 2030,” Clarke explains. “Which, if you start thinking about long term things like putting in LNG (liquefied natural gas) plants and pipelines, there’s a really big disconnect between plans for developing fossil fuels and the idea that we actually have to get to zero emissions in a few decades. “By its inaction, the Canadian government appears to be abandoning any commitment to keep global average warming below the 2 degree Celsius ceiling that might avoid dangerous levels of climate change. The path we are currently on would have us exceed 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. We need to put on the brakes very fast." For Sandford, the key to approaching these vast concerns is to keep in mind that we aren’t helpless, and our actions can help make the world a more livable place in the future.

Photo: Maarten van Haeren

“People feel helpless but they’re not,” Sandford says. “Water is one of the ways we can get to this issue, where you can avoid a lot of deeply entrenched adversarialism over climate issues. . . I think it would be helpful if people knew where their water came from. How much do we use, and what do


we use it for? It would be helpful if we all understood that no matter where we live, we can’t count on having the same amount and quality of water that’s available to us now available in the same way in the future. “We need to work backward from that idea of increasing scarcity to figure out how we should act accordingly, to take an interest in this and to realize these are serious, real issues – not just put forward by scientists, but now recognized by the World Bank as major threats to the economies of the world and our current prosperity. If melt continues in this way, the West in which we live now will be unrecognizable in 50 years.” He adds that taking action on climate change doesn’t have to be complicated. It can start here at home, in the mountains. “We should be thinking about our communities and saying, ‘we love this place. This is home to us. This is where we have our sense of place. What do we have to do to preserve that sense of place, that quality of landscape; so we can preserve our economy, so all of us don’t have to leave because of declines we just simply ignored?” “I think it’s really important that people understand this is something we have to face. We don’t like it; it’s one of those things that are just antithetical to human nature to have to address. But we have to pay attention to it. We have to do it for our own sake and for the world we’re creating for those who follow after us.”


Fresh for fall

46 photo: Maarten van Haeren

gear guide


east your eyes on our wild gang's favourite picks for the fall season. We've fallen for these rad products and we know you will too!




4. 5.


1. Solid & reliable, Treeline Skookumchuck lambs wool socks are built for fishing rough waters and trekking mountain ridges, keeping you warm and dry. $30 Available in Calgary at a The Livery, Meraki Supply, The Gear Shop, Luke's Drug Mart, and Fish Tales. 2. The Sorel Slimboot Lace Boots (Women’s). Eye-catching colours and a leather wrapped heel make these standouts in a world of basic boots. The buttery soft leather and canvas uppers deliver weather-protection and a hit of western style. $175 at MEC. 3. The CUBE® Mood & Utility LED Light is a handy little lantern or tabletop lamp with three levels of brightness, an emergency flash mode, and one trippy multi-colour setting. Adds mood in your campsite or on your bedside table. Retails at $29.90 USD at enevu.com and shipping is free. 4. An insulation breakthrough: The award winning Nano-Air ® Hoody featuring exclusive FullRange™ insulation is warm, stretchy and so breathable, you can wear it for the entirety of any highly aerobic start-stop mission in the mountains. Put it on and leave it on. $349 at Patagonia Elements Banff and Calgary. 5. Palladium Pallabrouse Baggy Plus 2 Boots (Men's). Slick combo of classic textures – leather, canvas, felt – and at the base of it all, rubber outsoles keep you surefooted on mellow afternoon meanders. $155 at MEC. 6. The ultimate ski touring backpack, the Snomad ® is packed with purpose-built features to organize your gear for a huge day in the backcountry. Quick-access dedicated avy-tools pocket, A-frame or diagonal ski carry, hip belt pocket and tool loop, patented glove stash, and reinforced high-abrasion areas. 34 and 24 Litre option available from $149.99 - $179.99. Available at The North Face Banff.



ABRAHAM LAKE N AT U R E ’ S L I T T L E D U T C H O V E N words: Jonathan Hiltz


photo: Callum Snape


he expulsion of gas is very rarely a welcomed event; just ask anyone who has invited extended-family relatives over for Thanksgiving dinner. Yet every winter at Abraham Lake, locals and tourists alike flock to this body of water on the upper course of the North Saskatchewan River in Western Alberta. They arrive to witness a stunning display of frozen methane gas bubbles that slowly float to the surface. These bubbles create a spectacular tableau of shapes and designs that would render Jackson Pollock speechless. Abraham Lake is a man-made body of water that was created in 1972 with the construction of the Bighorn Dam at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Named after Silas Abraham — who was a guide for many early explorers of the area — in recent years, the natural phenomenon of gas bubbles has attracted photographers, hikers, fishing enthusiasts and many more nature buffs owing to its milky blue colour year round and, in particular, to the stunning icy artwork in the winter. So how does the lake produce these frozen bubbles? They are created when bacteria in the water eat dead plant and animal matter, and then, as a result of “digestion,” release methane. In the summer months, the methane simply rises to the surface, floats out into the atmosphere, and people are none the wiser; but in the cold months of winter, these bubbles become temporarily frozen in time, creating a gorgeous display of natural artwork. The area does not have many activities set up for tourists in the winter, since most flock here during the warmer months. However, if you are determined to see this phenomenon first hand then it is there for the taking. The lake is approximately half an hour west of the town of Nordegg on Hwy 11 (David Thompson Hwy).


Folks should not walk on the lake unless they know how to read the ice as most of it can be only a foot thick; there are patches of thin ice all around, especially close to the shore lines. The area can be very windy too, so prepare for wind chill when you’re bundling up. Also keep in mind that if there has been a snowfall, it may take a few days for the snow to clear in order to see the bubbles below. Even given these precautions, this experience has bucket list written all over it. So grab your camera, your buddies, and think of your best gas-related captions for Instagram on the car ride over.


bushcraft FALL








how -to


he moment has arrived: the sun will soon be tucked behind the mountains; birds chirp an evening lullaby; and bellies are full of, well, let’s be honest, probably hot dogs and potato chips — it’s the magical hour of the campfire. Your companions for the evening are likely: a) your friends, drawn like moths to the campfire’s flames and will, if unprovoked — except for the occasional cooler run — remain hypnotized for hours by the blaze; or (b) your children, in which case by now they’re defiantly karate chopping your last nerve as you quietly debate with your spouse whose turn it is to throw them a bone. Either way, why not introduce knives to the situation (carving knives, of course!), and then see what happens? In this instalment of Highline’s bushcraft series, Mahikan Trails’ Dave Holder shows us how to carve a spoon from wood found in a campfire bundle. Bushcraft is typically thought of in the survivalist sense — skills needed to keep from giving up the ghost in the wilderness — but, here at Highline, you’re invited to consider the art of bushcraft as a way to get better acquainted with nature. Our aim is to teach skills that readers can share with their families or channel to impress their buddies — an alternative outdoor adventure. So pull up a tree stump and a sharp blade, and let’s get down to whittlin’.











Pick your tools A few fundamental tools will help coax a spoon from wood: a Mora knife (or typical bush knife with a blade about as long as your hand), sandpaper, an antler tine and beeswax. If so inclined, carving knives such as those pictured here can be purchased from Lee Valley Tools. Take our word for it: don’t use a folding knife; a rigid blade is key.

Choose a cord of wood The wood found in a campfire bundle is typically a softwood such as pine or spruce. Choose a piece that has a long, straight grain and few knots — unless you’re the kind of person who favours a struggle.

2 Split the wood


Using a bush knife and a log as a hammer, split off a piece of wood about the thickness of a pinky finger and as wide as the bowl of the spoon. This is surprisingly easy and satisfying.

Draw an outline Feeling confident? Freehand that sucker. If not, and there’s a spoon handy, use it to draw a rough outline of the soon-to-be masterpiece on the piece of wood. Use a chunk of charcoal from the fire for a more outdoorsy feel.



Shape the spoon The carving direction is very important. From mid-bowl to the end of the handle, carve towards the handle. From mid-bowl to the top of the spoon, carve towards the top of the spoon. This means carving from the fat part to the skinny part to avoid cutting into the grain and losing a portion of the spoon. Next, determine which side of the wood will be the top of the bowl and which will be the bottom. If there’s any damaged wood to be carved out in the centre, use that as the top of the bowl of the spoon. If there’s damage along what will be the edge of the bowl, use that as the bottom as it will be shaped out. Keep in mind minor damage or imperfections in the wood can actually have a neat effect on the finished product.



Carve out the bowl If you’ve got a spoon knife (with a curved blade, pictured above), now’s its time to shine — wiggle its blade across the bowl area “scooping” out the wood. If you’re using a bush knife, hold the knife like a pencil and crosshatch the bowl area, then use the blade to pry out small chunks of wood. Aim to make the depth of the bowl about half the thickness of the wood.

Sand, burnish and wax If there’s sandpaper handy, super; if not, sandstone can be used to rub down the coarse edges of the spoon. Then, an antler tine or bone from dinner is perfect for burnishing the wood to close off the fibre, says Holder. Rub it quickly back and forth across the wood. (Please do not attempt to approach an ungulate to complete this process.) The wood can also be dyed with wild berries before waxing; the colour won’t last but it’s another way to reach out and touch a bit of nature. Lastly, rub bees wax into the wood to seal and extend the life of the spoon. To care for this object of desire, after each use, wash it with dish soap and re-wax.

TA - D A ! And that covers it – how to scratch a spoon out of firewood. To watch the experts at Mahikan Trails do it, check out the video on highlineonline.ca/wannaspoon


7 Next issue: natural remedies for life-threatening knife wounds




words + photos: Amy Victoria Wakefield

For more recipe ideas visit hike365.org or follow on Instagram @hikes365


Roasted vegetable platter: 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 rounds 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 rounds


his one’s for Ontario expats now living in the Rockies: a buffet of sorts with the catch of the day as the centrepiece. Inspired by the cold waters of Lake Superior, this recipe uses fresh ingredients and can easily be made at campsites during autumn for a warm meal around the campfire after a day on the water or on the trail. This meal pairs nicely with a pecan pumpkin seed bar for dessert (recipe can be found at hike365.org).

Grape seed oil Fresh basil, roughly chopped 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts 1 lemon Tahini dressing: 1/4 cup tahini 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 minced garlic clove 3-5 tbsp warm water Salt and pepper to taste


Mix the sweet potato rounds in a bit of grape seed oil until lightly coated. Place the onion rounds on a plate and carefully coat the rounds on both sides with grape seed oil. Then grill at a medium heat on a portable BBQ or campfire grate until charred. Flip. Cook until charred and softened all the way through. Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar, adding warm water to make a pourable consistency. Layer the sweet potato, onions, pine nuts and basil on a platter. Drizzle with half of the dressing. Let it rest and get to making the fish nuggets!

Cajun trout bites: 1 lb of trout fillets or any white fish, skinned, de-boned and cut into bite-sized pieces 3 eggs 2 tbsp of beer on hand 1 tsp of your favourite hot sauce 1 tbsp of granulated garlic 1 tsp of onion powder 1 tsp of smoked paprika 1/2 tsp of ground cumin 1/2 tsp of freshly ground pepper 1 tsp chili powder 1/2 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp of Himalaya salt 1 cup of white flour 2 cups of panko style bread crumbs Grape seed oil Salted butter


1. Whisk the eggs and hot sauce together in a bowl, then gently stir in the beer. On one plate, mix all of the dry herbs and spread the flour evenly. On another plate, evenly distribute the panko crumbs. 2. Place a few trout nuggets into the spiced flour mixture and roll the nuggets around until lightly coated. Drench one nugget in egg mixture, letting the excess drip off when it’s lifted out. Place the nuggets on the panko crumb plate, rolling until fully coated. Place on a piece of paper towel. Repeat this process for all of the nuggets. 3. In a cast iron skillet, heat about ½ cup of grape seed oil and a few slices of butter on medium high. When the surface of the mixture has a sheen to it, you’re ready to go! Place the nuggets gently into the hot oil in a single layer and fry for approximately four minutes, or until golden brown. Flip and cook for approximately four minutes. Remove from the pan and place on dry paper towel to rest. Repeat with remaining nuggets. 4. Add the trout nuggets on top of the vegetable platter, drizzle with remaining dressing, lemon wedges and fresh pepper. Grab your forks, squeeze the lemon and enjoy!





October 16 - 25 // Jasper

November 5 // Banff

Jasper's Dark Sky invites stargazing adventurers to get lost in the wonder of one of the world's largest dark sky preserves. As the days get shorter, October is the ideal time to celebrate the skies through this ever-growing celebration aimed at connecting all ages to our universe and beyond. Featuring Col. Chris Hadfield and former co-hosts of Discovery channel's “Mythbusters.” jasperdarksky.travel

Shine bright like a Banffite! Come celebrate the bold and bright lights in our community with us. banffshine.com


November 13 // Canmore  B A NF F M O UN TAIN FIL M AND BO OK FESTIVAL

October 31 – November 8 // Banff

With a rock star lineup of crusty old alpinists, cutting edge wall climbers and, of course, Joe Nobody, this year’s theme is “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” In its 15th year, Night of Lies promises to serve up a ton of beer, a mountain of prizes and more good times than you can shake a stick at. bit.ly/NightofLies

Nov. 3: Rad Reels: Radical Reels has become more than just a night of awesome extreme sports, crazy athletes and mega-adrenaline feats on a massive screen. It’s an annual highlight, a Banff tradition that is full of wacky antics, outrageous stunts and high-octane films, with climber Cedar Wright as EMCEE this year. Nov. 4: The Snow Show: We know you’re itching for it. Fresh powder. Big air. Blue skies. Off-season is almost over, and this annual night of snow films will get you psyched for winter! Nov. 5: Alex Honnold, Hadwin's Judgment and the Book Awards: Everything we love about the festival in one night: a book presentation by Honnold, a bound-to-become classic film, and awards for the best of the best! Highline will be on stage proudly presenting the award for this year’s best Mountain Fiction and Poetry book. bit.ly/BMFFschedule


November 9 - December 15 // Canmore Exhibition launch party, November 21: Canmore’s new artsPlace and the team at Highline have joined forces to present a stunning collection of large-scale photographs specially chosen from Highline’s varied publishing history. Join us on November 21 for your chance to bid on these unique large-scale prints of our active mountain community and lifestyle. Tickets available through our website, beginning October 15. highlineonline.ca/tickets



November 28 - December 6 // Lake Louise Watch as the best in the world rip down Canada’s raddest ski hill in hopes of taking home some hardware in this kickoff to the World Alpine Ski Tour. The event is free and open to the public, so grab a cowbell and warm up those vocal chords! All events can be viewed from the base area of the Lake Louise Ski Area. #morecowbell bit.ly/LakeLouiseWorldCup


December 5 // Banff Time to get jolly! And what better place to get in the spirit of Christmas than Banff National Park, honestly? From the Festive Fun with Santa at the Cascade Plaza to the Santa Claus Parade of Lights, this day will make you feel the warm and fuzzies. bit.ly/SantaInBanff


December 5 // Canmore We do it better in the mountains. Come see for yourself at this free event showcasing locally made crafts and artisan goods. Over 20 vendors will have their goods for sale at Elevation Place on December 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. bit.ly/MountainMade


December 19 // Golden This Christmas Farmers’ Market sleighs. With artisan breads, homemade pies and pastries, and homemade jams and jellies, they’ve got quite the spread. Artisan wares include pottery, soaps, jewellery, photography, woodwork, leather work, knitting and sewing and more. Can you say lastminute gift jackpot? bit.ly/ChristmasMarketinGolden





PH OTO BY AG AT HE BERN A RD  agathebernardphotography.com

 Agathe Bernard Photography 58

 agathebernardphoto

 @AgatBernard


Profile for Highline Magazine

Highline Magazine Fall 2015 - The Choice Issue  

The soul of mountain culture in the Rockies, connecting mountain people to inside stories, inspirational imagery, and epic events since 2008...

Highline Magazine Fall 2015 - The Choice Issue  

The soul of mountain culture in the Rockies, connecting mountain people to inside stories, inspirational imagery, and epic events since 2008...