the 5 types of Scramblers in the Canadian Rockies

So you’ve flipped open to your second page on the Alan Kane Holy Bible and thought to yourself – how far can I go?

Well, this fun article about the several stages of scrambling in the Sanadian Crockies is right for you. Chances are that you’re somewhere on this list, or maybe well beyond it.

This is a parody article for fun & smiles sake. We’re all hiking for one thing – enjoyment!

The newbie

A pair of Nikes, Google Maps loaded-up, and a pouch of cola-gummies complimented by a handful of Ritz crackers – your first summit of Ha-Ling is about to be a monumentos victory!

Shimmying and skipping your way over the treacherously smooth paths and staircases, you’ve learnt to ignore the mud tarnishing the sides of your sneakers and come to embrace nature in all its manicured and populated glory.

Ha-Ling-peak-busy-Canada
hah-Ling in its naturally populated form

The seemingly infinite array of mountain-peaks and neon-colored jackets litters your vision as you reach the peak – a serene sight you’ve never before witnessed. Is this what the mountains are like?

A fresh new 6-slide SnapGram story is already published by the time you leave the trail and head to the parking lot, thinking, wow, I want to try another next year! This time with some sunblock and a full bottle of water.

On the way out of the parking lot you catch sight of a lovely couple. They share a sweet kiss at the base of the adjacent mountain and merrily trot into the brush – matching backpacks and boots bouncing away. The desire grows…

new hikers
and thus, a lifestyle is born

The newthusiast

That’s it, no more Ritz crackers. No, you’ve learnt from your mistakes; Nature Valley all the way baby.

You’ve adjoined a handful of stickers to your wide-mouth Nalgene bottle, slid on some thick Salomon hiking boots, and AllTrails is your new best friend. It’s showtime.

intermediate hiker

Your second Battle Of Yamnuska is about to commence after the Parking Lot Police prematurely cancelled your previous attempt. You spritz on a couple sprays of DEET perfume and pop a fizzy vitamin into your water. Focused, determined, and slightly nervous – your small crew voices the lyrics to the Bluetooth hum of Bob Marley as you reach the halfway point.

Unwrapping a bandage to stick onto your first blister from the stiff silica-smelling boots – you’re not going to let discomfort ruin the glorious traverse across the chain-bridge. No, this time it’s for real, and manifesting success is the only thing on your mind.

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At the top you excitedly hug your friends and toss a couple stones off the side in celebration. Spreading ecstatic love and the sweet stench of hikers delight on the way down – you’ve been bitten by the bug of the bush. An addiction is forming, as well as a little bump on the backside of your calf. Time is ticking, after all.

The scrambler

Gaiters? Check. Buff? Check. Reciting verses of Pastor Kane’s biblical passages in the car ride to the trail head? Check.

You’ve officially graduated to embarking on your first epic: a 3-mountain traverse to last 14 hours and then some.

Your pants and left sock have three holes but there’s nothing that can remove the goofy, loving smile off your faces – the fresh air feels soo good, man, and an escape from the city is now a weekly requirement.

scramblers-in-canadian-rockies
it was a very smoky day at Mount Weed, indeed

Mainlining chickpeas and protein bars all the way to the second summit to mark the momentous halfway point, your group lets out a wolf-howl in elation.

ROCK!

Your friend exclaims as a small stone tumbles 3 meters.

Phew, another close call. Thankfully the situational awareness boost from nose-breathing has really improved concentration and you’re ready to continue the journey. At least until that knee pain returns during the third descent.

Scrambling-in-canadian-rockies
a quick trip up Devils head

It’s too late now, your weeknights are spent reading Sonny Bou‘s trip reports in anticipation for the next weekend of scree. This time with a little more KT tape.

The tech freak

Did you know you can save 20 grams by sawing the handle off your toothbrush?

Your partner is sick of hearing this tidbit of ‘information’ for the fourth time this month, but they just don’t get it – ultralight is an ethos, not just a style.

You caress your Arc’Teryx Alpha SV after spilling a little bit of trail mustard on your cuff, making a near-miss of your Garmin Forerunner 945 with embedded Topo-maps.

Ultralight-tech-nerd-meme
#techwear

Take care of your gear and your gear takes care of you, you quietly recite as you wipe the seasoning from the CERB-sponsored equipment.

I mean, why wouldn’t Topo-maps be useful? Just on the other side of Fisher Peak is completely uncharted territory and it’s a good thing that you have your ultralight flares – the 13% chance of rainfall might just warrant a heli-rescue again and your 1/4 full JetBoil tank is running on fumes.

Nonetheless, you’ve managed to humiliate the terrain and you’re back to the trailhead in record time. Maybe a little less water would make the trip go faster though!

As you recline back into the seat of your Subaru you fill with envy, watching the living reincarnation of Dirtbag cross the river – without any shoes. Those must be the new Gore-Tex Invisiblum 3.0’s he’s wearing…

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The hobo-style oldhead

You’re back to Ritz crackers and a 4-day old cotton t-shirt at this point. The sheer aroma deters both yuppies and bears from even getting close – the musk of a true hiker.

Toothbrush? That’s a funny word for miswak. The stiff black Birch bristles massages your gums as you flush down the remnants of leftover lentil soup, again.

experienced-scrambling-barefoot
The sweet sweat of the Rockies tastes so pure

You gracefully finish your summit of Devils Head without any ropes for the third time this week and make your way back to the minivan. You’re only 28 but you feel like you’ve really got the hang of things.

People mistake you for a homeless Tommy Caldwell because, well, you are. Perhaps not on the same level, but getting damn-near it. You do a quick warm-up climb of Blue Jeans Direct before going on your nightly ice-bathing session.

barefoot-scrambling-in-canada-rockies
Mount Whyte never stood a chance

Preparing yourself for a life of adventure and vagabondism, you dust off your passport and check the entry requirements to Nepal once again. Flight NP513 departs in 2 days and there’s no return flight booked.

You, reading this article

Maybe you’re not even on this list, maybe you fit in all 6 categories simultaneously. Regardless, you have an unsworn duty to the Rockies; you must enjoy them as responsibly as possible – no SAR helicopters and no empty packets of trail mustard.

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