The Vancouver Island 150 Challenge

 

Editor's note: The Alpine Club of Canada has 22 local sections across the country. Membership in a section enables members to participate in numerous summer and winter mountaineering, rock climbing, and skiing activities, coordinated by experienced amateur leaders in their local area. The majority of activities offered by sections are either free or are offered on a break-even basis to their members. The Vancouver Island Section challenged themselves to reach new heights by climbing 150 summits celebration of Canada 150. Their story below.


 Click on the image to open the VI-150 Challenge map. Clicking on any of the pinned locations on the map shows the summit date, names of those in the party, some optional notes, and at least one summit shot. For those more interested in seeing summit smiles and scenery in high resolution photos, open the  VI-150 image collection .

Click on the image to open the VI-150 Challenge map. Clicking on any of the pinned locations on the map shows the summit date, names of those in the party, some optional notes, and at least one summit shot. For those more interested in seeing summit smiles and scenery in high resolution photos, open the VI-150 image collection.

Dreaming and Scheming

January 28, 2017 – the Vancouver Island Section’s AGM at the beautiful Vancouver Island Mountain Centre, Mt. Washington, BC. Catrin Brown, the VI Section Chair, lays out the challenge. It went something like this: “It’s 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canada’s founding as a nation – let’s celebrate in the way we Alpine Club members know best – let’s climb something!!”

In fact, the challenge was to climb quite a bit. Catrin asked if we could collectively climb 150 summits in the mountains and hills of Vancouver Island over the course of 2017 – one for every year of Confederation. The ACC-VI Section answer – “Sure we can - let’s get started!”

We keep track of who’s been on top of what using a bit of coordinated technology and a lot of keen participation by section members. The result is an interactive and evolving Google Map. As of writing (July 20) the Vancouver Island 150 Challenge is at 136, with more coming in every day. The 150-summit goal will be reached shortly and the Challenge will probably top out at well over 200!

The purpose of the plan

More than just a dash for the peaks, the Vancouver Island 150 Challenge is meant to help our members celebrate the importance of mountains in their lives. A peak or hill eligible for inclusion can be any Vancouver Island or Gulf Islands peak that is:

 Exaltation on Warden Peak – (L-R) Nadja Steiner, Lenka Visnovska, Brianna Coates, Jes Scott, Kara Aschenbrenner, Maddie Crowell, Chloe Sandahl, Krista Gooderham. Photo by Jes Scott.

Exaltation on Warden Peak – (L-R) Nadja Steiner, Lenka Visnovska, Brianna Coates, Jes Scott, Kara Aschenbrenner, Maddie Crowell, Chloe Sandahl, Krista Gooderham. Photo by Jes Scott.

This kind of inclusiveness lets everyone participate at their highest and best level. And the VI-150 has seen some special moments indeed. For example, check out Warden Peak on the North Island portion of the map. On July 16, 2017, Nadja Steiner, Lenka Visnovska, Brianna Coates, Jes Scott, Kara Aschenbrenner, Maddie Crowell, Chloe Sandahl, and Krista Gooderham had an epic summit bid. This challenging peak is one of the “Rick Eppler Island Qualifiers” for the ACC-VI Section. For several on the trip it was their first IQ. And it was, quite probably, the first all-female ascent of Warden Peak (as far as reading the summit registry goes). Watch Jes Scott’s video of the trip: 


Some highlights from the 150 Challenge

1. Click on Redwall in the Mid Island section of the map and zoom in to see Stefan Gessinger and Evan Devault’s full traverse of the steep and rugged spires that make up the Mackenzie Range.

 June 4th, 2017 (L-R) Stefan Gessinger and Evan Devault on Redwall, the final peak on their full Mackenzie Range traverse. Photo by Evan Devault. 

June 4th, 2017 (L-R) Stefan Gessinger and Evan Devault on Redwall, the final peak on their full Mackenzie Range traverse. Photo by Evan Devault. 

2. Want stunning mountain scenery with no one else around – Roxy Jensen’s winter ski ascent on Crest Mountain (North Island) or Colin Mann, Natasha Salway, and Thomas Radetzki’s Canada Day ascent on Nine Peaks (Mid Island) are just a few of the accomplishments feted in the VI-150 challenge.

 Trio of beauties: King's Peak, Rambler Peak, and Mount Colonel Foster from Crest Mountain. Photo by Roxanne Jensen.

Trio of beauties: King's Peak, Rambler Peak, and Mount Colonel Foster from Crest Mountain. Photo by Roxanne Jensen.

3. In the photo below (L-R) Natasha Salway, Thomas Radetzki, and Colin Mannarly get an early start for Nine Peaks on Canada Day. A great way to celebrate the 150th!

 Photo by Natasha Salway.

Photo by Natasha Salway.

4. Perhaps it’s sharing a sunny winter hike with ACC friends in Vancouver Island’s Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park Reserve (John Peak, South Island). Diversity is truly one of the great things about mountains – there’s something for everyone.

 Footloose in the Sooke HIlls: (L-R) Roger Taylor, Peggy Taylor, Mike Whitney, Liz Williams. Photo by Mary Sanseverino.

Footloose in the Sooke HIlls: (L-R) Roger Taylor, Peggy Taylor, Mike Whitney, Liz Williams. Photo by Mary Sanseverino.

Don’t wait another 150 years to celebrate — get on out there today and enjoy!