Mountain range number five in my long-term challenge to fastpack across a mountain range on every continent, this Collection follows my journey across the Canadian Rockies.
The Canadian Rocky Mountains were meant to be the final range in my challenge, but due to Covid-19 I had to switch plans around. The Caucasus, a mountain range at the intersection of Europe and Asia, had originally been on the cards for 2020, but that expedition has been put on hold for another year.
The other mountain range traverses that I've completed so far include the Tien Shan in Asia, the High Atlas mountains in Africa, the Cordillera Oriental in South America and the Southern Alps in Oceania.
Since the parks re-opened in Canada, where I was based this year, I had the green light to safely go ahead with the run across the Rockies. As I grew up in there, exploring along the route has been a little different than the other ranges! This was the place that I learned to love the outdoors in, so along the way there were many wonderfully familiar sights and peaks.
I divided the run into seven stages, typically ranging from a few days to five or so, where I needed to be totally sufficient between resupply towns. In my pack, I had a bivvy system for sleeping, as well as my stove, food and layers for the varying mountain conditions.
Before embarking on the challenge, I knew that this would be tough, even if in parts familiar. Sure, the Rockies can be absolutely beautiful, but equally brutal in places.
In previous years here I've got caught in terrifying thunderstorms, run into snow in July, weathered awful swarms of mosquitos and had my fair share of trail tumbles too. In fact, out of all the mountain ranges that I faced, this 950 kilometre challenge was the one that I was most fearful of.
This was my first segment of my challenge to run the length of the Canadian Rockies, the fifth mountain range in my bigger project to run across a mountain range …
On the second stage of Run the Rockies, there were some long (but faster) fireroad segments, mixed with some incredible high trails with wildflowers and snowy peaks!
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
This was a slightly easier segment, following the Goat Creek trail into Banff. This was a really incredible journey for me as I grew up around here, but haven't been home in over a decade!
This stage was not without mishaps and struggling! Lots of fallen trees made the trail hard and very, very slow.
I first tried another way through Takkakaw, which didn't work out, but it was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been!
No less than six brutally hard passes, intense remoteness, dangerous rivers and washed away bridges... This stage was pretty mega, but the views were some of the best I've ever seen in the Rockies.
I strongly advise against the Maligne Pass segment. The bridges are washed away and the water levels far too dangerous. I honestly thought I was a gonner!
I spontaneously summited a mountain (mostly to get out of bog and away from mosquitoes) to spend the night, and realised after a magical starry evening and beautiful sunrise that my journey across the Rockies had come to an end.
I got everything I needed out of this, and I'm ready to go home and dry my feet. It was a wonderful finish to this journey, slightly emotional, and I couldn't have asked for a better finale!