Mt Albert Edward with Youth

 –Submitted by Bil Derby

26 – 28 September 2015

We all know Mt. Albert Edward, most of us have been there (some many times), and, for all arguments sake, it is an easy summit to tuck under our belts. It was my first island summit in 2005 and the one that sparked my interest in mountaineering and the alpine that burns strong today. This past weekend I had the pleasure of introducing four Royal Canadian Air Cadets (shameless plug for the Air cadet program) aged 14 – 17 to Mt. Albert Edward.

This trip was their second with me, the first being Flores Island, and was their first island summit. It was also the successful completion of their respective Bronze and Silver level expeditions within the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program, the cadets having planned and executed the trip on their own with only my supervision and advice on risk management.

We started from Raven Lodge early afternoon on Saturday and found ourselves at Circlet Lake at 17:30 after poking along through Whiskey Meadows, taking a few detours to see things, and stopping a few times to deal with tender feet, adjust packs, and offer encouragement in the form of food……they are teenagers after all.

Sunday was an amazing bluebird alpine day, all sun……and wind. The ascent to the ridge reminded tired legs of yesterday’s exertion and hinted at the exertion yet to come but the view from the first alpine plateau was reward enough and spirits remained high.

Reaching the main ridge line connecting Jutland and AE there was suddenly a clear understanding of the scale of the mountains.

Mount Albert Edward (left), Mount Regan (Right)

Lunch enroute, a bit of a snowball fight, and a long slug up the summit slope found us on top at lunch and notations made in the register. We were five of 17 to summit, not counting the five that were coming up as we were headed down.

Back at Circlet for supper and a debrief on the days experience and then, to my amazement, the teenagers went off to bed while the old guy stayed up and watched the stars drift by in a crystal clear sky.

Monday we came out via Murray Meadows, Kwai Lake, and the Battleship trail. Tired teenage legs conveyed tired teenage bodies relentlessly towards the truck….and food….did I mention they were teenagers.

All in all it was a fantastic trip with a fantastic group of kids. They enjoyed their trip and I enjoyed their enthusiasm, energy, and trust. Lessons were learned; I from them and them from me, and each of them came away with an little bit deeper understanding of their place in world, the value of wild places, and the accomplishment and confidence that comes from stepping out of their comfort zone.

Planning, in the warm light of accomplishment, is underway for their next adventure. Hopefully they humour me once again and let me tag along; it keeps the mind young when you can share time with youth.

Bil Derby
205 Collishaw RCACS (Nanaimo)
Canadian Cadet Organization

Leave a Reply