–submitted by Jo Anne Potter
Mount Becher is a popular destination for ski touring, hiking and snowshoeing, but on February 4th, it wasn’t our primary objective. Our first option was Mount Curran, in the Beaufort Range, but an unexpected snowstorm conspired against us. Mt Becher was a better goal for a day with a heavy snowfall forecast. I was only slightly disappointed to leave another peak on my Alpine Quest unclimbed because I was keen to work on my ski skills, and Mount Becher is always a great place to ski.
–submitted by John Young
The outing started out as a rather soggy affair, but before long the rain ceased and the sun came out, albeit only for a short time. So, we had no views, but the fall colours were wonderful and a good time was had by all. The trail up to Boston Ridge is wellmarked, for the most part, although finding the trail down to Boston Creek from the road at the trailhead took a little doing.
Inhaling deeply, I hold my breath a long moment and then slowly exhale. I can hear my heart pounding in my ears, and feel it in my chest, as I release the shutter on my camera. It shudders as the frame is captured, preserving the moment. I’m high up on the summit of Mount Celeste, the highpoint on Rees Ridge, looking west over the mountain ridges and peaks that form the body of Strathcona Park. Behind me, the Aureole Icefield stretches the length of Rees Ridge. From my vantage point, I think about this place, its history, its visitors, and I reflect on its significance to me – the birthplace of my passion for mountaineering.
My introduction to mountaineering was not a trial by fire, but a trial by snow and ice. In July 2010, I joined the Island Mountain Ramblers and went on my first mountaineering adventure: a seven-day, ten-peak extravaganza through Strathcona Park. Although the trip included several ridge walks and a lot of traversing, the highlight was walking on one of Vancouver Island’s most precious mountain features: the Aureole Icefield on Rees Ridge. At a height of over 2000 metres, Rees Ridge gives access to some of the most outstanding views of Comox Glacier, Argus, Harmston, Tzela, Shepherds Ridge, Flower Ridge, Rousseau Ridge … if we were talking, I would be out of breath just listing them!