Chirping cell phones, vibrating wireless email devices, buzzing pagers. A constant barrage of demands.

Me. Now. You’re not answering?! You know it has got out of hand when those around you start demanding you answer that little gadget vibrating in your pocket, demanding an answer to why you didn’t answer, demanding to know what you are doing every moment of the day. Being “connected” for some seems to mean requiring to be constantly available, and seems to be fostering a certain type of anxiety. Some might say fostering a virus known as T-e-c-h-n-o-stress.

I don’t know about you, but my escape plan involves latching onto a whirlwind headed for peace, quiet and stunning beauty.

Come on… dare to turn it off. Dare to get unplugged. Dare to leave all behind and pursue your passion!

Unzip The Zipper

It will lure you. Further and further you will be drawn in with rapture by the swells of Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies.

I awake in the morning and give a little tug to unzip the zipper of my Hubba Hubba two-person tent.

Only hours before, I fell asleep to what seemed like incessant bolts of thunder so intense I found myself shuddering in tempo, certain they struck my immediate vicinity. The accompanying lightning show so bright I swear I could see a glow through my eyes wide shut. Somewhere in the darkness nearby, a cacophony of explosives echo a tune — crashing chunks of ice and rock amid glaciers and water. For a split second my mind wanders — is there such a thing as tsunami at an altitude of 1628 meters?

My eyes now wide open, I catch my breath in the reflection of the turquoise silt-laden jewel of Berg Lake lying in front of me, studded with chunks of white ice interlaced with streaks of blue. I look up, straight up to the spectacular peak of Mount Robson behind it. This quiet moment explodes with humbled emotion. It is amazing to think that out of all the climbers to attempt the summit of this mountain, only about 10% are successful. This pyramid-shaped monolith has been carved by severe winds. Gigantic gargoyles guard it’s main summit and are draped with dramatic glaciers riddled with crevasses and ice-fall. This crown jewel of the Canadian Rockies, at 3954 meters (12972 ft), is one of Canada’s most prized and least attempted summits.

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My next thought evokes a feeling of concern and hope for the safety of a gentleman from Albany, New York. We encountered him only two mornings ago.

My husband and I passed him 5kms (3 miles) from the Mount Robson parking lot. I smiled as we crossed paths with an intrigued hello — he acknowledged with a simple nod. I was impressed by his resolution, his defiance to continue step after step, given the obvious staggering weight of his pack. His determination and passion were awe-inspiring as his feet dragged from underneath him. Ice axe hanging off the back of the right side of his pack, heavy rope hanging off the left side, he plowed onward and upward. A man on a mission. I was amazed to learn, this man was on a quest to summit this beckoning crown jewel on his own.

My eyes now strain, seeking some sign that everything is okay — that no help is needed and that he is bivouaced safely on the steep slopes ahead.

Unleash The Cry

Veni, vidi, vici Julius Caesar cried out in 47BC. Venire, vedere, vincereto come, to look, to conquer backpackers find themselves mimicking today.

So much has changed, yet so little. Each of us pursues our passion to connect ourselves to our soul, to satisfy our deep cravings for a meaningful life.

Many of us quench this thirst with the intensity of lugging a pack plus some, up a mountain.

What conquests to set for Mount Robson?

Many choose to delight in the breathtaking scenery of the Valley of a Thousand Falls enroute to Berg Lake. You can indulge yourself alongside the soothing pulse of a roaring waterfall or quench your moisture-starved skin in its radiating mist. Have a flare for a bit more dare? See how close you can get to the edge of thundering Emperor Falls. Careful! Step too close and it will pound you into submission. Gaining just under 800 meters (1/2 mile) in 23 kilometers (14 miles), the trail traverses three biogeoclimatic zones.

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Many go a few steps further and take a day to explore Snowbird pass.

A short 8km (5 mile) jaunt teases you with some via ferrata (a mountain route which is equipped with fixed cables). As you climb to a maximum elevation of 2,408 m (7,898 ft) surprises awaken your every sense. From the stunning site of the Robson glacier and the rushing melt water oozing from its toe, to the cascading waterfalls and pools you can bathe in, to the floral and moss-enriched alpine meadow gardens, to the alerting cries of the frolicking marmots. The final climb engulfs you and you may just let out a cry that is drowned by the grandeur of the vast Snowbird pass ahead.

If you have some extra time, and feeling a little foolhardy, heading back to Berg Lake, run down to an ice cave at the glacier’s edge on Mount Robson’s backside, just after veering to the left of Robson river. Perhaps even take a quick run inside!

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Others take another 1/2 day, or 14.8 km (9 miles) of walking, to take in the incredulous views from Mumm Basin. It affords another awe-inspiring face of Robson.

Bask In The Conquest

When all is said and done, ensure you bask in the glory of your conquests with a splash!

You a Canuck? Wanna be a Canuck (maybe for 10 minutes)? Wanna make famous Bondi’s Icebergs in Sydney, Australia look like child’s play. Take a dip in Berg lake. Go on submerge yourself, submerge your head. Can you do it without a whine?! Open your eyes as you watch an iceberg float by 9 meters (30 feet) in front of you.

Bask in the knowledge this vacation is one that will be remembered. Go ahead and add a notch to your belt. You have just explored the source of the Fraser, British Columbia’s most important river and the largest salmon producing river in the world.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as the sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” – John Muir

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Mount Robson lies 80km (49 miles) west of Jasper, Alberta and 738 km (458 miles) north east of Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, click here Mount Robson Provincial Park.

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