About this Website
When I started this website in 2001 it was a novelty, an attempt to show the excitement of scrambling alongside the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Displaying few photos and almost no text, my website was meant to entice rather than inform. Being a novice scrambler back then, I felt I was in no position to offer advice, but I was happy to share what few photos I took.
In a short time, however, I began exploring new routes and felt behooved to add trip descriptions and instructive photos. Adding trip report after trip report, my site soon outgrew the space provided on a free website. In 2005 I took a domain name and signed up with a web hosting service. By then, after undergoing a number of changes, my website settled on a format much like you see today.
At the turn of the millennium, posting numerous or large photos was out of the question. For one thing, storage media – for cameras and computers alike – was expensive so I didn’t attempt to amass a mountain of photos. And because download speeds were glacial, posting many or large photos was impractical. Pages displayed so slowly, in fact, that text had to appear at the top of web pages just to give the reader something to look at while pictures were downloading. As download speeds climbed and storage media prices plummeted, I started adding more and larger photos to my site. I’ve even been going back to give older pages a facelift by increasing the number and size of photos.
I became interested in GPS receivers when I first heard about them in the '90s. But back then the U.S. Military feared they could be misused, so they crippled civilian use to an accuracy of just 100 m. Useless for routefinding, I thought. Then the U.S. relaxed its position and in May 2000, after flipping a switch, accuracy for general use narrowed down to 20 m. Two months later, I bought a Garmin Etrex. In 2003 I began adding route maps to my web pages.
In 2005 Google Earth made a startling appearance on the Internet scene. Incredibly, GPS tracks could be placed on a 3D image of a mountain and studied from any angle. Few hikers had GPS receivers back then, but anyone with Internet access could use Google Earth. I began adding Google Earth (KML) tracks to some of my trip reports.
It never occurred to me that anyone would want to use an entire track to find their way up a mountain, but one day someone requested a GPX track explaining they couldn't convert KML to GPX. So I began including both track formats. It wasn’t long before GPS use really caught fire, and I began getting requests for tracks for my earlier trips which lacked them. So I went back and added tracks to virtually all my older postings. (Software to convert tracks is now readily available, so I felt no need to add GPX tracks to pages showing only KML tracks.)
My tracks are edited, extraneous points removed, which is a good thing; there’s no point in following my tracks whether I’ve gone off-route accidentally, or intentionally to chase a grouse for a photo. Since routefinding is usually easier on the way down a mountain, I often use my descent tracks on out-and-back trips.
A word of caution about GPS tracks: they don’t replace experience and commonsense. One scrambler attempted to follow my track in winter conditions when I climbed the mountain when it was dry. He fell, was seriously injured, and had to be heli-rescued. (Myself, I prefer routefinding with a few choice waypoints rather than GPX tracks.)
Following the format that Alan Kane uses in his book, I note the summit elevation and the height gain, the latter determined by the difference between the lowest and highest points reached (in some cases, the lowest elevation is below the trailhead). I’ve always posted my own figures, however accurate or inaccurate they may be. My first GPS receivers weren’t as precise as those nowadays so my early trip reports may reflect discrepancies.
For several years I produced short videos of my trips. Although I enjoyed creating them, I found it demanding and time-consuming. On the trail, video shots competed with other activities, such as routefinding and looking for photos. Invariably, I ended up with too few photos or too little video. And back at home, I spent hours compiling clips and adding voice-over. The little feedback I received indicated my videos weren’t that popular. In 2012 I stopped producing movies that summarized my trips, although here and there I’ve tossed in the odd video clip.
Not a One-Man Show
This website is not a one-man show. Dinah contributes to trip photos and proofreads my text. Readers have emailed me with suggestions and corrections. Book and website authors provide me with ideas and inspiration for new trips.
My motivation comes from reading complimentary emails and seeing references to my web pages. I appreciate the support and it encourages me to do and write about the best darn trips that I can.