I don’t think I’ve ever watched any video and felt my stomach in my throat as much as I did while watching this short film of a recent climb and ski descent of a variation of the Kain Route on Mt. Robson (3,954 m), the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Shot just two weeks ago, during the first week of August, the 12-minute film features Jeff Colvin and Reiner Thoni making a rare ski descent of the peak. This is shot in HD, so give it time to load and watch it full screen for maximum effect - from a stable chair.
The film is exceptional – besides the obviously horrifying footage of scratching down green ice with skis and an ice tool above massive exposure.
The best part about the film is that it shows what modern mountain explorers are doing for a weekend of fun with their friends. It's not just about the skiing, but when they do point 'em downhill, hang on...
It’s a fantastic trend.
Up through the 1960s, mountaineers had to be good skiers as well as climbers to consider themselves experts. That’s how guiding developed to include both skiing and climbing skills in mountain guide training programs – one got you up the hill, and the other got you down.
Then in the 1970s, the mountain sports diverged and specialized. Over the next 30 years, rock climbing, ice climbing, alpine climbing, skiing, snowboarding, freestyle, racing, pipe and park, nordic and big mountain all carved out their niches, complete with followers, fans and fashion.
Most recently, however, the trend has in many ways, been back towards the all-around roots of mountain sport – with an X-Generation flair. Young mountain enthusiasts are getting good, really good, at a wide range of mountain skills, getting super fit, and then taking modern lightweight gear and an easy-going attitude into the world’s most stunning terrain.
And they’re doing it with Go Pros strapped to their helmets. It’s only just beginning…
Thanks for the inspiration Jeff and Reiner!
For more info on their descent, and insights into the complexities of such an endeavor, visit Reiner's blog.