I reached up to wipe the sweat out of my eye as I scanned the rock infront of me for a handhold. "I can't figure out where to put my foot", Alysha called out below me. "You're doing great. There's a spot to your right," replied Rob Rohn, Director of Mountain Operations for CMH Summer Adventures.
This morning we were part of a group trying out the yet-unnamed via ferrata route the guides have built on a ridge northwest of the Bugaboo lodge."We have seen a decline in the desire for traditional mountaineering routes," said Peter Macpherson, Assistant Area Manager at the Bugaboo Lodge. "But at the same time, there's been an increased interest in doing 'something thrilling'". Back in 2007, in response to that increase the guides at the Bobbie Burns constructed the Mt. Nimbus via ferrataroute which thrills visitors to the lodge on a weekly basis. This summer guests to the Bugaboos will also get a taste of that same thrill.
After crossing a snow-slope where you could literally feel the sun melting the snow beneath your feet, our group of 10 gathered at the base of the route. ACMG certified mountain guide Bob Sawyer helped us don our harnesses and via ferrata gear then lead us through a safety briefing of how to stay connected to the permananetly fixed cables that make up the route.
A combination of steel cables and rebar rungs line the route up Trundle mountain. The Bugaboo guides installed the route last week once enough snow had cleared to safely access the route. In places along the route I found myself searching, seemingly in vain, for the next place to put my foot or hand to raise myself up, up, up the mountain. I'd find myself thinking "They need to put another rebar step in here. I'm stranded." Then with a little more focus and shifting my body against the rock I'd find a way up. The feeling of accomplishment was intense everytime I overcame one of these challenges. And the encouragement from the guides and the other members of our climbing party kept us all in high spirits. In amidst conversations about siblings, wildflowers and handholds, we shared jokes, sang songs and lived in the moment. Other cares left behind for the day.
Our group this morning consisted of myself and the Bugaboo Lodge staff and guides who are already at the lodge preparing for the first guests of the Summer Adventures' season who will arrive on Friday. I asked Tanya, one of the lodge staff members who celebrated her 25th birthday today on Trundle Mountain, how she felt about the experience. There was no disguising the trepidation in her voice at the start of the day where she described her fear of heights. "There's just an amazing sense of accomplishment. I can't believe I did it!"
After two and a half hours on the rock we completed the route, removed our harnesses and thanked our guides before sitting on the summit to enjoy lunch and bask in the sun. As we got up to leave and continue hiking along the glorious Black Forest Ridge I commented to Alysha "Hmm, all that and I never even broke a nail."
If you'd like try your hand on one of CMH Summer Adventures' via ferrata routes this summer, or if something more horizontal is what your after, contact CMH Reservations at 1.800.661.0252 or visit us online at www.cmhsummer.com.