Just because you use a helicopter to go heli-hiking doesn't mean it has to be easy - if you want to be, you will be challenged.
By using a helicopter to access the ideal starting point and again at the end of the day, CMH heli-hikers are able to spend the entire day in the most beautiful and inspiring part of our terrain. The weaker or more relaxed hikers go for less vertical, shorter, and less strenuous adventures – albeit in spectacular terrain - while the stronger and more motivated hikers will often hike 20 kilometres (12 miles) or more through the most inspiring alpine terrain imaginable.
While many world class hikes entail trail hiking to get into the alpine, and then trail hiking to get back to your car, heli-hiking is best parts of all the world's finest alpine hikes compressed into a single experience. Imagine hiking all day across lush tundra, over huge slabs of stone that still show angry scars from the passing of a glacier, around frothing waterfalls, up sharp ridges with views across a mountain range of Himalayan scale, and traversing between valleys lined with lakes bordered by some of North America’s healthiest wildflowers on one side and icy blue glaciers on the other.Heli-hiking began in the 1970s when a tour operator named Arthur Tauck asked Hans Gmoser, the founder of CMH, if he would be interested in taking groups of seniors on summertime hikes through the same mountains where Hans led heliskiing trips in the winter. Hans liked the idea, and for many years Heli-Hiking catered to older hikers who may not have had much hiking experience at all.
Today, the game of Heli-Hiking has changed. There are still groups of older hikers who book hiking trips, as well as families with young kids, and as many as four generations have been known to enjoy a CMH Summer Adventure together, but the vast majority of heli-hikers now are motivated hikers with a wide range of fitness levels ranging from relaxed families to seasoned athletes looking for new adventures.
The CMH Guides put everyone in groups of hikers with similar fitness and motivation. Each day the groups go as far, as hard, and as long as they can given the limitations of the mountains on that particular day. Some groups or families book the trip together, but then split up for part of the trip so the more athletic in the group or family can have a huge day while the mellow hikers take a more casual approach. Then the next day the group will get back together to enjoy each other’s company in the splendor of the mountains.
That’s the beauty of Heli-Hiking – it is perhaps the only mountain adventure on the planet that is just right for everyone.
Photo: Heli-hikers on the steeps during strenuous day with CMH Summer Adventures.
Never been Helihiking? Give CMH Summer Adventures a call at (800) 661-0252 or check out our web page dedicated to first time heli-hikers.