It all depends who you ask.
If you’re like the Canadian-American team that just removed a famous climbing route from Cerro Torre, one of the most beautiful mountains in the world (shown below) at the southern tip of South America, because a series of metal expansion bolts made it, in their opinion, too easy, you’d probably say that you need to be in your 20s and fit as an Olympian.
If you’re like the elder couple in their 90s, shown in this photo heli-hiking in Western Canada, you might say that the twilight of life is the best age for mountain adventures. Modern access, lightweight and comfortable equipment, and world-class adventure travel programs make some of the most untouched alpine environments the perfect place to enjoy a quiet walk past some of the sweetest views on planet earth.
If you’re like the family I met in the Bugaboos a couple of summers ago, who recruited the logistical wizardry of CMH Summer Adventures to get 4 generations of their family together for a summer holiday in the remote mountains of Western Canada, you probably have the best answer: anyone can do it.
Canadian Mountain Holidays is a perfect study of how the perceived optimal age for outdoor adventure has changed over the last half a decade:
- In the 60s, CMH invented helicopter skiing and catered exclusively to the most adventurous, talented skiers in the world.
- In the 70s, CMH invented heli-hiking for groups of seniors looking for relaxing, yet inspiring tours in spectacular locations far from the busy, easily accessible tourist locations. By using reliable twin engine jet helicopters for transportation from comfortable lodges into an alpine wonderland, everyone was able to enjoy a mountain adventure.
- In the 80s, CMH diversified their summer program to include fit, younger hikers and couples who wanted to include difficult hikes with helicopter access to the heart of Western Canada’s rugged mountains.
- In the 90s, CMH responded to the growing popularity of mountaineering and led adventure travelers of all ages and abilities into technical terrain where ropes were used to keep them safe in case of a slip, and many people who never thought they’d want to climb a technical mountain stood safely on lofty summits thanks to the expertise of professional mountain guides.
Most recently, in the new millennium, CMH Summer Adventures added Via Ferrata climbs, adventure trails, and a family program that includes professional youth educators to complete one of the most diverse adventure travel programs around. In short, CMH has answered the question under no uncertain terms: every age is the right age for mountain adventures.