This is a guest post by Mark Sissons
I never dreamed I’d be back. Yet here I am, slipping into my climbing harness again, three summers after scaling CMH’s original “sphincter-tightening” Mount Nimbus Via Ferrata. That’s how I described reaching the needlelike summit in my original story for the Toronto Star. Now I’m eager to be among the first to try their latest groundbreaking creation. Dubbed the wildest new adventure in North America, the Conrad Glacier Experience promises to be a thrilling, adrenaline filled day of high alpine hiking and climbing.
Conrad Glacier Extreme would be closer to the truth.
According to Bobbie Burns area manager Bruce Howatt, his team’s latest creation isn’t a via ferrata, nor is it anything remotely like a traditional hike. It’s eight exhilarating hours of hiking, navigating wild canyons using bridges and rungs, ascending colourful rock slabs alongside serious waterfalls, ziplining over whitewater streams, traversing rock walls next to a massive glacier, and scaling dizzying patches of near vertical rock. By the time my companions and I reach our waiting chopper and set off back to the lodge for cocktails and conversation in the hot tub, we’re grinning from sweat soaked ear to ear.
“This course certainly challenges you and takes you to places you never thought you could go,” says Bill Nevill, a dentist from the outskirts of Toronto here with his teenage son, Andrew. “There were plenty of times where I thought ‘crap, I didn’t think I could do that’. But you just focus on the next rung and where you’re going.”
Of course it can be hard to focus on that next rung when you’re constantly distracted by some of the most scenic wild mountain scenery imaginable. Blue glaciers, burnt orange rock and emerald ponds are everywhere, like the one I plunged into for a bracing lunchtime dip.
“This experience is far beyond my imagination,” says Simon Gan Teow Hooi, an interior designer from Malaysia. “It’s one of those things that you just have to do at least once in your lifetime. It wasn’t easy but I always felt safe. As long as there is a clip and wire, you can take me as high as you want and it feels damn good.”
Conrad Kain, the legendary mountain guide who shares a name with the crevasse strewn glacier at the centre of today’s adventure, would have undoubtedly echoed Simon’s sentiment. In the spirit of this fearless innovator who injected such passion and imagination into the sport of mountaineering, the Bobbie Burns team has created a unique, intense and inspiring alpine experience. Some might even call it extreme.
The Conrad Glacier Adventure Hike is available each summer as a part of the Bobbie Burns High Flying Adventure. To learn more, visit the online Conrad Glacier Adventure Hike photo gallery, contact CMH Reservations at 1.800.6610252 or visit CMH online at www.cmhsummer.com.
Photos by Bruce Howatt