Summit by Harry Farthing (2016)

Even if you have zero interest in alpinism or Nazis, I highly recommend this book. It’s very entertaining throughout.

In the autumn of 1938 Germany’s Reichsführer, Heinrich Himmler, is growing frustrated at the British using their regional power in India to block passage of an SS expedition to Tibet. Determined to spite them, he plots to steal something the British hold dear and have failed for the seventh time that spring to achieve – a first summit of Mount Everest.

Seventy years later, seasoned mountain guide Neil Quinn’s ninth visit to the top of the world’s highest mountain in the charge of the sixteen-year old son of a Long Island billionaire begins to unravel. As a desperate fight for their lives begins in the freezing air high above Tibet, Quinn stumbles across a clue to a story that questions everything he thinks he knows about the great mountain. …



The author reads the audio version. That always adds something for me.

Farthing was inspired by 11 other mountaineering books. I’ve read at least 3 of those.

Watch an interview with the author.

cycling Port Alberni to Victoria on the NEW Spine Trail

A signature recreation destination in Canada, the Vancouver Island Spine Trail will span more than 700 kilometres from Victoria to Cape Scott. Traversing wild coasts, ancient and working forests and joining island communities, the trail will be a month-long journey in its entirety. …

It’s not finished. But I plan to cycle — and hike a bike — a section in 2017. I’ll start in Port Alberni … and see how far south I can get.

click for larger map

click for larger map

hiking Big Bend National Park, Texas

I’m planning to hike Big Bend for the first time. In January.


The Parks Service recommends:

• Desert Hikes
• Mountain Hikes
• River Hikes

As usual I’ll check with Rangers before deciding which hikes. Local information is critical in the desert. Backcountry Use Permits are required.

I’ll be mostly doing day hikes and one night tenting trips. Water is an issue, I understand, even in winter.

Unless you are walking the Rio Grande, of course.


Santa Elena Canyon

50 Awesome Hiking Blogs

Mitch Stevens of Southwest Discoveries posted 50 sites they like.


Though most of the 50 are focused on the S.W. USA, we are honoured to be included. 🙂, founded by intrepid adventurer Rick McCharles, is one of the best hiking blogs on the web. It is a comprehensive listing of the world’s best hikes. Rick not only catalogs the planet’s best life changing hikes but provide descriptions. It is no surprise that Rick includes hikes in the southwest as some of the best hikes in the world. Most of the hikes he recommends are challenging multi-day adventures, such as the Zion Narrows for instance. Rick is continuing to research the best hikes on earth, calling his website a “work in progress.”

I’m planning a trip to Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico right now. This list is a great resource.

West Coast Trail reservations start Jan 9, 2017

Our #1 hike in the world is the West Coast Trail.



  • wctma75 km (47 mi), 5-7 days traditional route
  • 3-5 day routes possible via Nitinat
  • southwestern edge of Vancouver Island
  • Pacific Rim National Park
  • Permits required May 1 – September 16
  • NO permit required September 16-30 (recommended)
  • NO permit required May 1 – June 14 (risky)
  • extremely rugged, requires a high level of fitness
  • 6,000+ backpackers / year
  • permits limited and in high demand — WCT Trail reservations
  • … most expensive hiking permit in Canada