hiking out of Whistler, BC, Canada

During a one night stop at the luxury ski resort I took the opportunity to research the hiking opportunities in these fantastic mountains close to Vancouver.

I was shocked at how little hiking is being promoted. A visit to tourist information will get you only a list of short day walks appropriate for non-hikers.

Why? The problem is that Whistler has so much to offer besides hiking — especially skiing and mountain biking.

The tourist infrastructure is geared for the 2 million+ gift shop tourists each year.

No need for a serious hiker to plan on basecamp hiking out of Whistler. Head for the much less expensive climbing mecca of Squamish instead.

A day hike up granite Stawamus Chief looming over the town is an excellent warm-up.

stawamus-chief.jpg

To plan your hikes, grab a copy of “Don’t Waste Your Time in the B.C. Coast Mountains” and head for the hills independently.

cohabiting with bears

A highlight of my recent stop at Whistler Ski Resort was being entertained by a local bear, right beside the Creekside lift.

Click play on the video below or watch it on YouTube.

Nobody called the police. No one got excited. This bear appears under the luxury hotel balconies almost every morning in the Spring.

I am impressed that official policy is to cohabit peacefully with bears. Well done Whistler!

Contrast that enlightened and brave approach with that of the Lake Louise village in the Canadian Rockies. Parks Canada put up an electric fence around the campground to protect the tourists from bears. Sad.

Of course there are Grizzlies at Lake Louise, not at Whistler.

gold mining company wants to move a glacier

Canadian international mining company Barrick Gold wants to “relocate” three glaciers in the mountain range between Argentina and Chile to gain access to 17.6 million oz. of rich gold and silver deposits.

Chilean farmers and residents of the surrounding Huasco Valley are strongly opposed. Glacial water is used for irrigation.

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Pascua-Lama)

click for larger image
glaciers.jpg
Original article on CorpWatch.org

In the hiking mecca of Huaraz, Peru, Barrick Gold does everything they can to portrait themselves a good corporate citizen. The trash bins in town are donated by Barrick.

The history of mining in South America is very grim. We cannot get the fantastic Huayhuash range in Peru declared a National Park because of mining interests.

I say, hold Barrick’s feet to the fire on this one.

Merino wool is back “in”

I heard Chris Townsend on a podcast recently championing wool over synthetics. Especially when worn under a garment. Especially on longer hikes.

On one of his reviews of hiking socks:

Smartwool Hiking is my first choice with the well-priced Fox River Trailmaster a very close second.

Townsend routinely wears a different sock on each foot in order to compare them.

SmartWool Adrenaline Light Mini Crew Socks - Men\'s

books – Robert Young Pelton

You’ve probably heard of Pelton’s TV show or his books:

The World’s Most Dangerous Places
The Hunter, The Hammer, The Heaven
Come Back Alive
Three Worlds Gone Mad
Licensed to Kill : Hired Guns in the War on Terror

Pelton was the first Western journalist to meet with the Taliban after they set up offices in Peshawar, Pakistan. He simply walked in the front door with his cameras. When told the Taliban do not allow photographs because of the Koran …

I explain very carefully that only cowards do not show their faces and that in my culture a man who does not wish to be seen cannot be trusted. Just to make sure I get my point across I ask, “Must their leader hide as women must hide behind the veil?”

Pelton survived that time.

In fact, his most harrowing tales in the one I just finished are of an upbringing in a broken Canadian home. Good book.

A Life In Dangerous Places