Pindari Glacier, 2012.
Anonymous said: Hi, we are planning for Dana Dhura pass in the next year. I would like to know whether the route can be done from Martoli side. No of camp required between Pindari zero point and Shalang Glacier. What is the best possible time of the year to complete the route. I will be waiting for your valuable feedback.
I’m delighted to offer my experience in the area, but please keep in mind this was my first and only Himalayan mountaineering expedition, so I am certainly not an expert on the area.
I am pretty confident you could do the route from the Martoli side. The autumn seems to be the best time of the year from what I’ve heard, as the snow line is much higher. When I was there the Martoli side of the pass was much dryer than the Pindari side - keep this in mind, you might encounter the monsoon as soon as you traverse Dhana Dhura, which could delay your travels. I was there September through the beginning of October and while we encountered a lot of fresh rain/snow, it always arrived around noon every day, so it was easy to plan our travels. Avalanche hazard was also low.
From the Shalang side, it might be harder to acclimatize to the altitude than from the Pindari side, as the climb up to the pass is quite steep. It is do-able to make it from the Shalang to the pass with one camp, but depending on your level of acclimatization, I would consider more. After traversing, we then camped on the Kafni Glacier, which is flat and lovely. From there, you should be able to traverse Kafni Khal and head down to the grassy meadow below in one long day, or two depending on conditions and your party’s speed. From the grassy meadow, it’s an easy descent to Zero Point that will only take a few hours.
Let me know if this was helpful. I’m pleased to offer whatever guidance I can! Let me know how your trip goes! It’s an amazing area - I’m excited for you!
Spent five days solo in Algonquin Park backpacking and packrafting last week.
Went to six locations in Toronto today to collect sediment, water and slime from the Don River watershed with my good friend Sana for her MSc research. Found this little guy in Sunnybrook Park.
Shameless picture of me collecting sediment cores from Laurel Reservoir near my university in Waterloo. I study some of the effects of damming on the phosphorus and silicon cycles at reservoir scale up to global scale.
Reid leading Tapestry at Buffalo Crag on the Niagara Escarpment.
I was looking through my photos for a shot to use in a presentation slide about silica weathering. I think this one pretty much encapsulates the concept of mechanical weathering. Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley National Park, California.
Spent the week in Quebec City at the Chemistry Society of Canada’s annual conference. We visited Laval’s rock garden and found these unreal stromatolite cross-sections. For the non-geologists, stromatolites are basically sediment trapped by biofilms (the scientific term for scum) formed by cyanobacteria. Stromatolites provide evidence for the earliest life on Earth, dating back 3.5 billion years or so.
Anonymous said: Haven't seen or heard from you in ages! Just want to stay in touch. How are you doing?
I’m doing great! Lots of cool research on the go at the moment. I’m accumulating a lot of climbing gear for the summer, and thinking about investing in a packraft.
How are you doing? Who is this by the way? Do I know you in real life?
Anonymous said: what are 10 summits in the canadian rockies that you really, really, really, really like to climb? Ben
Anything remote or with a glacier approach is dear to my heart. The Wapta Icefield has a bunch of wicked peaks surrounding it: Mt. St. Nick, Mt Olive, Mt. Gordon, Mt. Rhonda and Rhonda South. And the best part is, there are ACC huts at both ends of the glacier so after a day of mountaineering you return to a nice warm bed with a kitchen instead of setting up a glacier camp and melting snow in your cramped vestibule.
Mt. Temple is also a classic…so beautiful. When I did it we bumped into a ladies choir at the col who serenaded us on our way down.
Most of the other peaks I’ve done in the Rockies wouldn’t be classified as climbs - just hikes or easy scrambles. If you’re looking for amazing remote backpacking, check out northeastern Banff near the Ya Ha Tinda ranch. I used to lead trips in there. There are a couple little peaks (Wapiti being the most notable) but the country is unreal.
Unrelated, there’s a strong possibility I’ve found a study site for my PhD just north of Revelstoke, so if I’m making a trip out there this summer, I will for sure let you know!
Danny tossing the rope to rap down at Malamute, with Howe Sound in the background. Squamish, BC, February 2013.
I am working in the ’80s this week. National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory