This morning I got up early for a Saturday…even set an alarm for 7:15am. The reason was that I joined 5 other people and Charlie( the puppy) to climb up Mt. Duval.
Here’s a shot of Mt. Duval from the fjord. I took this yesterday from my boat ride. The ‘look-out’ or ‘final destination’ is on the far right hand side of the photo. Follow the rock up from the right side. As you follow the line of the rock you’ll see a spot where it kind of has a bit of peak or bump in the rock…just to the left/below this spot there’s a white path (snow) leading up.. Not sure if you see it or not, but that look-out was the prize of the climb. An amazing view into Auyuittuq National Park (where I went boating last night.)
This was my first climb of 2012. (I had climbed it October 2011 with friends…and 3 times over the summer of 2009: HERE, HERE and HERE!) It was a gorgeous day…sun shining when I got up at 7:30am…after a bit of breakfast and a chance to wake up we left my house about 8:30am.
Here’s some shots from the start of the trip.
About 1/4 into the climb I didn’t think I would make it to the top. I was DONE. I had starting lagging behind the others… and my legs were screaming at me (mental note: need to start doing my phiso exercises / stretching out my achilles tendons again…). 3 people in the ‘climbing’ group…needed to be up and down the mountain by around 2pm. This was so that they have time to collect their bags and head to the airport.
I just stopped and sat down, had some water and re-evaluated the situation. The other group of 4 kept climbing… and my friend with the puppy, Charlie…stayed with me. Charlie was a trooper–but needed frequent stops for rests! I took that self portrait photo of myself…and seriously thought I’d start climbing down after that. (I might be climbing but it was forced…)
I did a risky move. I left my jacket (so didn’t need it) and empty camera bag at the base of a rock. We used my jacket and my friends’ to mark the rocks so we could find it on the way down. This is risky…because in all the times I have climbed up Duval I’ve NEVER come down at the same path. I knew I wouldn’t get to the top with that extra stuff… so I left it. (honestly thought in 15-20mins I’d be back for it!)
So there I was… my whole body and mind screaming at me to stop. Give up and head back home. Tons of funny thoughts through my head… but then it became this game. Finding something far away and saying to myself, “…once I get to that rock (the big one in the middle with the red on it)…we can stop again, and re-evaluate our options”.
It wasn’t just my fitness… it was actually about the puppy too… because it was so hot, he had to take rests… and for the whole hike refused to be carried in a backpack (something he did the week prior on a hike). My friend did pick him up and carry him for bits along the way though! So we stopped a lot… had water, snacks and shared stories.
Can you spot the lone person on the ridge? I knew from previous climbing experiences of Duval–once you hit the ridge, you can walk it up to the look-out. (yes, it still is up hill…but harder, not so bouncy tundra.) After taking this photo I was all about just getting to that ridge.
Before I got to the ridge… I wasn’t sure if I would keep on going. It was hot, I was tired…and my body was starting to scream with every step I took.
So I stopped again, with the view of town… and my friend took these shots of me and my afghan. (Yes, I finished the afghan this Thursday…I’ll post about the process etc at some point this week!)
I got this crazy idea to hike Duval with my afghan in a stuff-sack so I could get some photos with me + afghan + Pang. But really…doesn’t everyone like to hike with an afghan?
…had to get a shot with Charlie! (more like trying to keep him from ‘chewing’ the afghan! LOL) and
After we took these photos…the idea was to head back home. I felt like I got my photos I wanted…and gave myself permission not to climb to the top. But for some strange reason I still wanted to get to the ridge. So my friend, Charlie and I continued our climb. We made it to the ridge! ( view of back side of Duval…)
We met up with the other group of 4 climbers. They were on their way down… had been to the top! Their encouraging words made me want to get to the top. So putting one-foot-in-front-of-the-next…taking breaks for the puppy… getting to one inuksuk then the next… in about 30mins I was at the top of Mt. Duval! I was greeted by this awesome view.
After a food & water, nap for Charlie and some more photos…
It was awesome to climb it with friends, some old and some new. Friends helped make the climb so much more enjoyable.
All in all it was a 6 1/2 hour trip. I’m glad I pushed my body to climb, realized I have some work to do…but everyone has a starting point. For my ‘first’ official hike of the season I’m so glad it’s done, but even more thrilled that I did it!