aaron's test of manliness

last week we participated in the wedding of our good friends aaron and suliana.  before aaron could be married he was required to submit to several tests of manliness, witnessed by his closest friends.  these tests were to be performed in an alpine environment and it was for precisely these tests that our family was crossing the rockies on that fateful day that levi was born.

we were supposed to rally in lethbridge tuesday morning but levi was born on monday, so the group met without me and hiked up the valley to set up camp and do some recon.  i set out early wednesday morning to join them.
starting early meant a lot of wildlife on the trail.  i saw some deer and sheep and early on came across these giant tracks.  30 min before i hit the trailhead it had been pounding rain, so they were very fresh.  we saw the big griz on the mountainside that evening.

soon i found the campsite.  well positioned and with a sweet tarp shelter up against a giant rock.  although it was not an official test of manliness, it was good to see that aaron was capable of erecting a tent and shelter and staying dry during a mountain thunderstorm.
after a second breakfast of bacon and pour over coffee we set off up the drainage immediately above the camp.  our goal was victoria peak, the tallest in the front range.  as mentioned, the others had done some recon the night before and it was decided that to reach the peak we should proceed up the mountain.  this strategy worked well.

after bushwhacking through the initial scrub we arrived in the subalpine and the going became much easier.  this is the only picture i took of myself and for some reason it was in black and white.
just as the scree started getting loose we hit snow.  except for the occasional post hole it was easy going.  we called it the snow highway.  it was on this snow highway that aaron passed his first official test of manliness by hitting a tree with a snowball, dead centre, first try.  under threat of pain.
after the snow it was back to scree until we attained the ridge.  at this point we were higher than most of the peaks around and the view was stunning.

in a truly rare southern alberta peak experience, there was zero wind at the top.  it was eerily still, and downright warm when the sun was out.  we spent a comfortable hour and a half picnicking on the summit. being the tallest peak in the front range gives victoria a special view, prairie to the east, glaciated peaks to the west.  more tests of manliness were passed here.

chris dominating the mountain.

on the way down, aaron once again proved his worth in the art of shale boarding, or perhaps snowshaleing if we are to be all etymological about it.
aaron also proved his ability to self arrest on steep snowslopes.  a lower section had some steep whoops and i convinced aaron to glissade them against his better judgement.  there was no cliff exposure, just some nice soft trees to stop his fall should he fail to stop himself.  once again he performed under pressure.  he's a keeper su!

all of the above readying aaron for his final test and the subject of our next post: aaron and su's wedding.

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