Have you ever wondered about how the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta welcomes their aspiring members? Every member of the group has a memorable story to tell, but here’s to a few glimpses on how we conduct an induction climb. Coming from the City of Calgary, Mt. Yamnuska is the first mountain on your right when entering the Canadian Rockies. Its most prominent feature is its wide south-facing 152m cliff face. A very popular location for rock climbing enthusiasts.
Whether you have zero experience about climbing or an experienced climber inside and outside Canada, induction climb is a must in joining K8. The same principle in the business world as It is vital that an employee is given a proper introduction to the new job. It is a process of discovering the values and principles of K8 from a set of facts. Moreover, the new members will be able to gauge the physical fitness and mental aspects of K8’s activities through the induction.
Since Alberta reopens last June 2020, K8 has undergone an induction climb for June and July. It is important to bring knowledge of the K8’s Pandemic Strategy which serves as a social contract for best practice, rather than rules to be strictly enforced. As we continue to entrust a high degree of accountability and integrity amongst its members, ensuring the health and safety remains its top priority.
Mt. Yamnuska is a generous mountain. Gaining elevations unlocks spectacular views from time to time. The route that the group typically follows from the parking lot is about 1/2km until you will reach a first junction that says climbers to the left and hikers to the right. Don’t be confused as the sign is correct. K8 typically take the right-hand route. This route requires good experience in scrambling and requires caution. Levi John Ramos, K8’s Executive Chairman, has done 18 consistent summits on this mountain even in the winter season and snow-covered. Route finding skills and being comfortable while traversing is a must.
As you work your way up through aspen and spruce forest towards the bottom of the east side of the cliff face, you will see a beautiful a large cut in the rock, we call it “Biak na Bato”, with a boulder blocking the middle section. After this section of the climb, average inductees typically exceed physical fitness limits after an exhilarating hike going above the tree line. We typically see some of them having “pulikat” or cramps up to this point. Having a good guide at the back of the pack, we call it “sweeper”, will make a big difference. Patience, good coaching and skill to divert attention will help the climber to push more on the self-imposed boundaries not knowing from that point and getting to the summit later on. A lot of times, it is just about putting one foot in front of the other. We'll get there eventually.
K8’s Mentality: You are not doing it right, if you keep on looking at how high is the top. Try looking back to see how far you have come. Keep following a well-worn scree trail up the slope then pass between a spine-like buttress. When the team reaches the bolted chain, K8 provides the inductees with proper gears and equipment typically helmet, safety harness, lanyard with two hooks and locking carabiner. K8’s practice is to make sure the safety of its aspiring members, never be complacent as every decision is just one step back away from accidents. An important reminder to enjoy what you do, no matter what reasons you may have going up to the mountains, whether it's for personal battles alone or testing oneself limits.
Once you traverse the chain ledge locate the trail again and work your way across and up to the summit. Route finding skills are needed here and you may find yourself above very steep loose slopes that lead to cliffs further below. There are no chains here so once again caution is needed. Typically, the team reaches the summit approximately at noon and enjoys the view and have a quick lunch for 15-20 minutes. Whether it is a simple snack of nuts, protein bars or soup, it is indeed one of the best lunches to experience in your lifetime.
From the summit, the fastest way down is by the west route. Follow the summit trail down the steep scree slopes that lead down the northwest side of the mountain. Scree slopes have been one of the secrets of the induction climb. It is intimidating to see at first going down as scary as something you probably have never done in your life. As we realize, once you step your foot “heel first” as our normal practice, it is indeed the most enjoyable and memorable part of the climb for most of us. We even look forward to it when we have a chance to climb this mountain again. Keep going, avoiding a few smaller trails that drop down to the valley on your right. Once you pass through a small wet bowl created by an underground stream, you'll be on top of the prominent trail that you viewed from the parking lot. Lots of fun here as you run and hop straight down this loose scree slope. The trail then enters trees again and arrives at the signed junction. Then, lastly, follow your way down to the parking lot.
We have witnessed different experiences in this mountain, poured emotions in every step of the way, but the most important lesson is to never give up and push yourself on what you might have been afraid of doing before. We come to the mountains to be humbled. And, we are humbled indeed. There will always tough times, regardless of what you do in life. Be able to push through those times and keep on your ultimate goal.
Today, K8 is the home of Pinoy Mountaineers here in Alberta whether freshly from the Philippines or long-time residence, setting up a goal of sharing the beauty of the mountains thru responsible mountaineering and producing more Pinoy Alpinist.
Interested in joining the K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta?
You may reach us at (587) 228-2989 or send and email to email@example.com
Read our July 2020 Issue here