Cheryl Goodwin

Image by Cheryl Goodwin

Photo © Cheryl Goodwin– “Heaven’s Door”

Shut down of the park in late September is always a bittersweet time.  Servicing all the outhouse facilities calls for some high powered helicopter assistance to remove the “loaded barrels.” In 2010 winter had come early to the backside of the park and as we lifted off from the campground at Applebee heading up to the honey pot on top of the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col, my breath was taken away by the sheer beauty of the ice and snow caked Howsers and Pigeon Spire.  A moment that you feel only inches away from Heaven’s Door.

Image by Cheryl Goodwin

Photo © Cheryl Goodwin  – “Hanging with Fred – Bugaboos”

It was the summer of 2008 —my first year of working as a custodian at the Conrad Kain hut in the Bugs. Over the years, I had heard many stories about the legendary Fred Beckey. The same Fred Beckey who could fill volumes of Canadian and American Alpine Journals with first ascents and epic climbing adventures. When he arrived at the hut one hot July evening escorted by a young climbing buddy, I was amazed to see that this rather “rough and gruff” man who was rumoured to be 86 or so could even get up to the hut.  Following a full day of rest, the team headed off in the early morning to the Crescent Spire area. I headed out with camera in tow shortly after and had the pleasure of sitting along the ledge of McTech Arete while the “boys” worked on the first pitch.  Mr. Beckey didn’t top out on any new first ascents that day, but I feel so very lucky to have shared an afternoon in the sun watching and listening to him. Through the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col on the right hand side of this photo is the north face of Pigeon Spire.  It is more than noteworthy that 50 summers earlier (1948) Fred Becky, Ralph Widrig and Joe Hieb completed a first ascent on that face. Who says that mountains are not good for the soul?