Well – after 4 years it seems I finally climbed the equivalent of Everest! Not just Everest, you understand. There are package tours to do THAT – meh.
No – I hike up Grouse Mountain whenever the urge (or guilt) takes me, and for the princely fee of $20 a year, they offer to keep track of how many times I’ve done it. Really it’s for the drones who run up the Grouse Grind and try and beat their personal bests. Many do it multiple times a day (16 is the record I believe). The fastest is a mere 20 minutes or so. Incredible feats of fitness, to be sure, but woop-di-do.
I do it just to prove to myself I still CAN! The recorded times vary depending on which route up I take (I hardly EVER do the Grind these days, preferring the BCMC trail and occasionally the Skyline). After you’ve done it three times, they encourage you by letting you know you’ve ascended the cumulative equivalent of climbing Mt Kosciusko in Australia.
If you keep at it and are still adding to the total, you eventually get told you’ve ascended the equivalent (in addition) to the Vinson Massif in Antarctica… but without needing all the cold weather gear.
Here’s the whole list:
- Mt. Kosciusko, Australia – 7300 feet, 2228 metres – 3 grinds
- Vinson Massif, Antactica – 16050 feet, 4892 metres – 6 grinds but need 9 total ( 3 from No.1 above plus the 6 for Vinson)
- Mt. Elbrus, Europe – 18510 feet, 5642 metres – 7 grinds, 16 total
- Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa – 19341 feet, 5895 metres – 7 grinds, 23 total
- Mt. McKinley, North America – 20320 feet, 6194 metres – 8 grinds, 31 total
- Mt. Aconcogua, South America – 22841 feet, 6961 metres – 9 grinds, 40 total
- Mt. Everest, Asia – 29029 feet, 8848 metres – 11 grinds, 51 total
For some reason, I needed to accumulated 52 ascents before it acknowledged I’d done the equivalent of all 7 peaks rather than the expected 51… with Everest being the final one. That’s 52 x 853m (ascent) or a cumulative ascent of 44km!!
The weather has really changed recently and it was cooler and even drizzled a bit on Friday. All of which suit me. As well as the preferably cooler conditions it reduced the numbers of the fair weather Lululemon crowd.
In the top half I encountered a couple of signs I’d not noticed before. There is only one fork in this entire route, almost at the very top. These signs were nowhere near there and seemed to be merely a check that you weren’t climbing the BCMC by walking on your hands, upside down. There seemed no other purpose to them, given that the route itself is clearly marked with a series of small orange diamonds the whole way up and most people can surely tell the difference between up and down!
Anyway, after an unusually satisfying hike (it’s always the decision to do it that’s the hard part), I finally got to see the coveted “Everest” next to my name on the finisher’s board. So what’s next? Well… I’ve only done 9 ascents this season, so an obvious “next” is to make it at least 10 before the Grind is officially closed for the season. Then – we’ll see. Snowshoe Grind was a bit of a let-down last couple of years, but never say never.