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Tagging Some 11,000ers: A Trip to the Commander Group
Timestamp Free: 2020.05.26 - 23:46:08
Ranges: North America Ranges / Columbia Mountains / Purcell Mountains / Commander Group
  (4 days)
Participants: Doug Brown, Sandra McGuinness, Marvin Lloyd, Cindy Walker, Kumo the Dog
Difficulty: 3: Moderately difficult glacier travel. Short sections of snow to 35-40 degrees. Loose rock to Class 3.
A four-day climbing camp at the Commander Group. Climbed Commander, Jumbo and Karnak on Day 2; The Cleaver on Day 3.
Sometimes the passage of time makes past suffering seem like no big deal. Other times it seems to magnify it. I had made an attempt on Commander via Farnham Creek sometime way back in the late Pleistocene (stormed off before we left camp), and I remembered a long and tedious approach with unpleasant bush and a nasty creek crossing. Intellectually I knew it really wasn't that bad, but I never seemed to find the will go back and do it again for a few high snow bumps. It had to be done though, it was just a question of when.

Marvin, a friend from Golden, is the quintessential social butterfly. Being a curmudgeon before my time, I hope strangers I meet on the trail will be satisfied with a simple "G'day" or "Is the Cappuccino Bar still open?". Marv, however, can't help stopping to hear how their mother's health is holding up, and getting a report on little Bobbie's fourth birthday party (yes, they are strangers to him too). This August, he was doing the butterfly thing at Applebee camp, and learned of a new road up Farnham Creek. Rumour had it that it was constructed in cooperation with the Canadian Olympic Association and that RK Heliski had insisted that the road be gated. And soon.

A new road to dramatically reduce the suffering required to gain the Commander Glacier? That will soon be closed to the people who own the land (you and me)? Other plans were hastily cast aside and a trip to Commander was on. Cindy Walker had only been climbing 19 days in the last 21, and was keen to get out and do something for a change, so she joined Sandra, Kumo, and me on August 18 for the long drive around to Radium where we would meet Marv the next day.

We met Marv in Radium as planned and packed the five of us and our gear into the faithful Nissan. We drove the Horsethief Creek...

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