A Trip to the Ragged Range
Nestled together atop the Vampire Spire the four of us laid on our ropes, packs and anything else warmer than the granite of fered to us. Humour granted the only respite from the cold. With a ful l moon il luminating the great wilder ness around us, Sean, Tim and Jimmy recounted tales of previous shiver biv ys from Pakistan to Antarctica. Only I remained silent, “Hey T-mac how about you? ”
I knew it was coming. “Well, one night on Ton-Sai beach in Thailand, I passed out on a lounge chair. There were mosquitos though” I long suspected I was soft but the tr uth was ir refutable. No matter, this tr ip was to be the one to set things straight.
Jimmy Martinello and I had come up with a plan to access the Vampire Spires and the Cirque of the Unclimbables via the Nahanni River on standup paddleboards. Legendar y bush pilot Warren Lafavre would bump us from the river to the alpine at the right times. We then hoped to climb the nicest routes in each area. Tim Emmett wanted in, he is a cauldron of adventure, enthusiasm and resourcefulness. We rounded the team off with granite technician and adventurer extraordinaire Sean “Stanley” Lear y.
We decided to run the Little Nahanni River from the source to the conf luence of the South Nahanni, nwt. Lear y had been whitewater kayaking for years which added important knowledge of river travel. Lear y’s kayak buddies were stoked for him until they learned it would be on a paddleboard. We were stoked to showcase the versatilit y of the paddleboard and this seemed l ike the per fect venue. A stand-up paddleboard ( sup) is great for expedition travel as it is light, car r ies a large load, draws little water and can be easily dismounted. It can also be packed away for portages. Slightly def lated
Trevor McDonald boulders in the upper Fairy Meadows under the Lotus Flower Tower