Fascinated by volcanoes? Happen to enjoy hiking? Intrigued by the toll high altitude can exact on humans? Why not indulge all three curiosities at once during the upcoming Summit Trail Makers Society (STMS) fundraiser, which will feature society member Wayne Lyons deliver a special speech on — you guessed it — hiking high altitude volcanoes.
Mr. Lyons and a few friends visited Ecuador’s Avenue of the Volcanoes this past January, managing to get to the top of five volcanoes in their two weeks in the country, and he returned enthusiastic to share his experience with others. You can hear all about it, and support the local work STMS does here in the Columbia Valley, at the Lake Windermere District Lions Club hall (behind the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce at the Invermere crossroads) on Wednesday October 9th.
“The Avenue of Volcanoes is a great hiking destination. The big mountains there are remarkable, and it’s pretty uncomplicated in terms of high altitude hiking and scrambling,” Mr. Lyons told the Pioneer. “It’s not easy per se, but if you are a moderately experienced hiker or scrambler, it’s actually quite amazing how much you can do there. If you are at all interested in visiting or trekking high altitude areas or testing yourself in that regard, or even just hearing about it, come out and learn more.”
During the Ecuador trip Mr. Lyons and companions were based in Quito, which he describes as a fascinating world heritage site city, and from there made excursions to Fuya Fuya, Ricu Pichincha, Pasochoa, Corazon and 5,790 metre-high Cotopaxi.
“It’s only one time zone east of Invermere, so you’re not dealing with jet lag at all,” said Mr. Lyons, adding logistics are simple and straightforward, no big support teams are need, the peaks are relatively easy and quick to access, and that using local guides and staying in refugio-type mountain huts is quite reasonably priced. “To make things even more convenient, for the most part you are not dealing with glaciers and ropes and crampons (aside from on Cotopaxi), so you are at these high altitudes, but you are not mountaineering. You don’t have to be a mountaineer, you can just hike to the top. On clear days, you have unbelievable views,” said Mr. Lyons.
The fundraiser runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the $5 cover charge goes to the STMS. The society builds and maintains many of the local hiking trails in the Columbia Valley that are not part of a national or provincial park. The talk on October 9th will also include an update on two of the society’s latest projects: the Mt. Pinto trail and Azure Lake trail. For more information on the society, visit www.summittrailmakers.ca.