“Go forth, sons and daughters of the mountains, and seek to fill three cups. One shall be the Cup of Wilderness, and it can only be filled by immersion in the world the way it was meant to be- natural and unchanged by humans. The second shall be the Cup of Camaraderie, which is filled with the closeness of companions for long periods in high-stakes, and inspiring terrain. The third, and most important, is the Cup of Self. Only by drawing your well near to dry, digging down to the bedrock of your physical being, and exposing your frayed edges to the mountains, can you fill this cup.”
In April, NWOBS staff embarked on an expedition into the Canadian backcountry to “fill their cups” before the summer field season. Carrying packs loaded with fresh food, the group of five set off on the hut-to-hut ski traverse located not far from Nelson, British Columbia. The journey saw them skiing alpine ridgelines where they encountered fresh grizzly tracks, carved beautiful fresh powder turns through the trees, and slept long winter nights in the cozy cabins. Despite it feeling like spring at low elevations, the crew dug snow profile pits to discover the depth of the snowpack was close to 400cm near the huts; at about 6500 feet elevation.
The buried outhouse and cabin windows blanked in deep snowpack, reminded us that winter isn’t over yet. While pushing through many “I’m getting Outward-Bounded!”- moments on the nine hour traverse: from being amazed that we had a skilled mouse killer amongst us (by hand, in the dark!), to learning effective probing practices. Our conversations floated between deepening our understanding of ourselves and each other. Most often though, was the evening chatter which boiled down to an appreciation for the opportunities we were given and the work that we do; all while exploring breathtaking places with beautiful people and bettering ourselves along the way. The Staff Expedition on the Bonnington Traverse was no exception.
Thank you to Judith Robertson, a long-time NWOBS instructor,
for providing the above article and photographs.