55 mountains in 55 months: back to basics

Quebec mountaineer François-Guy Thivierge began in August 2019 the challenge of his life: to climb 55 mountains in 55 months to mark his 55 years. On a regular basis, The newspaper presents a mountain that he climbed as part of this project.

Even the pandemic has not come to the end of the great dream of François-Guy Thivierge. After a forced break of a few months, it was in September, in Western Canada, that the Quebec mountaineer relaunched his project to climb 55 mountains in 55 months for his 55th birthday. Nothing like Castle Mountain, a mountain he hadn’t seen for 25 years, to reconnect with his love of nature.

Used to travel to the four corners of the world and to put on flights faster than his shadow to explore exotic mountains, Thivierge has of course had to review his aspirations in the current context.

As explained in our edition of June 8, the adventurer chose to stay in the country by going to the West inside a camper specially fitted out for the occasion.


Thivierge saw all the colors when taking the Alt Left climbing route, on the east face of the mountain.

Courtesy photo

Thivierge saw all the colors when taking the Alt Left climbing route, on the east face of the mountain.

It was at Castle Mountain, a dream location halfway between Banff and Lake Louise, in Alberta, that Thivierge relaunched his project, after six months of forced hiatus and fueled by an ever-burning flame.

“I left for three weeks and saw several beautiful walls for climbing. I draw a very positive assessment. I’m still in great shape and I want the project to move forward. There is no more beautiful symbol than to climb a mountain, especially in these days, ”he said.

Like a reunion

For François-Guy Thivierge, it was the first stop at Castle Mountain in 25 years, when he had climbed one of the two main sections of the mountain. It was this time at the other wall, named Bewer Buttress, that he attacked.


The mountaineer does not only enjoy the joys of the mountains on his journeys.  He knows how to soak up the other elements of the nature that surrounds him and he found himself in his element near the translucent waters of the Grassi Lakes.

Courtesy photo

The mountaineer does not only enjoy the joys of the mountains on his journeys. He knows how to soak up the other elements of the nature that surrounds him and he found himself in his element near the translucent waters of the Grassi Lakes.

“What a joy to be able to reach the top and complete the line after all these years! It’s a challenge that has been stuck in my head for a long time. We’re talking about one of the most classic alpine climbing routes in the Canadian Rockies. It’s a 5 star experience, ”he said.

Ecstasy was felt after an ascent lasting just over 16 hours. “Just the approach walk, it was something and then you had to climb a big wall of rocks. It was a bit like climbing up the corner of a building. We came back as burnt as happy, ”he said about this climb experienced in cold and windy weather.

A moving approach

The fact that he was forced to stay in Canada did not undermine the morale of the mountaineer, on the contrary. Inspired by the beauty of his “home”, he even fell in love when he arrived there.

“The mountain is visible from the highway, which is certainly one of the most beautiful in the world. The landscapes are extraordinary with turquoise lakes. “


The Rockies are aptly named, with this intimidating wall, even for a seasoned climber.

Courtesy photo

The Rockies are aptly named, with this intimidating wall, even for a seasoned climber.

“I was driving and tears came to my eyes when I saw this castle in the shape of a king’s crown. It’s even more beautiful to know that it’s home, ”he said.

A flexible project

If the current health crisis does not slow down the enthusiasm of Thivierge in his quest, the fact remains that his initial plans are turned upside down. The veteran knows full well that adaptation will be key for the next few months.

“The list of 55 mountains can move. For example, my original plan was to attack Mount Assiniboine (BC) but it was too late in the season and there was too much snow making the terrain unstable. There is no shortage of plans B under more favorable conditions in the Rockies! “

“The project continues, there is no question of stopping. On the other hand, I will give myself six more months at the end to compensate for the months that I lost in 2020. I want to respect the health standards in place. So I can’t go anywhere right now. For this project to work, you have to be flexible, ”concluded wisely the man who plans to take off to explore another part of Western Canada in mid-December.

As soon as the sanitary conditions and the opening of the borders allow it, Thivierge promises to broaden its horizons again to achieve its mountainous objectives elsewhere around the globe.

CASTLE MOUNTAIN

Head for the mountain

  • Altitude : 2766 m
  • Country: Canada
  • Region : Banff National Park
  • Ascension: 1400 m
  • Duration: 4:30 p.m.
  • First ascent: 1884

To follow his adventures

Quebec mountaineer François-Guy Thivierge began in August 2019 the challenge of his life: to climb 55 mountains in 55 months to mark his 55 years. Each month, The newspaper presents a mountain that he climbed as part of this project.

www.journaldequebec.com

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