Waddington – Following In the Footsteps

Justin Sweeny – his official title here is NA Sports Marketing Specialist but in reality he is a firecracker. Crushing mountains, climbs and distances whenever and wherever, as often as he can while still holding down a full-time job.

For three years now Justin has been talking about and researching the quintessential west coast adventure. Initially his forays zigzagged, until a good read of local legend Jon Clarke’s story zeroed him in on the Coast Range, Mt Waddington and ultimately, Phyllis and Don Munday.

The Coast Range is Vancouver’s backyard. It’s huge, varied and irresistible if you have a sense of adventure and respect for the legacy of all the characters who have made BC what it is, in spirit and in practice. We’re known for being an unconventional bunch. We like things that are difficult.

John Clarke, John and Linda Baldwin, Rob and Laurie Wood – there is a heritage of hardcore, full-on adventurers, spanning generations, which link Justin to the Mundays. A privileged couple who met on a glacier, scaled peaks and chose to live in a tent, Mt Waddington or “Mystery Mountain” as they called it then, was first spotted by the pair in 1925. It appeared to be the highest mountain in BC, topping out above Mt Robson and surrounded by wild, tangled terrain. Curiousity at first sight, the hook was set.

Although the Mundays never reached the summit tower of Waddington, it’s fascinating to watch Justin’s passion rise as he talks about them, the heritage of BC mountaineers and why he’s doing this trip. “To respect and pay homage to those who inspire us and paved the way of exploration is important. The Mundays truly set the bar 80 years ago; I’m not even sure that can be matched today. It’s a burly adventure, and we’re all stoked to be a part of it.”

Sweeny, as he is known around the office, has been plotting this adventure in meticulous detail. He tracked down the Woods for local knowledge, pored over maps and read endless Alpine Club Journal accounts of the 10 year efforts the Mundays made exploring the Waddington region of the coast in such classic style from the sea to the summits. He has dark circles under his eyes and he can hardly sit still. But he is about to set sail from the harbor of Squamish on what will be an adventure of a lifetime.

Log Book: May 6, 2016. Justin Sweeny, Eric Hjorleifson, Christina Lustenberger, Jimmy Martinello and Bradford McArthur set off.

Stay tuned as the adventure unfolds – we’ll be posting to our Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook accounts throughout the trip.