Melting Glaciers and Changing Landscapes

sotm coverThe Athabasca Glacier has receded more than 1.5 kilometres and lost half its volume in the past 125 years. But what’s the story for the rest of the alpine environment in Western Canada? Check out my report published by the Alpine Club of Canada, which combines the voices of both scientists and mountaineers. It was published back in 2011, but the content is no less relevant.

The results in the report are downright unnerving. Comparative photographs reveal a quickly changing landscape. Anecdotes speak to increased rock fall and objective hazards for mountaineers. Scientists speak to a lack of funding, and other factors inhibiting their research on climate change. And while not all is lost, the report calls those who love the mountains into action and encourages us to think seriously about how our behaviour today influences the landscape of the future.

→ Read The State of the Mountains Report


New Publication: Roughing It…Sorta

Parks Canada oTENTikLast summer I had the opportunity to check out Parks Canada’s new oTENTiks at Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park with my husband and 5-month old. As part of an assignment for Avenue Calgary, we spent the night in one of these A-frame cabins and enjoyed an absolute downpour and thunderstorm (and rainbow to follow!) from the comfort of a shelter. My article includes information about both the oTENTiks and Alpine Club of Canada hut system.

Read Roughing It…Sorta in the June issue of Avenue Magazine

Historic Plaque for Alpine Club of Canada’s Abbot Pass Hut

As a proud member of the Alpine Club of Canada, and also a member of their national Mountain Culture Committee, I volunteered to write this historic plaque to be placed at the Abbot Pass Hut. This stone hut, built in 1922 at a col high above Lake Louise, offers a cozy stay for mountaineers en route to Mts. Victoria and Lefroy. Finally, mountaineers (and adventurous hikers) will be given an opportunity to read up on the history of the shelter, and gain a greater appreciation for how it has served climbers in the past.

climArt change: Film . Art . Words .

Thursday, February 23, the North Columbia Environmental Society presents climArt change, a multi-media show that celebrates the possibilities in the face of climate change.

As the author of the Alpine Club of Canada’s “State of the Mountains Report,” I’ll be giving a short keynote address to kick off the evening.  This talk will introduce the theme of the evening, in addition to highlighting the importance of local knowledge – what we learn from people who have the experience and observations gained from intimate experiences in the wild places.

Other special guests include Greg Hill (he has one inspiring project to share with you), Trapper Snowboards (recreational locovores), and much more…

If you’re in the area, come on out for some art, short films, inspiring words, funky music, drinks, door prizes and a great crowd!

Highlights of 2011

I don’t know about you, but the end of each year brings me the opportunity to take a glance at the previous years and all the joys, challenges and trials that came with it. Scrolling through my blog from this past year brought back many happy memories and, most of all, heaps of gratitude for the adventures and new experiences that came my way. Here’s just a sampling of the highlights from this past year! Thanks to everyone that have made my dreams a reality.


30 Day Yoga Challenge – I kicked off my year with a kick in the rear!


Launch of The Campsite Blog – A new home to write about inner journeys and the outdoor world.

Joined the team at Highline Magazine as the new Editor.


Launched the new


Took a trip to Nunavut, including a 5-day ski touring trip through Auyuittuq National Park (pgs. 20-21) and the Arctic Circle.


Launch of the new – a brand new website for Highline Magazine.

Hanging out with Everest on Gokyo Ri, Nepal.


Got to try mountain street luging with CBC – check out the footage!

Had my first cover feature story, an article about ultrarunner Ellie Greenwood for IMPACT Magazine.

Published The State of the Mountains Report with the Alpine Club of Canada – a 27-page report on climate change from the perspectives of Canada’s famous mountaineers and scientists.


Wrote a brand new consumer brochure for Banff National Park.


Attended the Social Venture Institute at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, British Columbia.


Published the Winter 2012 Issue of Highline Magazine – my first as Editor.

Launched the trailer for Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies, a timelapse film for which I am writing the script.

Spent 9 weeks hiking in the Nepal Himalayas and researching the impacts of mountaineering and tourism on the local culture.

Here’s to a wonderful and amazing 2012! 

Visuals Required for the ACC State of the Mountains Report

I am currently looking for images to support The State of the Mountains Report, an ACC-commissioned report on the impact of climate change on glaciers and alpine environment in Western Canada.

The intention is to compare various photographs taken over the years in the same locations. For those of you whose mountain experience goes back decades, please dig around a little bit if you can. The older the photographs the better. Please note: there is no payment available for these photo submissions.

Some of you may have some “before and after” photos in your collections demonstrating severe changes in glaciers/landscape. Please send these along, even if they aren’t on this list.

Please check the list below. If you have any photos you think would be appropriate, please send the highest resolution digital images you have to sotm[at] no later than March 19th, 2011, with:

  • photographer credit
  • caption (subject and orientation of photograph)
  • date taken (approximate is fine)
  • photos taken in summer are preferred


  • North Face of Mount Fay
  • Bow Glacier (preferably taken from Num-Ti-Jah Lodge/HWY 93 side)
  • Athabasca Glacier (from hwy and other angles)
  • Peyto Glacier
  • Mt. Athabasca
  • Skyladder Route on Mt. Andromeda
  • American Rockies in summer time
  • Bugaboo/Snowpatch Col
  • Mt. Assiniboine

Photos from Rogers Pass

Just thought I’d post some photos from a recent trip to Rogers Pass. I haven’t seen snow like that…ever.

Getting the skins on just outside of Wheeler Hut (run by the Alpine Club of Canada)

Winter Wonderland on the way to Asulkan Valley.

Turning back in bad conditions at The Mouse Trap.

Apparently the rumours of crazy snow at Rogers Pass are true.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2010.