The Cirque of the Unclimbables
June 4, 2015 10:08 PM   Subscribe

"I need to tell you about the Cirque of the Unclimbables. Ever since I went there, I’ve tried to describe it to friends and family, tried to explain its power and its perfection. It is, I tell people, the best natural campsite I have ever visited. It’s also among the most beautiful eyefuls of landscape I’ve ever seen — its rock walls more overpowering than Zion’s, in Utah, its evening light more perfect than Hawaii’s, its peaks more menacing than Denali, and its stillness more complete than the deep rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula. It’s a place that forces me to reach for comparisons from fiction: It’s “Lord of the Rings,” I tell people. It’s Mordor crossed with the Shire."
posted by the man of twists and turns (8 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
I was in the cirque last year - it's a completely spectacular place - unreal.
posted by parki at 2:33 AM on June 5, 2015

The pictures are beautiful. I liked the article, but somehow early on I thought it was going to be an account of a climbing tragedy and kept waiting to see which of the climbers was doomed. (Spoiler: everyone featured has a happy ending.) I haven't climbed in many years, but I would love to camp and hike there.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:15 AM on June 5, 2015

I'm no climber - was there just to enjoy the place and take it all in. Was a side trip from the Nahanni River, which is something in and of itself.
posted by parki at 4:36 AM on June 5, 2015

It was kind of a great, anti-climatic story. I kind of liked the subversion of expectations - it was a story about accepting yourself for who you are right now and finding the good in that. It was very interesting.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:46 AM on June 5, 2015

That was lovely. Thanks.
posted by iminurmefi at 7:50 AM on June 5, 2015

This was fantastic, thank you. Courage, humility.
posted by heatherann at 8:20 AM on June 5, 2015

Rare example of a poignant climbing story that doesn't end in tragedy, and well worth the read. Thanks!
posted by a halcyon day at 1:09 PM on June 5, 2015

Beautiful photos. I started daydreaming, then snapped back to reality: plane to Yokun, plane to float-plane to take me into Glacier lake, then hike up to camp Fairy Meadows with its bear traps and awful weather ("we could climb four days out of twenty") and then head up scary looking mountain sides..

.. I'm reminded we humans are wonderfully diverse and contain multitudes. The photos are beautiful, I mutter to myself as I pour another cup of tea and pick up my knitting.
posted by kariebookish at 5:39 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

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