On 21 August 1999, Dan Millar and I made an aborted attempt on Vermilion
Peak (2649 metres). We were halfway up the avalanche gully when a freak storm
hammered the mountain. The heavy rain made our footing slippery,
but more alarmingly, there were lightning strikes nearby. We
hastily retreated back to our car only to see the sky clear abruptly (doh!).
One week later on 28 August 1999, we returned to complete the
ascent in fine weather. The ascent went without a hitch, but the
descent was a different story. Instead of retreating along the
summit ridge, we decided to be adventurous and take a more direct line
down from the summit to the avalanche gully. The scrambling was
only moderately difficult, but at one point, I had to slither down some
rocks on my butt. Dan, who was above me, suddenly noticed that my
camera pouch had slipped off my pack (the Velcro strap was probably old
and worn). Dan was closer to the pouch and began descending to
retrieve it for me. Suddenly, the pouch began rolling slowly down
the slope. We both watched in horror as the pouch gradually picked
up speed and began bouncing higher and higher. At this point, I was
just hoping that my camera (Pentax Espio 115) would stay inside the
sturdy pouch. As if it knew what I was thinking, the camera popped
out of the pouch (the lid was also held by old Velcro). At this point, I was just hoping that my film would
stay inside the...never mind. When I finally retrieved all the
pieces, my camera was badly smashed, and worse, I lost all the photos
from this trip. We descended without further incident.
||Dan admires a rainbow just minutes
before the storm hit.
The loss of the photos was regrettable, but amazingly,
I was able to reassemble my camera (holding it together with duct tape!) and use it for almost another year before an
internal problem forced me to take it in for repairs.
||Sonny comes up the ridge in this view
from the summit.
Photo Courtesy of Dan Millar