Reviews

Glorious lists

Michael Hayward

As winter ends and the snowline slowly creeps up the flanks of Vancouver’s North Shore mountains, another peakbagging season is getting underway. The bible for local peakbaggers has to be The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore: A Peakbagger’s Guide (Rocky Mountain Books), a guidebook with the most glorious set of appendices I’ve ever seen: 114 pages in a 504-page book, 24 appendices in all. It’s a list-lover’s dream. There are bulleted lists and numbered lists; nested lists and lists of lists. Every possible peak-related topic has been covered. In Appendix 1 the North Shore peaks are arranged according to a variety of criteria: from easiest to hardest; from shortest to longest; they’re arranged by elevation (height and prominence) and by appearance (most beautiful shape and composition). There are curated peak collections (the most masochistic climbs, the most romantic, the best waterfalls, etc.). For the musically inclined, there’s a list of the best peakbagging songs (Tangerine Kitty’s “Dumb Ways to Die” sits at number 7); for the literary: a list of the best peakbagging poems (Earl Birney’s “David” is at number 1). Appendix 6: Whiskey Bagging lists “known whiskey caches on or near peaks, with the kind of whiskey at time of publication.” From this list I’ve learned that peakbaggers seem to prefer whiskies from Speyside distilleries: Glenfiddich is cached on Fromme, Glendullan on Deeks, and Glenlivet hides somewhere atop Enchantment, Echo, Brunswick, and Leading mountains; those who favour Islay whiskies should clamber to the top of Windsor (Finlarig) or Brunswick Lake (Ardbeg). Appendix 12: North Shore Watersheds lists all the creeks and rivers that drain the North Shore mountains: ordered by size, from north to south, from west to east; including (where known) their Indigenous names, the area they drain, the length, the average gradient and the date(s) last logged. One hiccup: at 970 grams the book is overweight; most would rather carry the equivalent amount of trail mix on their next peakbagging expedition.

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