On the Ropes - Tom Roper

On the Ropes - Tom Roper

Requirements for becoming a Smithereen

Tom recounts his adventures climbing the mountain and floating the river

So you want to become a Smithereen? 

The first requirement is fairly simple. You need to climb that mountain we live beside. Park on the ski hill beside the green T-bar and start walking up onto the Prairie. This is the area where Smithers became famous along with Iceland. The Disney movie Eight Below was filmed there.

I was fortunate to get a job with the maintenance crew. We even got to meet the star dogs. Honestly, they came through with their noses in the air as if they were actual stars. The stunt dogs seemed friendly and more relaxed.

O.K. now keep heading up the mountain and shortly you will reach Crater Lake. A very beautiful spot to rest and contemplate the scenery, it is spectacular. This can also be far enough for many and it has a great feeling of accomplishment. Hopefully, you have brought some food and maybe a jacket as it is generally breezy and a bit cooler.

If you are ready for the next assault it would probably help to have hiking boots as the terrain steepens and is fairly rocky. Up we go toward the ridge on the right.

This is where I start to get a bit shaky as heights are not my favourite thing but this time I am going for the top. Once you reach the upper end of the ridge there is just one more grunt, fairly steep but doable.

My wife was starting to bother me though as she scampered up the pitch and I was inching my way up to the ledge. She climbed over the top and left me hanging. I started feeling a bit panicky and cried out “Sara, Sara” and three people already on top came to the edge to see what the issue was.

“I want Sara,” I said, and sure enough she came over and coaxed me up over the ledge. There is a book in a steel tube up there and you can sign your name in it.

Once down from the ledge and on to the ridge a certain feeling of security returned and down the mountain we went.

Done, and if I can do it, you can do it too.

The next requirement is also simple. Float that beautiful Bulkley River.

This river is the lifeblood of the valley. The float can be done in a canoe, a raft, even on a tube. You can put in on the Little Bulkley in Houston, or by the Quick bridge in downtown Quick.

You can even put in at Telkwa. It gives you a peaceful feeling enjoying the scenery and watching the birds, sometimes Kingfishers, Ospreys and Eagles.

Remember your life jacket and keep right when you reach Tatlow Falls.

I was at the falls a few years back in a small raft. As I encouraged my friend from Australia to paddle hard she just quit and we went through the chute backwards fortunately remaining upright.

Exercise caution if you want to run the falls. They can be tricky and there have been stories of tubers and even kayakers held under at the drop.

The next couple of miles is very pleasant and pullout is river right just past the bridge.

You have done it and you can now claim to be a local.

If you have any adventures or other events you would like to share email me tr.ranch@hotmail.com or call 250-877-1806.

Thanks, Tom