A Remote and Wild Place

In July 2018, we begin our next expedition. We will follow the footsteps of intrepid mountaineers Don and Phyllis Munday who explored the Waddington range in 1926. In their party was Don’s brother, Bert Munday, Jonnie Johnson, Thomas Ingram and Athol Agur. This was the first of Don and Phyll’s many expeditions to the area.

Their bold first foray into this previously uncharted and unsurveyed region led to numerous attempts by mountaineers from all over the world to climb the 4019m summit of Mt. Waddington. They came to climb the “last great Mountaineering problem in North America”. Mt. Waddington is the tallest mountain entirely within British Columbia in the remote wilderness of BC’s Coast Mountains.

The Expedition Team at our first meeting

Expedition Team -Photo © Eric DeLorme
Photo © Eric DeLorme

 

Expedition Route

Our expedition will begin with a journey up Bute Inlet by boat using the same route the Munday party used 92 years ago. We’ll be traveling
expedition style ferrying loads of approximately 2,000 lbs of food and equipment to various camps. This will include both modern gear and gear as was used in 1926.

From the coast we will hack through dense brush and across dangerous rivers for 55 km through Homathko river valley. Then we will ascend 18 km of massive glaciers to get to the base of Mt. Waddington. From this base camp on the Bravo Glacier Route we will attempt the climb. Due to a shortage of food, the Mundays were not able to complete their climb in 1926.

For media inquiries please visit out Media Page

Photo © Susanna Oreskovic
A relaxed moment. Photo © Susanna Oreskovic

 

2018 Expedition Sponsors & Supporters

 

 

 

 

MEET THE TEAM

The team consists of the expedition team re-creating the 1926 party of Don and Phyllis Munday. The support team will consist of two experienced climbers for safety and a two person film crew.

Greg Gransden will accompany us to make a documentary film of the expedition, for the purpose of educating Canadians about these bold explorers and the pristine wilderness they discovered.

 

Expedition Team

Bryan Thompson
(Bert Munday)
Expedition Leader

Read my bio

Bryan has been a member of the Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section since 2008, and currently serves on the Board of Directors. He studied History at York University and has a passion for the history of mountaineering. Bryan shares the same love of nature and the outdoors which the Mundays exhibited.

He has climbed mountains in Nepal, Russia, the United States and Canada. He has led expeditions to the Cascade Mountains, the Adirondacks and Presidential Ranges of the United States, the Urals of Russia, Baffin Island, the Canadian Rockies, BC’s Coast Mountains, Selkirks and Purcells. Bryan has been trained as an amateur trip leader by the ACC, and has taken Intro to Mountaineering with Canada West Mountain School; Advanced Winter Mountaineering with Marc Synnott; Soft Skills Leadership with Cyril Shopokles; Rock Climbing Leadership with Rob Chisnall; The North Face Summer Mountaineering Leadership Course with the ACC; Wilderness Navigation with Wilderness Associates; and has his Advanced Wilderness First Aid Certification.

Bryan currently runs training clinics for the ACC every year on alpine climbing, glacier travel and crevasse rescue. Bryan was the Expedition Leader for the Bugaboo Spire Centennial Climb Project and is the founder and President of the Canadian Explorations Heritage Society.

Stuart Rickard
(Don Munday)

Read my bio

Stuart grew up in a flat section of central Ontario. The farm near Woodville, where he was born, provided him the training ground to learn many outdoor pursuits. This fed his passion for the outdoors with activities like fishing, hunting, camping, and canoeing. Passion led to ambitions for more remote and bolder landscapes in Ontario’s north, the Northwest Territories and the Adirondacks. One spectacular trip was a 15 day canoe trek on the Nahanni river in NWT.

He has honed his skills rock climbing at the Niagra Escarpment, Calabogie and Bon Echo in Ontario. Hooked by the exhilarating feeling and sense of awe that climbing has, his daily thoughts linger on new gear, techniques, routes to climb and new projects. He has in-depth knowledge of bush craft, survival and wilderness first aid. When not outdoors, he is an Electrical and Control Tech at a hydroelectric generating station. A husband and father of two young daughters his family is a source of true happiness.

What makes Stuart a great team member is his realistic and analytical mindset, his passion for the mountains and great sense of humour. In contemplating the expense of time and resources and being away from his family for so long, his first thought may have been “no thank you”. However, living without regret, following passion won over any self-preservation and led him to say those three small words, “Sure I’m in!”

Susanna Oreskovic
(Phyllis Munday)

Read my bio

It wasn’t until Susanna came back from North America’s 3rd highest peak in Mexico in 2000 that she joined the Alpine Club of Canada, Montreal Section. Finally, she had found like-minded individuals who had a sense of adventure as grand as hers. Organizing photography competitions for a few years then serving as the section’s chairperson and even treasurer she contributes with her leadership and easy-going style.

She has climbed throughout Quebec, in the Rockies, BC’s Coast Mountains, Alberta, New York, Nevada, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and the place she was born, in Croatia. Keen to learn, she’s taken at least 3 mountaineering courses, a couple of rock climbing courses and wilderness first aid.

In her downtime, she’s a mother of three and regularly volunteers with a number of community groups. She has an arts and accounting degree and has worked her 10,000+ hours as a CPA. She now focuses her time on her art and photography and has won some national and international awards. The first item to be packed for a trip is her camera. This time she’s taking along a 1921 Kodak No.2 Autographic camera with medium format film. She is fascinated by the technology of film in all its complexity. Her guiding principle is, that there is always something new to discover. www.susannao.photography

Joe Vanasco
Joe Vanasco
(Thomas Ingram)

Read my bio

Joe is a former high school science teacher from the United States. He taught chemistry, biology and environmental science for 10 years before moving to Canada in 2016. He quickly joined the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) and found his place among other outdoor enthusiasts.

He regularly contributes to the community by participating in ACC events and climbing festivals in Ontario and volunteering with the Ontario Access Coalition. With the ACC he was a member of the team rappelling down Toronto City Hall and which raised the greatest amount of funds for Make-A-Wish Foundations Rope for Hope event.

An avid kayaker, he started rock climbing and hiking and that led to mountaineering and alpine sports. He has climbed mountains in Nagano, Japan, Banff and Jasper National Parks, the Adirondacks and a winter ascent of Mt. Washington. He continues to set his sights on higher objectives. In the year and a half he’s been in Canada and with the influence of his wife, also an avid alpinist, his dreams are materializing. One of his boyhood dreams was to be on an expedition full of adventure and challenge. The Mystery Mountain Project marries his many loves, mountains, climbing, adventure, history, fellowship and a rad lifestyle.

Ever the scientist, Joe plans to take samples of the water from the glaciers. He will collect these for use in research on climate change. In the meantime, he’ll be training in the Niagara Escarpment carrying loads up and down in addition to his regular active pursuits.

Being in the mountains he feels a connection to the land and the past. More eloquently, John Burroughs said it best, “Time, geologic time, looks at us from the rocks as from no other objects in the landscape.”

 

Ron Ireland
Ron Ireland
(Athol Agur)

Read my bio

Ron started mountain and ice climbing 20 years ago and has been a member of the Alpine Club of Canada Toronto Section since 2008. Ron has climbed in New Zealand, Nepal, Tanzania, United States and Canada. He has taken mountaineering and ice climbing courses in New Zealand and Canada.

In addition to climbing, his passion for exploration and adventure had taken him to Europe, Japan, China, Australia, and the Middle East.

He loves the outdoors and enjoys sharing experiences such as fishing, climbing, and winter camping with his teenage son.

When he isn’t outdoors, he can be found in a kitchen cooking. He is currently an Acting Captain in the Toronto Fire Services where he has been a firefighter for 26 years. One of his strengths is the ability to remain calm in emergency situations. Throughout his career, he has volunteered his time with many charities. He also sits on the board of directors of the Canadian Explorations Heritage Society.

Paddy McGuire
(Jonnie Johnson)

Read my bio

Ever since Paddy climbed his first mountain at the age of twelve he’s been hooked by the majesty and exhilaration of Mother Nature. A graduate from the University College of the Cariboo (Thompson River University) in the Adventure Travel Guide program he has planned and executed numerous expeditions. Highlights include the West Buttress of Denali in 1994, Mt. Logan, Mexico’s volcanoes of Popoceteple and Orizaba, and Mt. Ama Dablam in the Khumbu region of the Nepalese Himalaya.

He has worked as an instructor and course director for 15 years with Outward Bound Canada, kayaking, dog sledding, skiing, hiking and climbing. Paddy has also worked at Coastline Challenge, Canada West Mountain School, a few seasons canoeing with the Hurricane Island program and Enviros Wilderness School with youth at risk.

Ever evolving, he is expanding his skills to include film production and has formed his own company Thunderbird Expeditions and Productions. In development is his project up the west side of the South Howser Tower in the Bugaboos.

Paddy hopes to challenge Ron’s ability to remain calm in emergency situations as his mantra  is….”When in trouble, when in doubt; run in circles, scream and shout.”

Seriously though, Paddy is currently single.

Support Team and Film Crew

 

Greg Gransden
Filmmaker

Read my bio

Greg Gransden is a writer, director and producer based in Montreal. He has been active in television for over a decade, working for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, History Television and others. Previously, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Russia and Austria.

His first outdoor adventure documentary, Hobnails and Hemp Rope, won best director at the Moscow International Festival of Mountaineering and Adventure Films. His short film Adventure Us was featured at the 2017 Banff Mountain Film Festival. He is qualified in Advanced Wilderness First Aid, Bronze Cross life saving and Level 1 Avalanche Patrol.

He is actively involved in charitable work as a member of the board of Camp Outlook, an NGO based in Kingston, Ontario. He has been a member of the Alpine Club of Canada for three years, and has worked as a canoe trip leader in Algonquin Provincial Park.

 

Kirk Rasmussen
Filmmaker

Read my bio

Kirk Rasmussen is a documentary videographer and photographer specializing in expedition cinematography. Currently Senior Video Producer for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Wyoming, as well as founder of Topographic Media.

Rasmussen has directed projects in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, Wrangles, Alaska Range and Rocky Mountains for organizations such as Sierra Club, PBS, American Express and the Wharton Business School. In 2017, Rasmussen participated in the Banff Adventure Film Festival Adventure Workshop and screened the documentary short, Sourdough, in 12 independent festivals including 1st Place and Audience Choice.

His passion for open places and open people has been a constant guide in his work.

 

Mark Hurst
Climbing Support

Read my bio

Mark developed a passion for nature and the outdoors whilst growing up hiking and climbing in Scotland and the English Lake District. After a decade or so making forays into the Swiss and Austrian Alps, more often than not with a snowboard, he moved to Canada and started to take rock climbing a little more seriously, figuring it was better late than never.

Joining the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) in 2013 brought mountaineering and ice climbing into the frame, with trips to the Purcells, Selkirks, Rainier and the Canadian Rockies, and visits to the Adirondacks, Vermont, Algoma, Kentucky and Quebec. Mark has also enjoyed climbing in France, Spain and Thailand, but somehow managed to find other distractions when in India and Indonesia.

When not dragging things up steep inclines or inexplicably being entrusted with driving the ACC boat at Bon Echo, Mark spends his time chained to a desk in an attempt to combine his technology startup experience with an environmentalist ideology. This is a work in progress….

Ron Rusk
Climbing Support – Deputy Expedition Leader

Read my bio

Ron Rusk is based in Ontario but don’t hold that against him. He’s been climbing for about 15 years and has developed his skills as a rock climbing and mountaineering leader, completing both the Rock Solid Leadership Course in Jasper and The North Face Summer Leadership in the Bugaboos. He also enjoys ice climbing and basically anything else that has him scaling the walls.

He’s had the great pleasure to have climbed in Jasper, Canmore, The Gunks, Kentucky, Adirondaks, most recently Joshua Tree, and Bon Echo, home base of the Toronto Section of the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC). Ron was Chair of the Bon Echo Committee for 5 years prior to switching to the mountaineering portfolio in Toronto for 4 years and organized 3 section camps. Ron has been Camp Co-Ordinator for the ACC’s General Mountaineering Camp (GMC ) on 2 occasions and will be joining us on this expedition directly from a week as Amateur Leader with the GMC.

When not climbing, he enjoys reading books about climbing, talking about climbing, and trying to convince people to go climbing. He was also a carpenter, but used his leadership skills gained with the ACC to transition into teaching the trade to high school students.

 

For media inquiries please visit out Media Page