Flash Back Fridays

TIM FAIRBANK summer of 1985

I first heard of Strathcona when I was in grade 10 at Shawnigan Lake School. One of the Outdoors club teachers, Rick Reeve, had attended a program the previous summer and gave us a slide show. In 1980, my summer between grades 11 and 12, a friend and I attended a 4-day rock climbing introduction followed by the 10 day Glacier School. Jim Rutter led the course. I recall on the first day we gathered over a cup of tea (always a pot of mint tea on the go, black tea if we were lucky but never coffee!) and Jim said “ This program begins with a cup of tea, has lots of cups of tea in the middle, and ends with a bloody big piss-up.”

bedwell lake

Bedwell Lake

Our time on the glacier was amazing, I believe we had sunshine every day. Another memory from that trip was Penny Hasell being in charge of the dwindling tea supply. She had used tea bags drying on rocks and each new brew got one new bag and a couple of used bags.

I came to work for August and September. Jim had me volunteer for the first 2 weeks and then put me on pay at the whopping rate of $35 per day plus waterfront accommodation. I already had certification to teach sailing and boardsailing, and over my time there in the next year or two I was able to take the required courses to teach white-water kayaking and flat-water canoeing.

One day I worked with Jim on the dock in the middle bay. I recall we were moving boom sticks and adding flotation. I was at that time unimpressed with his brash way. I gained more respect for him later when he showed some of us to find, buck and split shakes and we re-roofed one of the cabins. I remember getting a lot out of a survival lecture he gave.

I remember one day between school groups in September a group of us took bicycles up the Elk River Trail The Folk Weekends always were a highlight for us.