Sometimes things don't go as planned – and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures.
"Don't let go of that branch until you have grabbed onto the next one," he instructed.
I followed his orders, making my way carefully down the steep, snow-covered cliff face, paying particular attention to my footing and manoeuvring the heavy overnight pack strapped to my back. I tested holds in the rock and tree branches before trusting them with my life. I accepted his hand when needed. Who said chivalry was dead?
Reach hold. Secure footing. Repeat.
I had never been so up close and personal with the Rocky Mountains since temporarily moving from Australia to Canada on a working holiday visa.
He was a few steps ahead of me when he declared, "We can't go this way. It's impossible. If we slip, we're dead."
I glance to my left and 10 metres away is a 20-metre cascading waterfall. To my right, the icy cliff wraps around the mountain. Neither direction looks inviting.
Its 5:28 p.m. and the sun is setting, casting shades of pink and purple onto the mountains in the distance. It paints a romantic picture, but the reality was far from it.
I'll admit, we began the day with ambitious plans: to complete a two-day, 34-kilometre circuit of Northover Ridge in Kananaskis Country, in just one.
"I'm calling 911," he says.
I'd never been on a date (or in any situation for that matter) when there's been good reason to call 911. But there's a first time for everything.
I had been very fond of this clever, athletic, potential boyfriend up until this point. We had no emergency beacon, no map and no food left. We weren't lost; we just needed help locating the trail back to the parking lot, having lost it hours earlier in the snow.
I felt sick to my stomach. This guy claims he's a rock climber – where is the climbing rope when you need it?
Instead of opting for an evening at the movies, it felt as if we were starring in one: an adventure thriller.
I switched to survival mode and tried to maintain a calm demeanour.
We backtracked up the mountain and tightly gripped each other's hands as we crossed a freezing cold, ankle-deep river. We exchanged few words for the next few hours, as I strained my eyes to navigate over and under logs in the pitch-black darkness. He would occasionally shine his flashlight my way to assist through the dense, pine forest.
"I think this is where we turn right," I said, as we found ourselves at an intersection hours later.
"No, that will loop around and take us back to where we came from. Let's go left."
That wrong turn added two hours to our trip. Returning to the car at 12:30 a.m., we ended our hike after 16 hours.
"So, we made it out alive. Does that mean I get a second date?" he smiled.
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