To the gym or to the mountain?

Me 'n Murphy at Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Do you really need a gym membership, fancy running shoes and a personal trainer to stay healthy, strong and to lead a robust life? My great grandfather Edward Feuz Sr. (1859-1944) would likely say no!

On his 80th birthday Grandpa Edward  climbed the Jungfrau, the third highest summit in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland at 13,642 ft. That was in 1939 with nothing but an ice axe and some rope.

Did he spend months lifting weights, running on the treadmill and doing crunches to prepare for his journey? No, Grandpa Edward simply climbed mountains his whole life.

In fact, Grandpa Edward and his three sons Edward Jr, Ernest, and Walter made a total of 183 first ascents as mountaineers in the mountain ranges of western Canada.

“…In mountain climbing you’d better never underestimate the power of either women or older people.”

-Edward Feuz Jr., Swiss Mountain Guide, 1884-1981, 102 first ascents, commenting on climbing Mount Bryce (11,505 ft) with Katherine Gardiner, both in their 50’s. The Guiding Spirit, Kauffman A, &  Putnam, W., 1986, Footprint, Revelstoke.

When asked how they physically prepared for big climbs Uncle Edward Feuz Jr. replied “No matter how good you are, get in shape before the season starts. Do short easy climbs first, as the days pass, more difficult and longer ones. Save your hardest climbs for the end when you’re really in shape”

Health and fitness benefits of hiking

An aerobic workout that will strengthen the heart, lungs and vascular system

A strength workout that will strengthen legs, core and upper body if climbing (and will build bone density)

A flexibility workout as you climb and reach

Burn a tonne of calories for weightloss

Agility and balance are developed as you manoever over various terrain

Fresh air to purify the body

Vitamin D from the sunshine

Hike with great friends for good company and good times

Take your dog

Breathtaking vistas you will never forget

Anyone who skips their gym workout for a hike up a mountain has my blessing!

Grandpa Feuz’s Gym

Enjoy these images from the Western Canadian mountain ranges first ascended by my Great Grandpa and great uncles, the Swiss Guides.

Banff National Park

The Natural Bridge, Banff National Park

Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park

Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park

Lake Louise

Lake Louise Alberta, Banff National Park

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Bluewater Creek, Selkirk Mountains

Photo Credit: Shari Feuz

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