Year in Review – 2020

I love New Year’s Resolutions. My first Resolution was when I was 19 years old, and my goal was to be on time. I was habitually 5 to 10 minutes late for everything, and it caused a lot of unnecessary stress in my life. For that entire year, I focused on being on time. This meant that I tried to be 5 or 10 minutes early, which suited me (and everyone else) just fine.

If you want to learn why resolutions work and how to craft one yourself, visit The Science of Powerful Intentions.

Spending 365 days focused on a single task is incredibly powerful, and the long-term effects are stunning. The lesson learned from a year focused on being on time has stayed with me. This is why I still do big focused goals, with a lot of little goals peppered in for flavour.

In the past, I have reviewed my goals to see what I achieved, what needed to be moved to next year’s list, and what I could safely abandon (in retrospect, not everything is a good idea). However, this is the first time that I’ve examine my goals in detail to find out why some goals were met and others not.

What Went Well

Exercise Daily:

This was my big, overarching goal for the year – one I would work on daily. Yes, it was a success! Did I do hard core cardio every single day of 2020? Heck no. However, I did do something every day, even if that something was just a walk, shoveling snow, or running errands.

How I stayed focused and committed was due to one single sheet of paper.

My much abused tracking sheet kept me honest and on track all year long.

To be successful, I have to track my progress. I created a 52 week sheet, with various activities across the top. Every day I would record distances or number of reps per activity. I quickly realized that some of the exercises I chose were not ideal or sustainable. Next year, I’ll also leave some blank spots – always good to be open to new ideas!

Summer Goals – Climb 10 New Mountains:

This was a smaller goal to keep me motivated.

I try not to do the same route twice, simply because there are so many routes and only so many days. When I’m leading a group hike or scramble, I prefer to repeat routes so that I know exactly what I’m getting everyone into. Of the 26 trips hiking or scrambling this summer, 14 were new routes. If I want to nail more new routes, then I’ll have to sacrifice leading trips. The good news is that I did four more new routes than I planned.

New Routes:

  • Johnson’s Canyon – I hiked this when I was about 22 years old, so I’m counting it as new
  • McGillivary Canyon – More adventure than hike
  • Pedley Pass Traverse – I did the pass 10 years ago, but the traverse was new.
  • Crypt Lake – Needed a Covid year to reduce crowds to make this enjoyable
  • Jumbo Pass – this was a winter wonderland. Need to return in the summer.
  • Battleship Lake Loop – my first trip exploring Vancouver Island’s backcountry

New Summits:

By far, the highlight of this amazing year was climbing Mount Temple. It was on my list for a LONG time, and I was SO happy I could do it with my husband and kids.


  • Mount Baldy – This was my Mother’s Day present. Well worth the repeat.
  • Yamnuska – an all-time favourite. I lead this for my cycling group
  • Midnight Peak – I wanted to do a trip report, so up I went again
  • Welsh Lakes – it had been about 10 years since my last trip
  • Healy Pass – first time I hiked there and back. Usually done as part of a backpack
  • Tent Ridge – leading a trip
  • Swansea – leading a trip
  • Little Ware – this was part of a bigger trip that didn’t happen
  • Shunga-la-she – new trip, but not successful due to medical incident
  • Mt Lipsett – leading a trip
  • Raspberry Ridge – leading a trip
  • Gunnery – leading a trip

For 2020, I spent 26 summer days hiking or scrambling, for a total of 285 km, and 18,089 m of elevation gain.

Winter Goals

I track and goal set my winter skiing differently than summer due to so many factors being outside of my control. Weather, lack of snow, too much snow, high avalanche danger, etc. all make planning a set number of trips a fools game.

Despite covid shutting down the ski season early (and it nearly killed me because we had SO much glorious spring snow), I did manage to nail a few goals.

The Bonnington Traverse was on my List for years, ever since I saw it in the Alpine Club of Canada’s Gazette. I love hut traverses, and this one definitely delivered.

Staying warm in one of the huts on the Bonnington Traverse.

We were lucky to complete the traverse when we did. All was normal when we started. By the time we came out, it was full-on hoarding. Mike and I went to get some groceries for that night’s meal and were shocked to find the store packed and the shelves empty. Shortly after, the backcountry was shut down.

These were the shelves at our local grocery story in small town Okotoks. We were completely caught off guard by the hoarding. It was well underway by the time we got off the Bonnington Traverse. Shocking.

Due to the new health regulations and not being able to share a hut, the likelihood that I’ll be able to book a ACC hut or private lodge is extremely low. Multi-day ski trips will be out for the 2021 ski season.

I also did a Backcountry Skiing Leadership training day with ACMG Guide Jennifer Olson at Kootenay Pass. Spending time with guides is essential if you want to up your winter touring game and stay safe.

Winter Totals: 33 days skiing

Backcountry Ski Days: 9
Nordic Ski Days: 12
Downhill Ski Days: 12


I had a bad knee injury while backcountry skiing a narrow canyon in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park a few years ago. Since then, I’ve taken up road cycling to build up my knee muscles. It has helped, AND I’ve developed a love for cycling.

Of the 40+ rides I did this year, two really stand out. I rode from Banff to Lake Louise! This was made possible by the 1A Bow Valley Parkway being shut down and way less tourists on the road.

The entrance to the Bow Valle Parkway on the Lake Louise side. My husband with his new bike.

The other was a ride from Nanton to Chain Lakes and back. This ride rivals the Highwood Pass as it’s uphill both ways, with a nasty headwind on the way home. Make sure you do this trip in the spring or fall to ensure a good west tail wind.

One of many hills in the foothills heading towards Chain Lakes. Gorgeous scenery, but a tough ride.

What Did NOT Go Well

The one goal I did not achieve was to backpack Northover Ridge. Just when the route was getting into shape, my husband Mike had emergency gall bladder surgery. It was infected and needed to come out – now! Luckily, this was in August, during an ebb in the Covid pandemic. Our health care is top notch, and we are forever thankful not only for our system, but all the amazing nurses, doctors and support workers.

The other thing I did not do was attend an Alpine Club of Canada General Mountaineering Camp. I’ve done two camps in the past and thoroughly enjoyed them. It’s a combination of learning lots and climbing every single day. Unfortunately, all camps were shut down due to Covid. I hope they will be up and running for 2021, but I am not holding my breath.


I started writing trip reports in September 2019, so 2020 was the first full year of Trip Reports and related articles. To be honest, I had no set goals other than to post once per week. Sometimes I managed that, other times I failed miserably. I did manage 44 blog posts, or 85% success rate.

Since I just LOVE to track, these are my 2020 totals

  • New Followers: 588
  • Total Followers: 674
  • Blog Posts: 44
  • Total Blog posts: 112
  • Total Visitors: 12,762
  • Total Views: 22,864
  • Likes: 4,553
  • Comments: 637
This shows how my blog started to take off in June, which is the start of the hiking season in Alberta. October is shoulder season, not enough snow to ski, but too much snow to hike… Winter snowshoe and hiking has now started, and I wrote a few posts on how to stay safe in the backcountry during the winter.
These are my 2020 yearly stats. I think they are pretty good, considering I went from almost zero in December 2019 to where I am this December.

Al’s Adventurers Facebook Page

I finally decided to give my Facebook group some love. It started out years ago as a way to get some friends together for weekly hikes. I changed the focus this year as a way to share my trip reports and articles, and to share other useful backcountry information. Without really trying to attract new members, I am now at 93 members. It’s a small group, but holy! They are fantastic! They are curious and active and want more information all the time. I love them!

Please feel free to join my facebook group Al’s Adventurers. It has a lot more info and resources than my blog.

Thank You!

It takes about three days to write each trip report. One day to physically do the hike, scramble or ski. This involves having part of my brain on leading the trip, and another part of my brain on the trip report. What photos do I need? What views do I have to show? Have I recorded the distances and time accurately?

It takes one day to write the content. I can’t wait too long after doing the trip and writing about it, otherwise I have to re-do my route planning to ensure I get it right. This is a problem during the hiking/scrambling season when I’m doing multiple trips per week. There just isn’t enough time to write about them all. It takes about a day to get the photos downloaded, organized, selected, cropped, and placed in the trip report. Finally, I like to sleep on a trip report, and edit it with fresh eyes before I hit the Publish button.

Doing all this work is absolutely meaningless unless someone actually reads it. I want to give a heart-felt thank you to all my followers for taking the time and effort to subscribe, like and comment. It means a lot to me to know that my work is being viewed and appreciated.

What’s up for 2021?

Whew. Good question! Well, a multiday ski trip is out. I was hoping to spend time on the Spearhead Traverse, but that’s done. A back-up was to return to Nelson and do some more routes at Whitewater and Kootenay Pass. With Covid, I want to respect the out of province non-essential travel procedures, so again, that’s out.

This leaves Alberta-based day ski trips. I do want to summit Cirque Peak and Mosquito Mountain. I might sneak over to Vermillion Peak. I was eyeing Mt. Rhonda, St. Nicholas and Olive, but again, hut restrictions make this difficult.

For the summer, I will again set a goal of 10 new routes. Some that have been on my list for a few years include Mount Kidd (south summit). Mount McNab and Ware in the Sheep River area. In south K Country, Holy Cross really needs to be added to my list, and I’d like to go back and finish Shungra-la-she. In the National Parks, I am eyeing Eiffel Mountain, Roche a Perdrix, and Boundary Peak. For a backpack, Northover Ridge is again on my list. Fingers crossed.

More routes to keep me more than busy. If you have a favourite route, please SHARE in the comments below. I’m always looking for trip ideas.

Despite the challenges of 2020, I do hope you made the most of this modified and heavily edited year. I wish you a fantastic 2021, and may all YOUR dreams and goals come true.

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Posted in Life Hack
20 comments on “Year in Review – 2020
  1. Hi Alisen,

    thanks for sharing your year and is great to see how many things you have accomplished in 2020!
    Also, I have to say that is very remarkable your cross training between the various disciplines/sports such as mountaineering, cycling, skiing etc.

    Well done and congratulations.

    I also like to track my activities but also to plan them ahead. For 2020, I had prepared a very solid plan with winter mixed climbing, summer mountaineering, sport climbing and trail running. Unfortunately, Covid arrived in early 2020 and pretty much my whole planning has been “destroyed” due to the very strict lockdowns.

    Nevertheless, I hope in 2021, I can train again in the way I would have liked, but also to be able to visit the mountains again.

    All the best for 2021 and looking forward to read more from you.

    • alisendopf says:

      2020 laid waste to even the best laid plans. I feel your pain! I sincerely hope that you can pick up your plans again in 2021.

      I am cautiously optimistic for some activities being close to normal in 2021, but any group activities like ski touring or glacier travel will have to wait until … who knows.

      I wish you the best in 2021. Keep running, stay healthy, and I look forward to seeing your new mountaineering routes soon!

  2. Sonya Laing says:

    What a great report! I am truly blessed to be part of “the lead” groups. Thanks for your leadership, patience and wittiness. Looking forward to 2021!

    • alisendopf says:

      Yes, you were a major contributor to the Lead Trips. Thanks for trusting me to take you out. Start making your 2021 list and we can tick them off.
      All the best to you in 2021.

  3. A very inspiring posts. Congratulations on achieving so many goals, Alisen. That is amazing !!!! Wishing you a very happy 2021 🙂

    • alisendopf says:

      You are no slouch yourself! You ticked off quite a few hikes this summer – I was impressed watching your progress. Let me know if you have a hike you want to do, and we can tick it off your list.

  4. Nicely done with your goals for 2020, especially with the daily exercise!! I love the mountains and it’s been fun living vicariously through all your adventures such as hiking, scrambling and cross-country skiing. Here’s to more adventures in 2021. Enjoy the rest of your holidays and have a happy New Year.

    • alisendopf says:

      Thank you! I actually got the idea from YOUR Year in Review posts. I have been watching your site hoping for the 2020 installment.
      I wish you a very happy, healthy and adventurous 2021!

  5. Onward, and Happy New Year!

  6. The Marpet says:

    Happy New Year! Jac turned me on to your blog and I am thoroughly enjoying it, and the inspiration you are bringing to our lives. I didn’t notice any recording of hole digging and concrete pouring on your spreadsheet.

    • alisendopf says:

      LOL! Nope, no hole digging for me since we left the acreage 🙂 I am SO glad you found my site, and a big thank you to you and Jac for following along. As I mentioned in the post, all this work is meaningless unless people like you can enjoy it. I hope I have inspired you to achieve your goals. If I can help you make a hiking dream come true, please let me know.

      I wish you a very happy and healthy 2021!

  7. Kally says:

    “Let our New Year’s resolution be this: We will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” – Göran Persson

    Wishing every day of the new year to be filled with success, happiness, and prosperity for you. Happy New Year.

  8. bballscholar says:

    I love your passion! Happy New Year!

  9. cbholganza says:

    This is super! You are an inspiration, my friend!

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