Year in Review – 2021

I am a massive believer in goals, and New Year’s is a great time to take stock and get inspired. What I wasn’t great at was sitting down and analyzing my performance from the previous twelve months. That changed when I did my first Year in Review for 2020. I have to say, being able to look back, see what I accomplished, and what I missed, was a valuable lesson and resource.

What Went Well

I was very happy with my 2020 resolutions, and how I was able to stick to them. Therefore, I decided to continue two of my previous resolutions: exercising daily, and nailing 10 new routes.

Exercise Daily:

In 2019, I created a paper tracking sheet so I could see at a glance where I was, and if I’d missed any days. I keep this on my dresser, and every night before bed I enter my totals for the day. While I also use tracking apps like Strava and Gaia, I find the paper copy keeps me on track because all those blank spots are cringeworthy.

This is my 2020 Daily Exercise Tracking Sheet. It’s much abused, but oh so very valuable. I made a few changes for 2021, but it’s more or less the same. I am continuing this practice for 2022.

Summer Goals:

Climb 10 New Mountains:

It’s easy to keep going back to old favourites, but as there are about a million mountains, I need to push myself to keep exploring. Last year, my main scrambling partner Annette needed to take a step back. In 2020, in order to train some new people, I repeated several mountains so I could focus on the training, and not the route. This year, the training paid off as I was able to lead some new routes and big mountains.

Eiffel Peak was one of the highlights of my summer scrambling season, and I did it with my new partners.
New Routes:

Of the 51 routes I did last year, 36 were new. Hikes and summits are listed here. The mountaineering, multi-day, and out of country trips are below.

Repeated Routes:

While new routes are fun and exciting, I will gladly repeat a route for a several reasons. One is good company. My friend Nancy has a wonderful hiking group, and I’ll gladly spend a day with her anytime. If I haven’t done a route in over 5 years, I’ll consider a repeat. Or, I will redo a route to honour people that I love and miss.

  • Mount Sparrowhawk – honouring twin daughters
  • Tent Ridge – Nancy’s Group!
  • Rawson Lake to Sarrail Ridge – Nancy’s Group!
  • Picklejar Lakes – Nancy’s Group!
  • West Wind Pass and Windtower – Nancy’s Group!
  • Fullerton Loop – Ski Friend Day
  • Bertha Lake – Over 22 years since last time!
  • Grotto Mountain – over 10 years since last time
  • Mount Yamnuska – honouring my father-in-law Franz
  • White Buddha – video for ToastMasters Yearly Conference
  • Barrier Fire Lookout – for friends
Multiday Trips:

I was lucky enough to have three trips away from my home base of Kananaskis/Banff this year.

Tonquin Valley – this was a hiking trip organized by Ivan with the Canmore section of the Alpine Club of Canmore. It was a five day trip with amazing hikes every day.

One of many epic views of The Ramparts in the Tonquin Valley. More trip reports to come for this area.

Tyrol Alps – during a lull in covid in late September, I was lucky enough to hop a flight to Austria and spend a week in the Tyrolean Alps. Absolutely gorgeous country and full service huts – what’s not to like?

The final summit block for Mount Habicht in the Austrian Alps.

ACC General Mountaineering Camp – this was on my list for 2020, but all camps were cancelled. I was lucky enough to get on Week 4 this year. I was reunited with the Week One Refugees, and met some absolutely amazing new people. It was a week of spectacular mountaineering in challenging conditions, plus two days of rock and ice training. This was definitely a highlight of my year and so incredibly thankful to be there.

Rappelling down the glacier into a bergschrund on Nanga Parbat on the Mummery Glacier. Lead Guide Paddy Jerome of CanRock Mountain Guides is radioing up to the two guides above on how much rope to pay out.
Totals:

For 2021, I had 51 days of hiking, scrambling and mountaineering. This beats my previous total by 16 days. This was a total of 551.2 km, and a whopping 32,427 m of elevation gain (plus all the lost elevation which is hard on the old knees!)

Highlights:

While I truly enjoy any day in the mountains, I had several highlights.

This year I was really pushing myself to knock off several mountains that had been on my hit list for a few years, but just wasn’t getting them done. This includes Shunga-la-she, Holy Cross Mountain and Mount Edith. All were fun and fine, so not sure why I waited?

I was particularly proud of the Belmore Browne to Boundary Ridge traverse. I had never been there, and had only briefly spied that range of mountains from the summit of Cox Hill. To plan this route based on maps and beta alone, and then to successfully complete the traverse on the first try, was a major accomplishment. I know my hiking partners took it in stride (as they’ve never had a missed approach with me), but I was over the moon deliriously happy.

Here’s to good buddies! May your life be filled with friends who say YES! Many thanks to Sonya (left), Nancy (middle) and Erin (right) who trusted me on many a mountain this year. My best days this year were with these strong women – in body, mind and spirit. You make a long day feel short. This was on the Belmore-Boundary Traverse.

Eiffel Peak was another highlight, because it was a major summit that I planned and lead with an all women team. We were the only ones on the mountain that day, which made it ever more special.

I had two very special but melancholy days in the mountains. When I’m sad, I go climb a mountain solo to work out my feelings. This year, my father-in-law Franz passed away, so I climbed Mount Yamnuska to honour and remember the mountain of a man he was. Yam was his favourite mountain. It was fitting that I was all alone, except for the final push to the summit when a young couple joined up with me through the tricky and snowy gully.

I summited Mount Sparrowhawk to honour my twin daughters who had spread their wings and left for university. Sparrowhawk was my girls’ first summit when they were eight years old. I wanted to repeat the mountain with them, but the timing never worked. This was also a solo summit, and I was sad the entire way up and down. It would take me a few more weeks to get over them leaving for uni.

My daughters in 2010 on their first mountain summit! Go big or go home, right? Over 1,400 m of elevation gain to a summit over 3,121 m.

Winter Goals:

Due to avalanches, variable snow pack, cold weather, etc., I find it difficult to set specific skiing goals. However, I do try and nab some new routes. One of the highlights this year was Mount Crowfoot. This was my birthday present to my husband Mike. It was a cold day with very little sleep. While I felt like turning around several times, I kept it together and kept going, knowing it would be one long and glorious ski down, so just suck it up, sunshine!

I also did some new routes off Highway 93 south and north, one of which I’m calling Birthday Bowl. I wanted to summit Ramp Peak for my birthday, but we ended up breaking trail the entire way, and started to run out of daylight for a safe return. Not all objectives are nailed the first time around, and that’s okay. The mountains will still be there tomorrow.

It’s pretty obvious why this is called Ramp Peak. The slope we are climbing is a gorgeous bowl with fresh, untracked pow. It’s a long ways in, breaking trail the whole way.

I was also happy with the amount of nordic or cross-country skiing in 2021. I joined my friend Nancy’s cross-country ski group, and holy! Can those women ski! We did several great tours in Peter Lougheed Provincial park, all at top speed. The trip from Whiskey Jack to Elk Pass to Fox Creek was especially nice.

Cross-country skiing was a blast with these strong women. They were always up for a long day and a fast ski. So thankful to know Nancy and her MASSIVE network of interesting and adventurous buddies.

My friend Sonya decided to not absolutely hate winter, and took up cross-country skiing. As a former ironman competitor and all round athlete, I need to run her as hard as I can. I created a 30 km ski tour of the Skogan Pass area that took in Hummingbird Plume lookout, Skogan Pass & Loop, and Troll Falls.

Winter Totals:
Backcountry – 8
Cross-country – 10
Downhill – 14

Cycling

My old road bike was rapidly falling apart, but my new bike (that I had ordered in 2020) didn’t arrive until late August. This meant that my cycling season was heavily curtailed (which allowed for my hiking/scrambling season to be extended). However, I still got in 25 rides and over 770 km. Some of the highlights was a cycle from Canmore to Lake Minnewanka, and the annual cycle from Turner Valley to Blue Rock.

We had a clear sky day in June for our cycle from Canmore to Lake Minnewanka, and then up Tunnel Mountain. It was an amazingly HOT summer, but we started really early to beat the heat, the traffic and the other bike traffic.

What Did NOT Go Well

I try to be as honest as possible on what I did not accomplish, as this spurs me on for next year. It’s also a great insight into what I am avoiding, and why.

  • Once again, I failed to do the Northover Traverse. I could blame it on the oversubscription of backcountry tent sites being snagged super quickly due to the number of people “working from home” during covid 🙂 I could blame it on that, but I won’t. I just need to put my head down and do this!
  • Fall Couch Potato – Ugh! I really do not like the fall. It’s cold out, yet not cold enough for full winter clothing and gear. It’s the shoulder season, and I do make an effort to not ruin the trails and disturb bears. It’s damp and dreary. I find that I just curl up on my couch and go into full avoidance mode until the snow flies.

    To beat the fall doldrums this year, I booked two big trips in September (Tonquin Valley) and October (Austrian Alps). While I did keep super busy and hiked and scrambled a LOT, I found that I just postponed the doldrums. I spent most of November and December on the couch instead. While this solution didn’t work, I find that I do enjoy hiking and travelling in the fall. So I will keep that, but will have to find another way to beat the doldrums. Help! Any suggestions?

Blogging and Trip Reports

This was my second full year of writing trip reports and related articles. I do have a general goal of one article per week, but I know without even looking that I am no where near 52 posts. Part of the delay is that I really was spending so many days in the mountains that I didn’t have time to write. It takes about three days to write one Trip Report (one day to do the trip, one day to write, and one day for photos and edits). Another reason is that the Fall Doldrums hit me hard (see above) and that included writing. My bad. This means that 52 posts is again on my To Do List for 2022.

Here are 2021 totals:

  • New Followers: 261
  • Total Followers: 995
  • Blog Posts: 30
  • Total Blog posts: 160
  • Total Visitors: 20,722
  • Total Views: 34,393
  • Likes: 5,165
  • Comments: 792

While my blogging stats are up year over year since I started writing Trip Reports at the end of 2019, you can see in the next graph how my Fall Doldrums impacted productivity.
I was having a great year, until I returned from Austria and settled into the Doldrums. My consistency dropped off and my stats suffered. Again, a lesson learned for next year. This is why I analyze my performance, so I can improve next year.

Al’s Adventurers Facebook Group

My facebook group continues to grow. I am very happy to have gathered a wonderful group of men and women who love to learn, are active in the mountains, and have great insights. We have some great conversations in this group, all with an eye to encouraging people to get out and enjoy their own adventures. I have 313 members, and engagement is over 60% of members. If you want to join in the fun, come on over to Al’s Adventurers.

It’s ALL Thanks to YOU!

None of this would be worthwhile if it wasn’t for you! Knowing that people are out there reading, following along on google maps (you know who you are :-), and then doing trips based on my reports, brings me so much joy, and keeps me motivated. Thank you so much for subscribing, liking and writing comments. It really does motivate and inspire me to keep going.

I also love to follow along and read about other people’s adventures. There is quite a great community on WordPress and on the various Facebook groups – I have several lifetimes worth of adventures!

Goals for 2022

It’s not real if I don’t’ write it down! Some are repeats, but that’s okay. Consistency is a good thing.

  • Daily Exercise with Tracking Sheet
  • AST2 Course – Avalanche Safety Training Level 2
  • ACC General Mountaineering Camp (on wait list)
  • Backcountry Ski Week at Sentry Lodge
  • Learn to surf???
  • Scuba dive
  • Write 44 or more blog posts
  • Northover Ridge (third time lucky?)
  • Climb 10 new mountains

What About You?

How was your 2021? Better or worse than you expected? What are your goals for 2022? Please let me know of one major goal you have for 2022. I can be adventure related, or anything that has you jazzed up.

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Posted in Life Hack
25 comments on “Year in Review – 2021
  1. That’s a really nice blogpost Alisen with plenty of info about your goals, achievements and your performance in terms of training, activities and of course with your blog!

    I wish you all the best for 2022 and to materialise all your goals in terms of experiences and performance too. Also, great to see your stats on the blog growing year by year and I am sure in 2022 you will have many nice posts too for all of your readers!

    Warm wishes Alisen!

    • alisendopf says:

      Thank you, my friend. It’s fun to see where you’ve been, and where you are going. Otherwise, it all just runs together.

      I wish you a wonderful year in Greece, and I can’t wait to see YOU achieve your goals and dreams in 2022.

  2. Sonya Laing says:

    Such a great summary. You continue to be an inspiration. I am looking forward to 2022 with you!

  3. Happy New Year! Wishing you the best for 2022!

  4. Laleh Chini says:

    Best wishes for the world.🙏🌷

  5. I think you’re one of the few people I know who actually sets goals and follows through. I like the mountain goals. The exercise goals… not so much. Lol. I hope you have a super-adventurous 2022. I’m looking forward to reading about your accomplishments!

    • alisendopf says:

      Really? I love setting goals. I started when I was 19 and wanted to cure myself of always being 5 minutes late. I took the entire year to work on being on time. It worked and lasted for a lifetime.

      I’m sure you achieved lots of goals from 2021. Want to share one with me?

  6. cindy knoke says:

    Happy & Healthy New Year Alisen!

  7. Your posts are always so inspiring Alisen. I hope you meet all your 2022 goals, and I look forward to reading the write-ups and checking out the pics. I’m pretty sure there will be some adventures there that I will want to try out for myself. Happy New Year!!

    • alisendopf says:

      Thank you Ann. You are such a sweetheart. I love hearing about your adventures too. You did so much canoeing last summer. Very impressive!

      I hope you have a wonderful 2022!

  8. Sounds like you had an action-packed year with lots of hiking and adventure. I like your idea of having a daily exercise sheet to help keep you accountable. There’s always room for improvement and new challenges to tackle. I’ve enjoyed following along on all your adventures. Wishing you lots of love, laughter, happiness, and good health in 2022. Cheers. Linda

    • alisendopf says:

      Thank you so much Linda.
      I am so impressed with your consistency. I can learn a lot from you.
      Your 52 Week Hiking Challenge, and your Ontario Parks Challenge are both inspirational. I think there is a book in there for you at some point.
      I wish you a year of adventure, and lots of soul rejuvenating nature time. Enjoy your cabin and your new home.
      Hugs from Alberta, Alisen

  9. Rupali says:

    Quite inspiring! Cheers for 2022 😊

  10. I admire your goals and those adventures. Oh, to be thirty years younger!

    • alisendopf says:

      Thank you very much! I’m no spring chicken either. Some of the hardiest people out on the trails are in their 70s. However, I always encourage people to do their own adventures – whatever and however that looks for you. What is something outside your comfort zone? Do tell!

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