Arnprior’s Stuart Rickard explores British Columbia's woods in Amazon Prime documentary
Arnprior’s Stuart Rickard exploring British Columbia's woods in Amazon Prime Documentary: "The Mystery Mountain Project." (Photo courtesy Greg Gransden)
OTTAWA -- Thirty days in the most treacherous conditions, trying to get to the highest peak British Columbia has to offer.
In July 2018, an Arnprior man joined a group of explorers to climb B.C.’s Mount Waddington.
"I was sore. Itchy. Tired," says Stuart Rickard. "Definitely a learning experience. You really get the feeling that the nature out there is some sort of force that’s either with you or against you."
The journey, which is now a feature documentary, is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Rickard has more than 10 years of intense climbing experience. However, he says this journey was challenging in a different way.
"When things were bad, all of a sudden something good would happen," says Rickard. "And when things were good, all of a sudden something bad would happen."
The film’s director, Greg Gransden, says Rickard got the team out of trouble more than once.
"I think he was really the best prepared of all the members of the expedition," says Gransden. "He actually made the vintage style sleeping bags for the expedition. He sewed them himself. And he trained very, very seriously for the expedition."
The team set out on the adventure in 2018. Wanting it to be as authentic as possible, the high tech equipment had to stay home.
Not only were they battling the elements, they were doing it with much heavier gear. They recreated vintage equipment to match that of the 1920s-era, trying to replicate the exact mission from a young couple who attempted this search almost a century ago.
"The gear obviously was a tremendous factor," says Rickard. "Carry one load forward, come back for your second one. Carry that forward, come back for your third. Carry that forward. So you’ve walked the same trail five times to make one gain."
The swarms of mosquitoes and blisters from their vintage leather boots took a toll on the team, but that did not stop them.
"When the trees were clawing at you, they were ugly," says Rickard. "But when you step back and look at them and just recognize how beautiful organisms they are, its hard to stay miserable in something with that sort of natural beauty."
"People call it Canada's Himalayas because its so pristine and so rugged; and the glaciers are just everywhere, they’re just endless,” says Gransden.
Rickard says he didn't do it to impress anyone, but just to test the mental and physical limits of his body.
CTV News Ottawa asked Rickard if he would make the journey again.
“No, I wouldn’t do it again because I don’t need to do it again. Do I regret doing it? That’s also a no."
The feature documentary titled, The Mystery Mountain Project, is available on Amazon Prime Video.