Must-do trips and activities to add to your long, long list

In the fall issue of explore Magazine I wrote a sidebar to the Top 30 Under 30 article about some of the challenges that await the next generation of Canadian adventurers, athletes, innovations, leaders and volunteers. What we included in the magazine was just a short list of the many ideas that came across my desk.

Here's what Will Gadd, one of our columnists, wrote when I emailed to him for his to-do list:

"There are so many last great challenges left in Canada that the idea of a "last" challenge is honestly funny to me - in a great way. This is the land of opportunity for outdoor challenges; in any given province there hundreds, maybe thousands of "firsts" to do. Just head out your door and walk in any direction for a few hundred kilometres--nobody has likely done that, unlike in Europe or even the Himalaya, with their huge resident populations. Add in a canoe, a bike, a paraglider, a dog sled or any other form of transportation and it's game on!"

Specifically, here are a few to ponder.

Vera Cruz creekboating

Pro paddler and Top 30 Under 30 nominee Nicholas Troutman says the future of whitewater kayaking can be found in Vera Cruz, Mexico. "Mexico has been a hidden gem in the whitewater community with gorgeous canyon, clean waterfalls and as much jungle scenery you could ask for," says Troutman. "I have been doing first descents in Mexico for the past five years, helping to really open up the location as one of the top creeking destinations in the world. This fall we will be heading back to the State of Vera Cruz to hopefully uncover more it is unseen canyons and amazing waterfalls."

Survive Niagara

Tyler Curtis missed qualifying for the Top 30 Under 30 by a couple months. The veteran Canadian paddler turned 30 this year. His pick for ultimate paddling challenge is right under our noses: Niagara Falls. Well actually Horseshoe Falls, the Canadian side of the monster cataract. "It is most definitely possible," he says. "[But] the last kayaker (C-1 boater) who tried it did not return home for dinner! This one may not only require skill but also a great deal of luck."

Protect BC to Manitoba

Holly Postlethwaite from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society poses a lofty goal that may be more impossible than any other challenge. "Protect at least 50 percent of Canada's public lands and waters," she says.

Gadd's bucket list

As one of Canada's most accomplished athletes, Will Gadd can brag firsts in several sports including paragliding, whitewater kayaking and most notably climbing. Besides the litany of possibilities he mentioned earlier here are four stand outs:

Free the North Face of North Twin. "It's time," he says. Same with the North Face of Mount Alberta. (Both are peaks in Canadian Rockies.)

Set a world paragliding distance record on the flats of Alberta/Saskatchewan.

Kayak the full length of pretty much any of the Arctic rivers.

Circumnavigate Canada by human/natural power.

Squamish's climbing future

And then we get to Sonnie Trotter. No surprise from one of the world's best rock climbers, his ideas are all vertically inclined and all in Squamish.

Uncle Bens, a Squamish aid climb requires pulling and hanging on gear to ascend. "It would be a brilliant free climbing achievement, however, the rumors are that it may be impossible," says Trotter. "So it doesn't get much attention these days, but it's still sitting there, waiting for an attempt. It's hard to put energy into something like that when there is just so much more to do.

"I just free'd a four pitch 5.13c called California Dreaming last year, and this year a 5.13b called Edge of Pan. There's much more on my radar: I want to free the Prow Wall, 5.13c, and I have a dream project on the Kashmir Wall, that may be hard 5.14.

"Marc LeClerc is working on one of the proudest lines ever, it's called The Temptations of Saint Anthony, and it's going to be at least 5.13c/d, and about 7-8 pitches in the North Walls of the Chief.

"Will Stanhope, another 30 Under 30 nominee has a dream of climbing a splitter finger crack in the Bugaboo's called the memorial crack. Probably be 5.14 as well."