I met Linda Slaymaker just after starting at RDC. Linda and my wife Catherine became close friends. In 2006 the three of us paddled for five days on the Bowron Lakes Circuit.
This trip took some logistical preparation and the weather didn’t always cooperate. We had rain on each of the five days of our trip. But Linda was prepared, hard-working, always willing to pitch in, and always even-tempered. I’ve been on enough trips of this sort to know that the temperament of the people you travel with makes all the difference, and to appreciate tenacity and determination under trying conditions. I learned to respect Linda’s abilities and congeniality on that trip.
A few years later, Linda (now well into her 50s) and a few other hikers traversed from Lake O’Hara to Lake Louise via Abbott Pass (staying one night at the historic Abbott Hut) and the Fuhrmann Ledges on Mt. Lefroy. Linda recounted her trip to me and recommended it. I had heard of the Fuhrmann ledges route but had never attempted it. I imagined it to be a rather straightforward hike. So Michelle Walker and repeated the route that summer. We found the route to be spectacular fun – but no simple hike, and definitely not for the out of shape or the faint-hearted. The route involves glacier travel, and an extended traverse of some rubbly and sloping ledges over a huge drop. My respect for Linda again increased, especially since she never aspired to become a mountaineer.
In July 2012, Linda was diagnosed with a brain tumor and despite the best efforts of her doctors and her own fierce determination, she died on Sunday 24 November 2013. The world is a little worse for her death.