Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pemberton to Whistler by the high Road (Currie to Wedge Traverse)

This is my seventh winter living on the coast - the first one was just ok followed by four very good ones and an below average one last year (see stats). This year has been difficult - the best turns so far were Remembrance Day in Asulkan Cabin, a trip that we almost didn't even go on because we thought that the snow was going to be bad. Since then there have been a number of snowfalls, generally followed by a pineapple express with freezing levels above the local peaks, turning everything into boilerplate and then a high pressure system of no snow. There is so little snow at low elevations, that many of the forestry roads are still clear making access to higher terrain possible. With a large number of warm storms, above 1900m though, the snowpack in the alpine is at near normal levels. This weekend we wanted to get way up high, around here it doesn't get much higher than the Currie to Wedge Traverse.

After a number of organizing emails and shuttling a car to the Wedgmont Lake, we arrived at the Pemberton Airport to a thick layer of valley fog which luckily lifted quickly. We hoped in a Blackcomb Aviation Bell 407 and 8 minutes later we were sitting pretty at 2553m beside the summit of Mt Currie. The big concern for this trip was what the rain two days before had done to the snowpack, we were quite afraid that we were going to be dealing with the boiler plate that plagued he coast for most of the winter but fortunately it snowed on top of the rain making skiing actually quite good for most of the day.
Adam and Andrew ready to roll for a 600m decent off the south side of Mt Currie.
600m run to start, my legs were feeling it.
The first big climb of the day up to Hibachi Ridge
Andrew and Albert trying to find themselves. My guess is that didn't happen until later that night at CreekBread.
The high divide between Hibachi Ridge and Ure Peak, We were headig toward the small but obvious saddle in the ridge ahead.
The most famous educator in the group
Andrew can slash anything in any conditions
This was a difficult skin, crampons would have helped. Ed gave advice, I would have hit him with a pole. 
The climb up to Ure peak reminded me how important it was to come prepared for these types of trips. If we had been dropped off at the peak and found a thick and slippery crust everywhere, there would have been no way that we could have skinned many of the ascents, making crampons a necessity. Despite this trip not being that far from  civilization, an exit to the highway anywhere but at the wedgemont trail would have necessitated an unplanned overnight in the mountains.

This traverse covers serious terrain, on this day the avalanche danger was low, which was good because many of the ascents and descents were in serious avalanche terrain. Creavasse fall was another thing that we were cognizant of and we were fully equipt with crevasse rescue equipment.

Short and easy bootpack to the col beside Ure Peak, the last steep climb of the traverse
Highest concentration of G3 Ion bindings in Garibaldi Park and maybe on the planet. The Owls in the background
No one has ever drank as many beers here as we did.

Looking down towards the Weart Glacier, this was a great decent, Andrew's glasses aren't even a joke
Telemarkers are people too.
Albert knows all about Nigerian Politics. I know all about the Reality TV show Sister Wives
Nice work Adam


The Weart glacier is a 4km skin, we completed it at a pace that was just fast enough to be uncomfortable
We aren't very good sand people
The suggested caption for this photo was not appropriate for my grandchildren's eyes.
This is the Wedgemont trail, Never bring anyone you like here. It took 2.5 hours from the lake but felt soo much longer. We 'skied' down to 1500m and slipped the rest of the way. Great trip
Total trip took 11 hours, ~1600m of elevation gain and 20km on skis

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Asulkan Cabin Rememberance Day

This trip a few years ago ranks as having some of the deepest snow that I have ever skied. I missed 2012 and they trip got cancelled in 2013 due to lack of snow. This year we had very few expectations due to the fact that it rained up to 3000m two days before and there really wasn't much snow at 1700m in the Revelstoke Mtn webcam.

We arrived on friday night in Revy at the Powder Springs Motel ($65/ night in shoulder season). Its attached to The Last Drop a pub I've been to a number of times but never for my first drink. We went directly to the pub around 11:30 and finished off a bunch of Pints of Mt Begbie Brewing's Nasty Habit IPA (delicious). The place was packed - reminded me of frosh week at Queen's - apparently all of the lifties had just shown up and still had money to spend at the bar.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Squamish to San Diego - Nearly a Month in Arlofornia


I am not near the point where I am bored with all of the things that can be done in BC yet but when I have a big slot of time off it is always great to get a little further a field to see what the rest of Western North America has to offer.  This was the first long road trip that we have take our 6 month old son Arlo on, perhaps we could have warmed up with something a little less than 5300km! I was really excited to have the time to spend with him. Babies and long road trips do not always mix - but I wanted to focus more on the things that we could do, rather than those that we couldn't. With a little bit of patience and a little bit of luck (Arlo behaving himself) having a 'baby on board' didn't slow us down at all.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Portland
Day 2 - Florence Beach Regional Park
Day 3 - Harris Beach State Park
Day 4 - Humbolt Redwoods State Park
Day 5- Santa Rosa
Day 6-8 - Santa Cruz
Day 9-10 Yosemite
Day 11 - Inyo National Forest
Day 12-13 Bishop
Day 14 - Alabama Hills
Day 15-17 San Diego
Day 18 Santa Barabra
Day 19-20 Montana De Oro State Park
Day 21 Monterey
Day 22 San Francisco
Day 23 Oakland
Day 24 Salem
Day 25 Squamish

As far as our favourite places go - we would both agree that the Eastern Sierra (Days 11-14) was probably a highlight, the high desert is such a gorgeous area with fantastic access to the alpine for hiking; perfect weather, an beautiful fall colours. The best camping spot was in the Alabama Hills, a landscape of huge boulders, with dirt tracks leading to great secluded spots.  We had very little expectations about what the cities we would visit would be like but thought Santa Barbara was a really neat spot, its amazing how a strict municipal building code can make you think that you are somewhere in Europe.

It was fantastic to get to spend good chunks of time with some great friends in the San Francisco area, as we get older and time with old friends become fewer and further in between, I won't miss an opportunity to see them when I can - we rented the house in Santa Cruz with everyone the first weekend and then swung back through San Fran on the way back north to see them all again.

One issue that kept coming up on the trip again and again was the three year drought that the state was experiencing at the time. Some things were difficult for us to notice since we did not live in the area full time, but in some areas it was clear as one person put it - that "nature is beginning to shut down" - dried out trees, lakes with little to no water in them - on our way back north we found it actually weird when we saw our first river near the Oregon California border that actually had water in it.

We were lucky with the timing of the trip - Arlo was 6 months at the start, old enough that he was eating solid food and someone could go to the back seat while we were driving to feed him without us stopping. He was also young enough that he could sleep for long periods of time in the car seat still (on the drive home he slept about 16 of the 24 hours of driving! We did not do as much biking as we would have without him, that being said hiking was great using both the Ergo carrier and the larger hiking backpack although a nap in there caused some serious face chafe that turned into a scar for a few days after. I did get out for some great bike rides however; a few in Santa Cruz with Mike et all, the Monterey Peninsula, Montana De Oro State Park, Santa Barabara, Yosemite etc. A trip I will never forget, big thanks to Sarah - I won't ever forget the endless gourmet camping meals by headlight post baby to bed.  This was the Delica's last Hurrah - cracked the cylinder head shortly after returning home.
Love the Eastern Sierra

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lorna Lake Drop - Chilcotin Mountian Biking

I went to the Chilcotins in 2010 and vowed that this would be a place to return to year after year. It is amazing how life seems to get in the way of these sort of trips and it took 4 years to return. This really is a mountain bikers playground with miles of scenic fun single track to enjoy.

Day 1 - Float Plane Drop to Lorna Lake - Big Creek to Elbow Pass - Tyaughton Creek - Spruce Lake (gear dropped here by plane) (5-6 hoursih)
Day 2 - 
Group 1 - High Trail to Windy Pass - Spruce Peak Ridge Ride - High Trail back to Spruce Lake (6 hours ish)
Group 2 - Tyaughton Creek  to Deer Pass - Trigger Lake - Hummingbird Lake - Spruce Lake (8 hours ish)
Day 3 - Gun Creek Trail - Tyax Lodge Patio ( 3 hours ish)

The weather was perfect - warm days and cool nights, no bugs and a great crew to ride with. The food was fantastic - from steaks to BLTs to the unburnable Yun Pup to dinosaur egg oatmeal. A lucky floatplane rescue of another group at Lorna Lake reminded us of how remote some of this area is. 

Ride Fast - Take Chances
Ron charging through Big Creek 
The Robertson Conquerors

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Brohm Ridge Hike

We had a wonderful day up on Brohm ridge sept 6th. This was Gran Fondo day in Squamish so we got an early start to avoid road closures. This area has such high potential for public use but the current access is really limiting as it took - 2 x delicas w 7 people took about an hour to get up the very rough Cat Lake FSR from the highway. The road gets progressively worse as you go. We parked at the gate 1385m after briefly descending we climbed up past the snowmobile cabin to the height of the ridge at 1700m - this is the most tiring part of the hike. There were a few people at the snowmobile cabin doing some maintenance to the road. We took a break at the highpoint to change Mark and Arlo's diapers - it was a little weird watching Laura (mark's new fiance) change his diaper but you know, whatever floats your boat. Though it was foretasted to be very hot in town, the breeze and the cool alpine air were quite refreshing and best of all there were no bugs.

From here the walk undulates along the ridge and is actually a really good bike ride. There was only one group of dirt bikes up there on this day and they just went up and back sticking to the trail. We had lunch around 1900m, this is the park boundary and there is a quick bit of exposure on the trail get passed (this could be bypassed by taking a low route through boulder fields) a few others continued another km up the ridge to the edge of the Warren Glacier at around 2100m. About 6 hours of hiking round rip with a number of stops.
Mt Garibaldi ....and Mark looking good - you may not be able to see greg because he is skinnty and his shirt isn't there too take up space 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

CFFOV in Squamish

This is not really my adventure but rather one of my mother's. All of my spirit of exploration I get from my parents, they spent many days when I was a teenager at the cottage exploring the back-roads of northern Ontario. My mother last flew CFFOV across the country in 1992 when she flew from Ontario to Alaska I remember crying on the dock at the cottage when she arrived back and then had to leave again to drop her copilot off in Toronto.  This time Squamish was the final destination, It took her three days to fly across the country with my Uncle Alan in good weather (except for a bit of a headwind). When she was here we went for a number of flights around Squamish along with one up to Desolation Sound and one over the mountains through the Salmon Inlet over to Howe Sound, flying along the back of the Tantalus range was truly awe inspiring.

Above Woodfibre