Ski Touring, mountaineering, climbing, coffee and living in the Coast Range of British Columbia.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

some favourite shots from last season...

As some may 'cough' recall, last year was not exceptional in terms of snow coverage here on the coast. By mid season I had accepted that we weren't going to do any 'ski-extreme' so just settled in a nice groove of skiing powder with friends and waiting until the spring melt freeze cycle to push the boat out even a little. It just wasn't the year to do any traverses or peaks, unless you like to ski with a puckered a-hole and be looking behind you every turn, expecting the icy white wall of death. Did manage a few great days amongst the normal missions and despite the conditions, still managed to accrue the normal amount of days in a season on skis. As always the specific days blur together somewhat and whats left in my mind are the deeper seeded memories of my friends laughing, experiencing joy and sometimes digging deep.
First day out on the back of Ottoman (burnt trees on JB's map), Cayoosh Zone. Marc Andre was in town and we gambled on this spot acting as a fetch for the cooled air and micro climate of Cayoosh Peak. It payed off and we schrapled a beauty 800m run to the valley bottom. So exciting when that pays off.

Spent a couple nights with the Baldwins up at Elfin on another hunch, that despite recent high freezing levels, no snow on part of the approach  and very cold Wx at the moment, maybe preserved powder would be lurking up high on Columnar and the Gargoyles. It payed off and without a soul in site, we had our own private zone, skiing boot top pow on N aspects until we couldn't move. At night, we could enjoy the lightness after a great days skiing, sharing meals and perfecting our Jenga game.

Pauls Ridge Sunset. This is the 'back forty', I come up here at least twice a week. The run up to alpine is great for putting on the base for the season and maintaining throughout. This season we were able to hit the S aspects a bit during a cold snap and ski the excellent steep old growth cedars and firs, so good. Most of my missions are espresso fueled 4 to 9am speed sessions where I can get a couple of laps in before a full day of work. The only reason I can still get 50+ days of touring in and hold a full time and extremely busy job.

Ryan skiing the steep lines at Paul's on one very memorable powder day. So nice to have this zone right above the house.

One weekend we wanted to get out of the local mountains and despite there being no new snow for weeks, headed to the Coq to ski peaks. We ended up having three great days skiing from summits and enjoying the company of friends.

Blue River, BC - Went here for a week of powder skiing with friends, snowed over a meter and we got some excellent storm turns and enjoyed some incredible meals.

Around Jan, I tore a major hip flexor muscle and was out of commish for a few weeks. Despite the lack of snow, the days were primarily bluebird and stability was improving slowly. All I could think about was being up in the mountains, light as a feather and moving quickly over passes, ridges and down glaciers. Finally I go the go-ahead to go skiing and with the caveat "I may not do so well", Scotty and Ryan, being the good friends they are, decided to join on a great day in the spearheads that involved skiing the Shudder Glacier to its end, up and over Wedge Pass and down Blackcomb at night. The above photo is dusk on the bench that scoots you around Phalanx. Probably another 3 hours to the car. Ryan had this huge extra sandwich that we split just before this, it got us home man.
These are some of the most psyched skiers on the coast. Out every day possible and just enjoying the experience and mountains. Relaxing after a very chill day up to Mt. Vantage. Just so good to be out.

From the Summit of Vantage we could see Mt. Duke and its SUPER dreamy NE Bowl. With stability on the mend, we made a pact to check it out the next day.


Coming up from a different drainage fro the day before, we approached Duke with an open mind, some cool ridge work and some broilerplate snow brought us to the summit and a fantastic vista, not a breath of wind. We looked out over the surrounding peaks and just soaked it all up. Great windpress down the N aspect really surprised us especially as it hadn't snowed in weeks. Last season taught me to seek our certain aspects in drought conditions for their ability to 'refresh' from saltation and wind from nearby terrain..

Lasy day out. A mission over the Garibaldi Neve in a day. My second time I've done it this way. Such a great classic tour. Splitter weather and trail breaking the whole way.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chilcotin perrenial

Just back from a great trip into the Chilcotins, this time we flew into Lorna Lake, went up and over Elbow Pass, down the Paradise Creek, up PC camped on the other side at around 2000m. Went up Little Graveyard Pass, down and N up to Tyoux Pass, back down to PC then down to a camp at around 1600m on Tyax Creek. Last day was up to Spruce Lake and up to Windy Pass and of course, we had to finish on the world class descent of Lick Creek. We carried everything we needed for 3 days of riding on our backs and camped, went were we wanted to. 
3 days of food in the Patagonia Ascentionist 25, rode great and was the perfect pack for this mission.

Our departure was 1 hr late as the winds had reversed directions this day, causing the pilot to taxi down lakes and then return for take off, doubling the efforts.


We are off!

The pilot said it was his second week here...Jamie shows concern.

The beaver got tossed around a bit but it showed why it is simply one of the best single prop bush planes in the world and we arrived safely.


Crossing creeks is a Chilcotin mainstay.

Elbow Pass.




Down into Paradise Valley


Some bushcraft.

Camp number 1, it went down to-5 this night, we were all barely warm enough. Fire helped a lot.


We left camp around 930 and spent some time drying out and warming up. As it was still summer, it didn't take long at all to warm up.



Little Graveyard Pass.

Out for a rip bud.


Graveyard Valley sign, a very important place for local 1st nations.

Getting up into Tyoux Creek and the only flat tire of the trip.

Water break.

So glad we ventured up this rarely visited valley...no trail but just amazing.

This descent was my favorite of the trip, pasted against this red rock it felt very cool.

4 creek crossings on Tyax creek, all easy ones.

The horse packers leave these great camps all over, well set with benches, tarp poles and tent pads.



Jamie's 'coffee please' expression.



Up to Windy Pass.



The amazing rip down Lick Creek!

As usual, its the people that make the trip, thanks Martin, Robbie, Jamie and Scott for a wicked awesome time!