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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spray lakes to Field with a leaky tent.

Just like that it was summer and with it's arrival, the annual Pollard Memorial Trip is here. As we have grown to do, we will embark on a mission of sorts; character building perhaps, fun ensured and laughs guaranteed.

We were trying to remember how many of these trips have come and gone, we think the first one was 2006, Mike would travel from Holland at first, Toronto later to join in on the exploits. We shouldered mountaineering packs and gained the toe of the Brazeau icefield before being blasted by a summer storm, we recall tent coffees, laughs and the comraderie that comes when friends become climbing partners and later, family. I don't know if we would have remembered anything different if we had good weather.

The next years were more successful in terms of climbs completed, etc. After Mike died we kept the trips going no doubt. Everyone everywhere is busy and its difficult to get together despite how obvious it is to us all that these trips and our friendships and memories of our friends far surpass the importance of our vocational responsibilities. We have all tried hard to meet over a summers week and get out, reconnect as friends and reset.

As climbing motivations have waned for some of us, focus has been placed on long distance hikes. Mainly, covering lots of ground with 30L packs. We have each spent sums of cash on the lightest gear but we have also applied our minimalist climbing ideals to backpacking, simple luxuries like a coffee cup, flip flops and scotch flasks are scrutinized and added or subtracted. Ultimately, we are extremely comfortable with our light packs and when the trail ends for the day, we relax and I've never wanted anything else then what is inside my little pack.

Tradition dictates burgers the night before we leave and eggs the morning of.
This year we were to depart on our longest hike to date. Leaving Mt. Shark trailhead, we would describe a natural line through the Rockies. Through to Assiniboine, valley of the rocks, Sunshine meadows, egypt lake, ball pass, hawk creek, Flow lake rockwall, goodsir pass and finally the long and historic Ottertail river trail to a trailhead you have probably driven by numerous times yet not noticed, 8km W of Field, BC.

After a long day of fire road walking to reach Assiniboine pass, this view is attained. A few KM's later and Og lake is reached.

The Lord of the rings esque nature of the trail clinging to the steep avalanche slopes is pretty nifty going up to 'howard douglas' campground on the outskirts of Sunshine.
HoDo Campground.
A rinse in the lake is about as good as it gets after hiking all day in 30 degrees.

Leaving HoDo and gaining the high country where we would remain for a few days.
New and Old.

Sunshine Meadows.

Ball Junction Campground.
Ball Pass.
First view of the rockwall.


A sign of things to come..

Things to come..

Rockwall campground is simply the nicest backcountry campground i've seen.

Amazing wildflowers on the rockwall highline.

Jokers bridge.
710m climb on the rockwall.


We somehow (I may be the cause) get in the groove of taking lunch time coffee breaks. This affords the luxurie of a 'socks off' break and a chance to rest for 30 min or so while drinking coffee.
The end of the Ottertail, arriving to Jonny's car which was intact and right where we left it a week before.

One of the highlights for me on these long un-scenic days is G's philosophy lectures, today's was on the broad topic of the philosophy of religion and more specifically the 'problem of evil', articulated very well by the G meister.
Thanks guys for a great trip!