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

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 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!

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!