Thursday, May 19, 2011

Climb Power

Bob and I are getting geared up for a major climb today. Anarchist Mountain stands between the Okanagan Valley and the Kootenays. To help me keep turning the pedals over today I remember that:

The only way I can fail is to not try hard enough. The only way I can succeed is to try my best.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 57-62

Looking up towards an imposing looking Blackcomb Peak the summit is much more accessible from the Spearhead-Blackcomb col.

The top of Bodybag Bowl looking out to Whistler's musical bumps with Black Tusk looming in the background.

Max is scoping out his line at the top of Bodybag.

Our view from the backside of Blackcomb Peak looking out into Decker Glacier.

The Buchanan crew in the trees off Million Dollar Ridge.

Looking down on the city of Vancouver from Grouse.


Woke up at 6:30am to blue sky at the Creekside base of Whistler. Coffee and a walk around Nita Lake preceded an early chair up to Whistler Peak. The lingering storm snow seemed to favor the west aspects and a run off West Cirque was in order. Awesome steep turns and great snow quality. A little lower on a fast concave straight line ski out my right binding called it quits for the year and blew off at a high speed. Luckily I maintained control and was able to fall into a big powder pit about 100 feet later. Now I am on one ski for 1200 vertical feet to the closest lift. My Uncle Peter is of course there to remind me of the season when he was 15 and skied most of the season on one ski with his other leg in a cast and “learned more that season than any other”. I ski slowly on one ski to the lift and download to rent a dual tip (snowboard). We head on Peak 2 Peak to Blackcomb and ski a couple laps on Spanky’s Ladder. Amazing steep skiing and fantastic views across Blackcomb Glacier. Of course in the Coastal Mountains the weather came and turned the lights out so we headed back to Whistler and skied top to bottom from Million Dollar Ridge into the best trees I have ever skied. First day of skiing out West in 7 years will be one to remember. The last run we skied of Million Dollar Ridge is an area that I think will be perfect to hike laps in the future.


The snowpack on the upper slopes of Grouse Mountain is fantastic this year. Almost 6m of base blankets the ski hill while the lower southern slopes show signs of spring. My cousin Max and I head up the tram for some turns. The ceiling is broken just above the North Shore mountains and the 360 degree views from the top of Grouse are beautiful. The skiing is also excellent too with spring conditions and great terrain. I can see lots of cool trees and bowls in the surrounding backcountry worth hiking and am keen to explore this area more some day.


Good Friday morning starts with coffee and a stroll along the beach. It is shaping up to be a really nice day and a trip to the North Shore mountains is in order. Pete's neighbour Steph and I head to Seymour to hike for some turns. The snowshoe trail up Seymour offers stunning views to the Seymour Watershed below and loads of snow to play around in. I decided to forgot my camera which means I have to return soon to snap some pictures. After hiking about an hour we turn around and ski corn snow to the bottom.


Saturday morning I awake to total blue sky and am soon driving with the Buchanan gang on the Sea-to-Sky towards Whistler. Perfect visibility means a trip down Spanky's Ladder to start the day. Peter leads the charge and skis a nice line to glacier bottom. As he is pulling to a stop out of nowhere he is struck in the shoulder by a snowboarder at full speed. Everyone is pretty upset by the collision and we wait as patiently as we can for the ski patrol. They manage to ski with him on a toboggan down to the base where he is treated for a broken collarbone. Max and I decide to continue skiing but are pretty bummed out and decide to try and get away from the crowds.

We head back to the top of the glacier and hike to the ridge of Blackcomb Peak atop Zhiggy's Meadows. From there we jump off a small cornice into some deep snow and traverse across the glacier with plans to hike to the Blackcomb-Spearhead col. After a 45 minute bootpack we arrive to breathtaking views of Decker, Fissile and Overlord. We then ski from the col into Bodybag Bowl and finally back to 7th heaven chair. This was probably the best run I have had this season as the views and the terrain were so unique. We have time for one more run so Max skis False Face while I drop in a little lower down for some more steep to turns to finish off a very difficult day.


After watching the Big Air competition this previous night I decide to hike up to the terrain park on Blackcomb to watch the Super Pipe. I take climbers left of the ski hill and bootpack for a solid two hours before arriving at the top of Wizard chair. Travel was quite difficult in the soft spring snow but I stayed moving the entire trip. I am at the pipe in time to watch the last few big tricks and it is quite impressive. To finish the day I ride to the bottom of Whistler to catch Ozomatli for a couple of songs.


After having some difficulties the previous day with the climber's left approach on Blackcomb I switch things up and decide to try climbers right, I make my way past the empty Whistler Sliding Centre and slowly gain elevation on a cat track. Finally I come out to a ski run that lets me gain some elevation and I am able to get to the top of Wizard again which is a vertical gain of about 2000 feet. The main purpose of this hike was to do a reconnaissance for a summit attempt. I am planning on making a summit attempt on Blackcomb next winter and I have picked out a route along Disease Ridge that looks to be the safest and non-technical way of summiting without lift access. After being so close to the summit two days prior I looking forward to this challenge for next season.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 56 and Beyond

I just finished my 56th ski day of the season at Camp Fortune. The entire hill was closed so Dan, Brodie and I did a huge tour climbing and skiing 3 out of 5 major ski areas. A fantastic way to wind up the ski season out East for the year. Looking into next week I will be flying to Vancouver to start a new adventure traveling by bicycle across BC, Yukon and Alaska. You can see the map of the route I intend to follow below. The idea is to cycle from Vancouver to Whitehorse via Osoyoos, Nelson, Revelstoke, and Terrace. From Whitehorse the plan is to hang out for a while and then make my way from Whitehorse to Skagway then Juneau back to Prince Rupert.

The trip will be done solo, human-powered and is flexible in duration and route. I plan to include fishing and hiking as major components of the trip. I will look for opportunities to acquire local knowledge and explore unique places that few will ever get the chance to experience. I intend to provide regular updates on my progress through this blog. I have no set beginning or end dates and may decide to stop the trip at any point along the way for any reason. As long as I am being safe and having fun that is the most important thing for me.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 40

The plan for my fortieth day of skiing was to knock off a tour that has been on my to-ski list all winter. The tour consists of a 5.5 km trail that gains 700m of elevation through quiet forests that slowly changes composition as the altitude increases. The trail ends at the 935m Pic Johannsen that serves as a gateway to many other seldom used hiking trails and Parc Mont-Tremblant. After gaining Johannsen there is another 5 km of gently rolling terrain that takes you to the summit of two more peaks before arriving at the summit of Tremblant.

I woke up to clear skies and a brisk -23 day. I took those temperatures seriously and brought a down jacket, hatchet, and firestarter as a precaution. After a bit of a run around trying to find the the trailhead I was skinning about 9:30. Here is a shot of Tremblant from a frozen beaver pond early in the trail.

By noon I had reached Pic Johannsen which is not a summit you can see out from so instead I had to see up:

After a quick lunch I was on my way to practice single track downhill skinning. The next 5 km just flew by as I toured past Pangman, Edge and arrived at the Tremblant lookout at 2 pm. From the lookout you can see Johannsen in the rear middle, Pangman just in front of it and the Edge off to the right.

The final shot is one of my usual stomping ground Gray Rocks whose awesome powder has been brutalized by a melt freeze cycle. You can also see the vistas that the CAVU weather provided me on this beautiful winter day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Does that make me crazy?

A 10000 foot touring day is on the horizon.