Monday, August 29, 2011

Taking the "Wack" out of Chilliwack...

If I had known what kind of an ass kicker this trip would be I may not have attempted it. The good news is I didn't so this is another one in the memory banks! It wasn't the first time I'd summited and ridden Mt Cheam with the bike. I looked at some old shots and it was 10 years ago this September we first got it done. It also wasn't the first time we'd ridden the classic Thurston to Elk traverse. The idea this time would be to ride from Chilliwack Lake road with overnight gear, summit and ride Cheam, and set up a high camp. The next day we would navigate unknown and very likely very overgrown old road systems and gain the high ridge that connects Mercer, Thurston, and Elk. The reward would be the sick 1400m Elk Mountain single-track descent and make our way 20kms back to the truck on Chilliwack Lake road. Photos....


For some reason I must have blocked out the ridiculously steep road up Chipmunk Creek despite driving it handfuls of times over the years. I think some sections even challenge some trucks low 4x gears!


Once we finally left the roads and entered the alpine single-track I remembered why we were doing this. It was a spectacular day to be in the mountains.

The climb to the col between Lady and Cheam took longer than expected but after dropping our overnight gear there we were on our way up Cheam at 6:30pm. The best time to be above 2000m!

Mt. Baker and Washington's Cascades were dominate in the skyline.


Mountain Bike Mt. Cheam Summit!

Robbie Reid.

The Judge.

The Fraser Valley, the Pacific and Van Island!

And then the reward! 

We literally made it back to camp to catch the days last sun rays. 


The sun put on a great late August show once again. 

After a real meal we settled in for a great night in the shadow of the Lucky Four group. 

The sunrise was just as spectacular. 

This spot reminded me what I love about being in the hills in the morning. After a lazy breakfast we made the single-track decent back down to the 1000m level and headed up the next days valley.   

The real fun began when we started up the old road that was barely there. After 4 hours of trashing we got back up to the level where the alder thinned out again. Talk about earning your turns!

When we finally emerged above the cut-block we looked back on that morning's camp in the far distance at snow-line. A couple more hours and we located the back door hike-a-bike that gained the col between Mercer and Thurston. Finally...... more single-track!

And it was done. An amazing two days in the mountains with Danielle.

Cheers to Chilliwack Single-track! pic-of-the-day

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Pilot of Squamish's Sky....

I was banging my head on Friday night trying to come up with the week-end's activity. I think it had been 10 years since I last summited the Sky Pilot. It's a really incredible area with that "big mountain" feel and only 40 minutes from my house in North Vancouver. So we headed out early and 4Xed up the super beat road behind the Squamish Chief to the boulder blockade. Slideshow

The pedal to branch up Shannon Creek went smoothly and gave us tantalizing views of Sky Pilot's summit.

Once again there was evidence of the harsh winter's massive climax avalanche cycle. Old growth trees were snapped like small twigs everywhere.

Most of the climb to camp was in the shadow of Habrich's granite masterpiece.

We reached what I considered the campsite of the year and dropped our overnight gear!

After a couple of hours we were on the mountains upper steeps with 360 deg views. 

The kite boarders were out in force on Howe Sound. 

And then we were at the top. 

We couldn't have picked a better week-end to take in the views and spend the night in this magical place! 

The light just kept getting better as we approached camp. Danielle emptied the contents of her pack in mine and we filled it with some pieces of dead wood from the ridge. We needed a high alpine fire to cook up our evenings dinner. No tourist meals that night! 

The local pub was open just in time for sunset! 

Cheers to a great day in the mountains....

The morning's 5:30am sunrise was nothing short of spectacular.