Back in N. Van for the weekend, I couldn't pass-up the unexpected good fall weather just lounging about the house. While the North Shore riding on Mount Fromme was a blast as always, I was really looking forward to once-and-for-all scrambling up West Lion the day after. Hands down the most prominent and obvious peaks as seen from downtown Vancouver, the hike up to The Lions is a notoriously popular undertaking, akin to our own Mount Si, but with far better views.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Mount Larrabee & Am. Border Pk - West Ridge, Sept. 26 - 27
Ok, I got "greedy". At least so says John of our failed attempt at climbing American Border Peak. The decision to "quickly run up" Mount Larrabee on our way to camp below American Border Peak proved to be a bad call. It's not that it can't be done; mind you, assuming one can follow basic directions. Going on good beta which I somehow misinterpreted, the idea was to drop our packs by the Gargett Mine at the end of the trail shortly beyond High Pass. Then we were to continue up and right (faint trail here) to rejoin the standard Southwest Route. Instead of doing this however, I blindly led our party on a tedious traverse across countless gullies and ribs high on the West Face towards a broad shoulder below the West Ridge. Not only did this eat time and energy, it brought us closer to our final objective, American Border Peak while at the same time distancing us from where we left our packs back at the mine.
We nevertheless climbed Larrabee via the horribly loose West Ridge and returned relatively late in the day to camp in the first basin below the West Face. We were two basins short, hours from where we wanted to be, and were we to go for ABP the next day, we would definitely be hiking out in the dark. Fatigue and hesitation then got the better of partners Ben and John and plans for a sortie on ABP were promptly scrapped. I'll do a better job of keeping my eye on the prize next time!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Devil's Gulch mountain biking - Sept. 12
Arguably one of the best XC rides in the state, the Devil's Gulch Trail is a must-do ride for the casual and avid mountain biker alike. To that end, Agata and I were joined by fellow Lake Wenatchee campers Heather Henricks, Mike LeRoy and Scott Shillito for an afternoon out on the singletrack. A large washout a couple miles before the trailhead proper, however eliminated any possibility of a car shuttle and left us to ponder the merits of a rather longish 28-mile loop.
Many years have passed since I last did this ride and it seems that I conveniently forgot about the occasionally steep 12+ miles of UP. We were all pretty pooped by the time we reached the upper-trailhead and wanted nothing but a quick, mellow ride back to the car. Alas it seems I forgot about the DOWN as well, for it was neither quick nor mellow. Suffice to say, it was also a real workout surviving the descent on a circa 1999 hardtail without disk brakes. In any case, Devil's Gulch is still a great ride but make sure you come prepared for a long uphill grind and for heaven's sake have at least 100mm of travel for the ride down!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sunshine Coast - Sept. 4-7
And now for a relaxing Labor Day weekend on BC's scenic Sunshine Coast. True to the forecast, the crummy weather put the kibosh on any hope of exploring the increasingly popular rock climbing in and around Powell River. Highlights instead include a bike loop on Savary Island and kayaking around Okeover Inlet and Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park in a downpour. Rain or shine, there's a lot more than a long weekend worth of stuff to see and do here and a visit is well worth the two ferry sailings and long drive.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Mount Edith Cavell - West Ridge, August 28
With our two weeks in Western Canada coming to a close, there was just enough time for one last Rockies' classic before returning home. Named after a nurse who was executed by the Germans for helping allied solders escape from occupied Belgium to the Netherlands during World War I, Mount Edith Cavell is arguably the most popular and frequently climbed peak in Jasper National Park. Although the North Face has the honor of being included in Steck and Roper's book Fifty Classic Climbs of North America, the aesthetic (and moderate) East Ridge deservedly gets the most attention. Having previously glimpsed the hulking shale wall with its characteristic tilted bands of snow and ice seemingly emanating from the prominent East Ridge, the peak has long been an obvious must-do climb for me.