Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mining single-track in the far reaches of Chilcotin country....

It's no secret to anyone who knows me how much I enjoy spending every possible moment in the South Chilcotin mountains just north of Whistler B.C. Year after year we always manage to find another golden trail nugget hiding around that corner we saw the previous year but didn't have time to check out. We frequently do days rides and 2 or 3 night trips throughout the spring summer and fall months. It's also become an annual thing to push our comfort levels and spend 5 to 6 days and nights fully self supported with all gear on our backs. These trips are far from anything I would consider easy and they are certainly not for everyone. The friends I choose to have join me are very select and need to  have what it takes to get through all the "challenges" that will inevitably come up.

We started conceiving this trip a few months ago and I was pumped when Colin and Mike both confirmed they would be able to make it work with Danielle and I. These two guys are rock solid friends who you want on your side when something goes side-ways. This was the first time the two of them had joined me together in almost three years. The last trip was during a 4 day back-country ski trip where we were involved in a very serious avalanche accident. Without Mike and Colin present that trip there was a high likelihood myself and our friend Paul wouldn't have come home that day. Trust me.... these guys are the definition of "good friends".

All four of us piled into the truck on a very rainy Friday afternoon and rushed to the float plane dock at Tyaughton Lake. It was one of those "I'm not sure if the plane will fly due to weather" evenings but we kept our fingers crossed as we pulled up. Dangerous looking electrical cells were all over the skies but we got the green light from our skilled Tyax Air pilot Paul.

The plan that night was to get dropped into Warner Lake but as bad luck would have it the stormy winds in that valley wouldn't allow for a safe exit take-off. We quickly made a decision that the much further Taseko Lake would best suit this mission's logistics.

As Paul predicted, Taseko was calm and good to go for a smooth landing.

As we touched down the sun was setting and all was well in the South Chilcotins. It's worth noting that Mike made a contribution to the Taseko Lake gods and dropped his I-Phone into the lake as he exited the plane. Colin observed the angry looking skies as the plane taxied away.

The best part of bringing Mike along is the world class meal you'll be having on night one. The menu included steak, corn on the cob, caesar salad and to top it off he baked some cookies from scratch. Did I mention we had a lot of beer to wash it down!        

The evening sky on the magically sandy Taseko beach looked more like a Northern Lights display than a sunset. Unreal to say the least....


After a pretty aggressive thunder and lightning storm we awoke to clear and calm skies.

The second best part of having Mike on these trips is the day one breakfast you will be enjoying. From this point forward it was all dehydrated so we made sure to savour the good eats that Mike provided!

With packs fully loaded for five full days we set off into the unknown.

On route we found an amazingly well kept prospectors cabin.    

Mike checked out the high quality details.

Some very cool inscriptions right after WW2.

The rain came down hard....

We spent much of the day weaving our way through a narrow valley and finally emerged into the alpine. I had heard of a magical lake and high camp location so we pushed on.    

We found it....

Night two there were still some electrical storms but it made for a spectacular sky!

Ridiculously Danielle and I packed a couple of beers which were worth their weight in gold.

We awoke to see just how awesome this place really was!  

The next couple of hours were spent travelling through one of the most beautiful corners of this place I have ever come across. As we crested the pass our trip's comfort was about to be effected by a serious horsefly infestation that would not let up until we were back in the truck on the way home.

In 25 years playing in the back-country I have never been assaulted at this level. It was close to unbearable.

We spent the entire day flowing through some buttery sections of single-track and located an amazing lake to call home for the night.

We all took a refreshing bath and watched the light show on Relay Mountain.

When we woke up the next morning Mike grew a rack and we set off.  


My strange knack for fossil hunting was validated with this massive treasure I located on the ridge we were following all morning.  

Our evening's camp spot was in sight half way into the day.


We woke up a few goats having a lazy BC day nap so we kept the noise down and let them get back to it.

This area is truly special with all the colours for your eyes to feast on!


We set up camp and spent another night in paradise at Castle Pass....  

Our previous daaaayyyysss antics were visible from here....  

By this time Mike was now brewing the strongest cowboy coffee I have ever had.

A summit of Fortress Ridge was necessary so we did it.  

And got some sweet single-track in return.

Tyaughton Creek was cold, deep and powerful as usual.

A few hours later we found ourselves at the Spruce Lake camp sight with no one else present after the long week-end. All enjoyed some swimming and lazing around.      

The next morning we headed up Windy Pass on a stellar weather day.

Great views of one of our favourite winter spots were visible from the alpine. We were here only a few months ago.

Yesterdays camp was visible....  

Harry the Hoary was also having a solid battle with the ferocious horse fly population. His "eating them" method looked worth considering.  

Near the end of day five we found ourselves beat up and ready to drop into the flowy Lick Creek descent. Another epic B.C. day long week-end was in the memory banks. So much new terrain was seen and conquered. I can't wait to go up that other valley we found on day one.... See you soon.


Jaakko Posti said...

Damn! That was nothing short of an epic MTB adventure. Great photos throughout he post. Were you riding you Range Killer B 1 on this trip? Just found one Range Killer B 3 in size L from Germany and ordered it.

Pedro Barreto said...

Another amazing trip Pat!
Makes me eager to to something like that here in Brazil.
I'm already putting a plan for it :-)

Pat Mulrooney said...

Thanks Jaakko! Yes, on this ride I was on a 2013 Range 1 and it's by far the best bike I've ever ridden. You will be pumped when you throw a leg over your new Range.... Make sure you snap a good shot riding it and I'll get it up on the Norco webpage. I'm pretty sure there aren't many in your part of the world!

Pat Mulrooney said...

Cheers Unknown from Brazil.... Glad to hear we inspired you to find some big rides in Brazil. You've got some amazing terrain in your part of the world.