Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sea to Sky Fat Country....

In a typical month of March I spend my week-ends charging slopes waist deep in the endless terrain B.C.'s Sea to sky cooridor has to offer. The strange winter we've been experiencing on the West coast has left the door open to explore new back-country opportunities. It's been hard to find the motivation to ski / board the icy and boilerplate conditions we have at all elevations in the Sea to Sky corridor. It has however raised a question.... "Can you ride Fat Bikes in the alpine where we typically ski"? The answer isn't a simple yes or no. The daytime temperatures have proven to be critical. Any softening of the surface has proven to slow the ride to a snails pace so very early starts have been critical. Destination consideration has also been a critical part of the answer. What makes good alpine Fat Biking terrain? We've been finding out!          

The alarm went off at 3:30am on a cold and clear Saturday morning. The idea was to beat the mid day warming and hopefully be through the crux of our traverse before noon. After an hour into the ride we had daytime light and our 1700m climb to the alpine was underway.          

The pace was steady but slow on dirt with the rolling resistance of the big 45Nrth Flow and Dunder Beists. They were still waiting to be in their arctic element.          

 It was a glorious morning as we looked back at Squamish's Tantalus Range!

We found snowmobile packed ice and snow on the road after 3 hours. 

The old-growth Doug Firs in this area are true West Coast giants.... 

As we arrived in the subalpine we turned on our avalanche beacons and made sure shovels and probed were handy. Regardless of the Avalanche forecast reporting "LOW" at all elevations we were entering complex terrain that needed to be respected.                

We had finally arrived in the alpine ready to unleash our Norco Sasquatch Fat Bikes!  

Mount Garibaldi and the Black Tusk dominated the skyline on the other side of the valley....  

This is a special area we regularly ride in the summer months that looks a lot different in March.

We dropped in to a juicy 400m flowy descent!  

The next few hours we traversed a beautiful section of the coast mountains and found a nice piece of single-track that would guide us to Whistler Village. We had completed a 40km alpine loop in 10 hours! Our car was conveniently parked at the Whistler Brewing Co. where we spent the evening sampling some tasty local brews and celebrating our winter Fat Bike traverse!


Colin Campbell said...

Avalanche beacons and bikes. This is awesome Pat!

Pat Mulrooney said...

Thanks Colin.... Don't forget crampons and rope!