Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sweet Pemberton Corn...

One of my favourite areas to hit in May is the Pemberton Valley. The Upper Lillooet river is such a unique place and this time of the year you can get at much of it with very little effort. Massive walls run steeply up into the alpine on both sides of valley. The views below share a striking resemblance to the lush valley bottoms of Europe. There's nothing quite like the contrast this time of the year. Everything's up for grabs! The evenings had been cold with some blazing hot days so we expected the corn to be setting up nicely.

We drove as far as the highest cut-block would take us and geared up.

Five minutes into the day we got to know some of B.C.'s finest slide alder.

At one point I looked at Danielle and she had the "what the hell are we doing this for" look?


After a little while we entered an old burn and things started to thin out.

Spring was in the air!

After nearly a 1000m boot-pack we were high above the Upper Lillooet river in the alpine.

Great views of Mt Meager and Capricorn at the head of the valley. Almost two years ago the massive slide that came off Meager showed itself.        

Some juicy looking lines on Luxuria Peak!

Plinth and Meager.

We made the summit of Zorah Peak.

Athelstan and Luxuria.  

Spring fashions!

The descent off Zorah was corny....

We made a long run all the way down to the Face Mountain saddle. The snow was perfect.

Mt. Swanson looked inviting....    

We made it back up to the ridge line and dropped in on our 1200m descent back to the truck. Overseer and Spidery were dominant in the back-ground!    

It doesn't get much better for May!

We milked the last strip of snow almost all the way to the truck.... More spring days to come!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mt Dickson plus Spruce Lake = Board...Bike...Beer...Girl!

May long week-end is one of my favourite few days of the year. It's one of those rare week-ends where almost everything is up for grabs with good conditions. It's the perfect collision of seasons when it's never a bad idea to throw Boards, Skis, Bikes, Ropes, Crampons, Ice gear and anything else you can think of into the back of the truck. Weather instability can be questionable so it can be a good idea to head North from the coast where conditions are usually on the drier side. One place we rarely get let down on this week-end is the Gun / Slim creek area where Big mountain lines and perfect Single-track come together.

With the truck loaded up we set off the long way round as the Hurley remained closed and buried under snow. After the long drive we needed a late day pedal so we headed into Bralorne and took a cruise up Carl Creek.

The Dickson Range (where we would be the next day) was a nice back-drop and still looked locked down in winters grasp.

The next morning we awoke to bluebird conditions and geared up for an ascent / descent of the Dickson Couloir. Over the years I've become kind of obsessed with the bigness of Mt Dickson. I've boarded it many times like here, and here, and here and here. It's also kind of a beacon and dominates the skyline and captures my attention during the summer's big Chilcotin rides like here, and here, and here and here. At over 9200 feet and a 5200 foot ridable descent it was exactly what we were looking for!    

Any mission that starts like this has to be good. We pedalled for a while...

Then we bush-whacked for a while...

Later we entered the alpine and what felt like a bit of a shooting gallery with the high heat of May.

When the sun poked through it got really hot!

At a certain point the boards went on the back and the ice-exe came out.

Plenty of variable terrain was covered....

On the way up you get the best view of Sloan's North Face!

Then the boot-pack got steeper...

And at 5:00pm we made the summit...

At the top we agreed the real reason we climbed Dickson was to make sure the trail to Spruce Lake was clear of snow with the intention of riding there the next day. The lake was still frozen but the Grasslands trail looked good to go!

We got some sick views of Slim Creek where we were just a month earlier in full winter like conditions.

Danielle shredded the ridge line to the left off the summit of Sherle Peak only a month earlier.

Solid views of the infamous Mt Sampson...

And good views of North Cinnabar and it's snow covered single-track...

And then it was time to rip...


It was tough to ask for better conditions!

An exit into the shadows always means a day well spent!

After locating the bikes in the forest we rolled back to some fresh pints and good eats.

The next morning we woke up a little groggy and sore from the previous days antics but were amped to get out on this years first Chilcotin ride. After only a kilometre or so it was apparent we were getting first tracks on the Gun Creek trail and it needed some serious blowdown clearing. So we put in an extra 4 hours or so and earned ourselves some solid Karma points for the big season ahead.

Fall like conditions with last seasons leaves covering the trail...

Deer Pass and Warner lake looked locked down.

The previous days zone was deep in the clouds...

And it was still winter on Sheba...

On the way out we found the years first Balsam Root. It will only be a matter of weeks and this entire slope will look like this.

Another May week-end in paradise...