Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Left of Squamish and right over by Whistler....

Last Sunday Mike joined Danielle and I to go for a ride "Left of Squamish and right over by Whistler". It's a classic steep rip just south of Whistler with some amazing pieces of single-track gold.

We spent the entire day Saturday treating the deck so this ride was well deserved!

Steep fire road climb from the valley up....

Local alpine saloon for lunch....


The best part of this ride is it rolls right into the Whistler Brewing Company's front door!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Disneyland Summer Vacation....

High above Squamish exists a virtual alpine playground I spend way too much time thinking about. It's a fantasy land where some could only dream trails would be possible there. It's a place where long steep granite slabs meet loamy and mossy single-track in a classic coastal forest and alpine setting. It's difficult to imagine a place where better views of Howe Sound and Squamish are possible. For years I've imagined spending the night up there allowing plenty of time to appreciate this golden gem right above my front door. The typical way to enter this trail network is by mechanical bird. It seemed obvious to me however the better way to get there would be mostly self propelled. With all the lengthy and complex alpine rides we've been doing lately this one seemed easy in my mind. It turned out to be a way bigger undertaking than I realized.

Featured on Norco Bicycles newletter:

The last couple of years huge "Hike-a-bikes" have become strangely normal to me. The more difficult things you do and push your pain and comfort levels aside the more normal non normal things become. I don't know if that makes sense but it sounds about right to me.

After four hours or so the grade eased off a little and some pedalling was possible.

We took a moment to observe the busy construction workers putting in the top of the anticipated Squamish Gondola station. 

Once we gained the ridge 270deg views opened up. The ride became a bit of a Mt. Garibaldi photo shoot....

After spending the better part of the day to explore all the small alpine tarns and reach the end of the ridge we set up a bivy. From this 2000 ft rocky ledge we could clearly see our house on the Squamish River. The GPS read 10.9 km to our front door. Goat Ridge is the flat granite shelf in the upper left hand corner of this shot from Brohm Ridge.    

Despite the heavy packs priorities were made for essential gear.

Killer view of Habrich....

And the Sky Pilot....

And Garibaldi standing guard over Squamish.

Almost full... not bad for handheld.

The lights of Squamish....

I woke at 5:00am to check a the fog filled Howe Sound....

A vortex opened up and tried to suck Mt. Tantalus in....

We packed up and set off on our 6000ft descent.

This one will be tough to top this summer. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shulapsin n Relaxin....

There's a little piece of single-track magic that in my opinion ranks right near the top of any trail in South West B.C. It's one of those gems that when it all lines up.... there's nowhere else you'd rather be. Perfect weather, perfect soil, perfect temps, and no bugs is what we got on Saturday.

We had a relaxin drive over the Hurley Friday night and enjoyed some views of the Bridge River Valley. This is one of my favourite vantages of Mt. Sloan. Eric surveyed a spot to land a plane.  

On route we also got a solid view of the Shulaps's Mt Rex where we would be the next day.

With the Norco Bicycles global product launch next week we were asked to break in a couple of bikes. Eric was aboard a 2014 Range Killer B 27.5.    

The morning began with the "always way to steep" grunt to the alpine up an old mining track.


Indian paint brush and 2014 Rock Shox Pike in their natural environments...

Danielle was aboard a 2014 Carbon Revolver 27.5. Despite it being 20lbs she was jealous of Eric's and my rear suspension so I bolted on a Double Barrel for her. She felt better.  

The views opened up a couple of hours later.

While traversing the ridge we heard what we thought was some rockfall in the distance. It turned out to be a pair of mountain sheep ramming each other's horns over a couple of women. In all my years coming here we'd never seen the actual animal this place is named after. In St'at'imcets language Shulaps is the word for the ram of the mountain sheep.


After another hour or so this place is so green it hurts your eyes.... The "drop in" part of the trail began so we set our suspension to "pin it".

After 4750ft of single-track descent we decided the Revolver's brakes were broken in. The rotor colours gave it away.

The relaxin part of the trip began Saturday night with a swim in Marshal Lake and a growler of Hopwork's July IPX. The following day we headed west and hit up a lap of Molly Dog above Tyaughton Lake.