Monday, April 27, 2009

Garibaldi Névé Traverse

The first thing I put on this blog last year was a report from Paul, Dan, and I skiing the Garibaldi Névé Traverse. This weekend, Paul, Angie, Kala, Lina, and I set out to do the same thing... backwards. Starting at the north end, hiking up the endless switchbacks and then skiing over the icefields to Elfin Lakes. We hoped this would solve the dilemma of "which way is best". 

In short, it didn't.

We had a great evening of cooking, eating, and watching the sunset at Garabaldi Lake... then a very cold night out in tents. Well, Kala squeezed into the very full cabin and had a warmer night, but maybe not much more sleep what with all the being trodden on and woken up by the alpine-starters at 4am. Paul and Angie headed back across the lake and down to the car, whilst Kala, Lina and I set off to answer the ultimate question. North to South, or South to North?

The climb up onto the icefield was roasting hot and hard... but the traverse across the top and ski down were really great in the sunshine. As we left the glacier behind us the clouds came in and it started snowing. Phew. A quick lunch stop in the Elfin lakes cabin and then a slog along Paul Ridge put us at the Red Heather shelter and the sometimes sketchy ski down the road to the car. Pleasant surprise... the ski down was great! 

So, our conclusion is that the traverse shouldn't be a traverse at all. Forget all that skiing across the lake and those switchbacks. Ski in from the Red Heather end... go up on the icefield... maybe go to the lake, maybe camp up there... and then come down the same way. Next year we'll give that a try and let you know how it works.

Paul has photos of Friday's Critical Mass ride and the Neve (stage 1) here. There are more of Lina's photos here.

Beginning, at the beginning.

Camp at Garabaldi Lake.

Kitchen construction.

Sunset on the lake.

The climb to the icefields.

Dark skies looming as we descend.

The end. The ultimate question remains unanswered.... until next year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Comox Snow to Surf 2009

Fig Rolls Racing were at the Comox Valley Snow to Surf again this year. We came 3rd in the mixed category! Wow... my first ever race medal. It was edible too, which I approve of. It was a great day and I'll write up something on the Fig Rolls blog with all the details. For now, the quick summary is that everyone gave it everything they had and it was great fun.

Paul took excellent photos... which are here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


It was Easter weekend. We wanted to ski the Ashlu-Elaho traverse... but the weather forecast didn't contain the sort of words you want to be out on glaciers in. You know... words like "poor" right before "visibility". 

So, Kala got into John Baldwin's really great guidebook for the coast mountains and picked out the Lizzie Creek Cabin. It sounded perfect. An approach that could take "up to 12 hours", creek crossings, battling up through steep trees in spring snow. All the good stuff.

We got in to the cabin in about 8 hours, along with a gang of UBC folks... just enough of us to fill the place up. Well, we would have been 1 person over but one poor guy snapped both his skis on the way in and had to head out. Jay, Kala, Lina, and I were treated to some dubious snow, some biting wind, and lots of clouds for a couple of days... but the payoff came on Monday. We woke to sunshine and a good layer of light, fresh snow. YEAH! We did a couple of laps on a great sparsely treed slope we had skied the day before, then headed out to the car via a really spectacular descent down to Lizzie Lake. Fun, fun, fun. It's good to be back in BC before the snow disappears. 

Photos will come when I have some. My camera died and is on holiday in Toronto being fixed.

For now... here are the greatest hits of the South America trip, with added captions. Brace yourself, there are about 120 of them. If you view the slideshow... click the "view info" thing at the top right to see what you are looking at.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This boy is back in town.

I am in Vancouver. Also back in Vancouver are Lina, all our stuff, and sunshine. Amazing. It was -4 degrees and snowy in Toronto, but Vancouver is lovely and spring-like with sunshine and snow on the mountains. We celebrated with an afternoon run along the water from my house in the sunshine yesterday and a dawn ski up Seymour this morning. Now... I'm back to work and planning this weekend's ski traverse. I'm pretty happy about it all.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mancora... a beach holiday Peru style.

We're in Mancora, a little surf town north of Lima. We're staying right on the beach, getting covered in sand, surfing, running, eating, drinking... and being flown over by pelicans. Not a bad way to end the trip. As far as I can remember, this is my first beach holiday, but I think I'm adjusting well. Peru is not famous for veggie food... but if you're ever in Mancora and like vegetables, you should visit Angela's Place. Really, really good stuff. I think we'll be eating there most of the week.

Now I should go and play in the sand. Photos of sunsets are here.