Sunday, December 28, 2014


Between Christmas and New Year we spent a few days in Rossland with our friend Mark. I worked with Mark several years ago in the tech industry and we have kept in touch through the years.

Rossland is a beautiful little mountain town and it really grew on us during our time there. The big draws are Red Mountain in the winter and mountain biking in the summer. And of course evening growlers from the Rossland Beer Company at any time of year. By the time we left there was a well beaten path leading through the snow from Mark's front door to the brewery.

As for skiing there wasn't much snow on the ground but we explored the Old Glory area just enough to stretch our legs and work off some of that beer.

Sunday, December 07, 2014


A glorious sunny day at NRC. In what became a pattern for the rest of the season it rained to 2200 metres shortly after this weekend. It was great skiing while it lasted.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Balu Pass

Behind the hotel with Val and James and friends on a dark and dreary December day...but no worries there cuz James owns the brightest orange jacket ever created by human kind!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Asulkan Cabin

The 10th anniversary of our annual November trip to the Asulkan cabin. There was a little less snow than usual this year but come along anyway...

Cuz there will be snow. I promise.

See. Snow! Kind of...

No problem. There will be snow.

Ya see? Snow!

More snow than you can shake a misery stick at.

With good friends and good times.

Until next November

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Shuswap River Salmon Paddle

Our annual Shuswap canoe trip to see the salmon run. This time with Ashley, Fred, and Floyd on a paddle board.

Like last year we put in at Dale's Hand Launch, but unlike last year when we used bikes, this time we dropped a car at Trinity Bridge for the return shuttle.

Salmon are amazing.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Markhor Needle Traverse

We had done this traverse a couple of times before in August 2011. The first time was a gong show, the second time was better, but this time we really got it sorted out by taking the route marked in yellow.

Just beyond the top of the first slab, rather than thrashing up and left as we did on attempt #2, we instead followed a treed gully on the right up onto the ridge. It's steep and brushy but easy. Otherwise this was much the same as the previous time with lots of scrambling, avoiding the off-width crack by moving to skiers left, and a bit of rope work for peace of mind at crux #2.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Frisby Ridge Mountain Bike Trail

This was our second alpine ride in the Revelstoke area after trying Keystone Standard a few weeks earlier. I think this is the better ride. It's located north of Revelstoke on the west side of the Columbia beginning at around 1300m and climbs to around 2100m. We had a great day out with Nick, Ken, Sonia, and Dave.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Cathedral Park

We decided to go into Cathedral Park again. We'd been here on Labour Day weekend 2009, 2010, and 2011 to climb the "Traverse of the Gods". This time we just wanted to hang out and enjoy the place. Alas, someone forgot their boots...but she was a good sport about it!

The trail was littered with downed trees even more so than in previous years.

We were again visited by several deer.

Discovered an excellent blueberry patch.

And sat in the meadow because hey...why not?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Keystone Standard Basin

Being fairly new to mountain biking this was the first time we'd been on an "alpine" bike trail like this. The Keystone Standard trailhead is about 50km north of Revelstoke and 15km up the Keystone FSR. It starts with a few kilometres of steep climbing and then boom you're above treeline for another 10km of single track riding to the Standard Cabin before retracing your route back again. It's a beautiful setting.

We got caught in a sudden downpour of hail and very cold rain and had to take shelter under a rare tree.

After half an hour the rain stopped and we continued for a few more wet kilometres to the cabin.

The sun came out again for the return journey. Brenda was looking a little pooped near the end.

I could get used to this.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hermit Mountain West Ridge

Up to Hermit Meadows with Dave to try Hermit Mountain.

Chatting that evening with another group we learned that there was a party of two still on Hermit Mountain. They were in radio contact with the rest of their party at Hermit Meadows. At this late hour they were intending to hunker down for the night and bail off in the morning. There didn't seem to be too much concern overall so we went to bed without worrying about it.

Next morning on our way up the moraines at first light we heard a helicopter coming up the valley. Uh-oh. It flew right over us and sure enough we watched as two figures were long lined one-by-one off the summit of Hermit. Pretty bizarre to watch this unfold as we were heading up to climb the same peak. We spoke with them afterwards. They were little sheepish but fine otherwise.

The west ridge is an excellent route. Clean, continuously interesting, and much more aesthetic than many of the similar easy climbs in the area.

With some careful route finding we managed to avoid using the rope and were on the top within guidebook time. Unheard of. For us.

We considered descending the east ridge but it looked liked an awfully long way. Meh. The descent didn't go quite as smoothly. We kept getting suckered to skiers left onto easier ground that would usually end up leaving us cliffed out. But we sorted it out and after one or two short rappels near the end we were back at the Truda-Hermit col.

An excellent day out and another milestone of sorts as this was the only remaining peak in the Hermit area that we hadn't climbed. A climb worthy or our minor ambitions! We packed up the tents and headed home.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lyell Icefield

This was a fabulous 4 day trip organized by Ross. Several months have passed so the details have faded somewhat. The plan was to fly in from Golden and spend 3 nights at the Lyell hut and then hike out via Crampon Col to a vehicle that we had shuttled to the Valenciennes FSR.

It all started with James in his truck and us in ours making the long drive up Big Bend Highway onto the Valenciennes. The first washed out bridge at around 10km wasn't too much trouble.

The second was veeery tempting...

But it was a little too late in the day for shenanigans so we called it quits. We wrapped the truck in chicken wire and sped back to Golden for a few hours sleep.

The next day dawned clear and hot. The weather would follow this pattern from the rest of the trip. The flight from Golden was spectacular giving us a first look at the Lyell Hut perched on a rocky knoll.

Our landing, gripping? The wind was swirling around pretty badly. We finally touched down on the third attempt at what seemed an insanely fast speed. We unloaded the helicopter which then disappeared into the distance leaving behind the five of us, the hut, and one awesome shitter.

The Lyells are five peaks all above the magic 11,000' mark. Four of them are basically walk-ups but Lyell 4 is fairly technical. After arriving we explored the approach and decided to attempt Lyells 1, 2, and 3 the next morning. It was the first really warm spell of the summer and given the amount of snow still on the ground it meant a 3AM start to avoid post-holing up to our necks all day. When the sun rose the next morning we were well on our way.

Lyell 1 and 2 (right to left)

Lyell 1

Lyell 2 from Lyell 1

Lyell 3 from Lyell 2

Lyell 3

Lyell 4 (foreground) and Lyell 5 (background) from Lyell 3

Three 11,000ers in one morning and back at the hut by noon. How cool is that? We relaxed in the sun and napped away the afternoon.

After our close up view of Lyell 4 we decided that a group of 5 would take far too long on the exposed and heavily corniced ridge. Not to mention the risk of a cornice collapse with the rapidly deteriorating snow conditions. So the next day Dave and Ross would have a go while the rest of use ambled up Lyell 5. However one thing lead to another and in the end we gave up on 4. Ross did an exceedingly good job of hiding his exasperation. Sorry bud.

Lyell 5

One of the great aspects to this trip was that it would continue to be an adventure finding our way out. After another early start the next day we first watched the moon set over Crampon Col in the west.

Made our way up the icy slope.

And then looked back to east watch the sunrise over the Lyells.

From here we bumbled our way across the glacier and then across endless moraines and stream crossings in the general direction of Icefall Lodge.

At Icefall we met the owner Larry Dolecki just heading out. He mentioned that he kept an old truck on this side of the washed out bridge on the logging road far below and kindly offered us a ride if we got there in time. This turned out to be an absolute godsend because it saved several hours of slogging back along the road to where we had left the truck.

The hike down from Icefall is straightforward but gruelling with big packs after an already longish day. River crossings everywhere during the spring melt.

Finally back to the truck.

A brilliant trip! More photos over here.