About Me

My photo
I like being outside if it's nice out. This includes mountain biking, trail running, sailing, climbing, skiing and much more. If you're going on a fun adventure, let me know!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mount Jimmy Jimmy

I've wanted to explore this side of the Ashlu Valley, ever since a few years ago when a group of us skied across the Ashlu-Elaho divide. After climbing to the summit of Mount Charlie Charlie, Tim pointed out the sprawling glaciated massif that is Mount Jimmy Jimmy, and suggested that it was a great July ski trip. Ever since that day, I've tried to convince somebody to slog out there with me.

So when Greg asked me if I wanted to go on an ambitious day trip, naturally I thought of Jimmy Jimmy. In my mind, it was going to be a great ski trip, maybe with a little bit of bushwacking, and not overly strenuous as I haven't skied much in a long time. As it turns out, Greg has never done a trip in Ashlu or Squamish River valley, so this was perfect.

DSC_8168
Greg leaving the ski area boundary at the second branch of the Pokosha Creek road. Paul Kubik and others have put in a great effort on this road, making the walk up much more enjoyable.

DSC_8177
I did not pay enough attention to the part in the description where it says to "cross a major avalanche gully." This turned out to be the physical crux of the trip, battling through thick slide alder before finally reaching the forest. Of course, if we had done this trip a month ago, when the snow line was still down to 800m, there would be no problem.

DSC_8180
Greg and I near treeline, wrecked from the bushwhacking and carrying skis for 1000m, but stoked to finally have views of the alpine.

Beautiful day up in the alpine
Greg skinning up past Pokosha Lake, with Ossa Mountain and Mount Tantalus behind him.

DSC_8215
Greg approaching the exposed glaciated bench above Coin Creek. There is another route which crosses the head of Coin Creek lower down and then climbs up southeast facing slopes, but we thought they would be quite slushy by this point in the late morning.

DSC_8238
After crossing the glaciated bench, which we roped up for, we continued to ski across the flat north glacier towards two bumps which we thought were the summit. As it turns out, we first climbed the wrong one. The true summit is actually behind Greg in this photo.

DSC_8266
From the summit, looking south towards Phantom Mountain.

DSC_8295
Greg on the false summit, with views of the Ashlu-Elaho divide behind him. Skiing with a meteorologist ensures good weather!

DSC_8298
We did not linger long at the summit, as we were still worried about snow conditions on the glaciated bench. The snow in the alpine was still soft, not quite a consolidated summer snow yet.

DSC_8307
Looking back across at our tracks across the head of Coin Creek. Those are some impressive ice cliffs!

DSC_8320
Greg enjoying some nice turns in good corn towards Pokosha Lake.

DSC_8327

DSC_8332
Another view of the glaciated bench.

DSC_8336
Greg skiing back towards Pokosha Lake, with Pelion, Ossa and Tantalus ahead.

DSC_8343
The skiing in the forest was quite interesting, involving precarious sideslipping down spines between deep tree wells. We skied down to ~900m, at which point we were forced to enter the slide alder hell again.

DSC_8360
The whole time here, I kept thinking about the nice maintained trails that we could be hiking on elsewhere to access the skiing. It's been a while since I've felt like I've been scratched by a swarm of angry cats.

DSC_8376
Greg in one of the more open patches of slide alder. Not quite like the trails in Utah.

DSC_8378

DSC_8394

DSC_8401
After what felt like a very long walk down the Pokosha Creek logging roads, we finally arrived at the car, tired from the early morning wakeup, and physically beaten by the bushwacking. The skiing was definitely the easiest part of this trip! A highly recommended adventure. It was great to finally stretch out the ski legs on a nice sunny day in what feels like a never ending spring.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer solstice ski Seymour / Summer solstice ski Strachan

Mark, who always has great ideas, suggested an idea of celebrating the summer solstice with a ski up two local peaks on June 21st, catching both the sunrise and sunset.


Part 1.


Unfortunately, with a sunrise at 5am, this meant a very early wakeup to try to ski up Seymour. The early birds consisted of Mark, Sabrina, Ignacio, Charlie and I. We woke up ridiculously early to slog up in the dark towards Seymour. We slogged all the way to Pump Peak, just to see nothing up there. At least it wasn't raining. The ski back down to the car was nice though, and the sun made a very brief appearance. The remainder of the day was spent inside the office, waiting for the evening ski.


DSC_7888

Charlie and Sabrina on their way up towards Pump Peak. There is more snow here now in the middle of June, than of most years in the winter.


DSC_7920

Well this wasn't the sunrise that we were hoping for. Where are those beautiful hues of red, orange, yellow and pink?


DSC_7928

Sabrina, Ignacio, Mark and Charlie looking surprisingly cheerful at 5am


DSC_7989


DSC_7991

Looking back down towards Vancouver.


Part 2:


In the evening, Mark and I finished off the long day with a ski up Strachan. There is an amazing amount of snow up there, and we were able to ski almost right from the parking lot.


Mark's words:


"Well at the end of the day it was the old farts taking in the 5 star sunset atop Strachan... the youngsters nowhere to be seen (I thought I heard Ignacio mumble something like "way past my bedtime" and Sabrina muttered "but I have to be in my PJ's with teeth brushed by 7pm so I can watch the Muppet Show and then be in bed by 7:30."


We were skiing pretty much right from the parking lot and the snow was halfway decent, if a little cupped at times.


At any rate, Rich appeared in costume and scored full marks in the awesomeness category.


Thanks Rich, Ignacio, Sabrina and Charlie. Fun times and great company!"


DSC_8036

Mark with a view of Howe Sound behind him.


DSC_8045

Golden colours over Howe Sound.


DSC_8046


DSC_8053

The sunset wasn't quite colourful enough either tonight.


DSC_8067

Fortunately, my ski attire was colourful enough to help with the alpenglow in the snow.


DSC_8076

Another photo of Howe Sound.


DSC_8087

Well now that summer has officially started, spring has finally arrived.


More photos

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bowen Island Birthday

My ski season took a turn for the worse, when I was sent down to Chile and Argentina for work in April and May. After nine weeks of work, I was ready to be back in beautiful British Columbia. I had a fantastic first weekend back with Natalie, Kurt, Robyn, Lenka, Mark and Nick on Bowen Island to celebrate my birthday.

IMG_1426
Sunset view of Bowen Island from Kits beach.

IMG_1429
Over 100 rings!

IMG_1438
We walked down to the ocean for a swim.

IMG_1462
A little bit of buildering in the evening.

IMG_1464
With great music on the patio.

IMG_1474
Plus a campfire with great friends.

IMG_1493

IMG_1522
Natalie made this cake. Naturally it was an apple chocolate cake, the two foods that are inseparable from her.

IMG_1531
Natalie and Kurt with Howe Sound behind them. What a great weekend!