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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

From the summit, looking south towards Phantom Mountain.

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

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.

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

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


Another view of the glaciated bench.

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

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.

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.

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



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.


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.


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


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



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!"


Mark with a view of Howe Sound behind him.


Golden colours over Howe Sound.



The sunset wasn't quite colourful enough either tonight.


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


Another photo of Howe Sound.


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.

Sunset view of Bowen Island from Kits beach.

Over 100 rings!

We walked down to the ocean for a swim.

A little bit of buildering in the evening.

With great music on the patio.

Plus a campfire with great friends.


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

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