Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back Down

Photo courtesy Matthew G. Wheeler

Last night was a lot snowier and colder than the previous night, but I was quite comfy with the down sleeping bag, jacket, and pants I got in Nepal. I don't know what the temperature was up at the lookout, but the snow was really squeaky so it must have been at least -20C, but with the wind it felt like at least -30C. I ran out of fuel for the stove last night, so I had cold hot chocolate and oatmeal for breakfast, then headed down. I used the neoprene face mask I pack for such occasions to prevent frostbite on my nose and cheeks, but after I got down to the road I had to take it off again.

With about 15-20cm ski penetration in the new snow, I didn't go very fast. In fact, I had to unlock the heels and walk for all but the steeper bits.  Lots of fresh critter tracks including a bunny highway (a wide path made by many little feet running up and down the hillside). From 2.5km down, the place was totally covered in moose tracks, but sadly I didn't see any moose.

After a shower and some lunch, I am visiting friends in the McBride area.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013


After a windy night, I woke up to a calm, partly cloudy morning. I had some breakfast and cleaned out the lookout, then got ready to climb up to the top of this pile of rocks. It didn't take me too long to get here, just over an hour from the lookout. Now I can see all around, but not all the way to Mt. Robson - too cloudy. This is where we scattered my brother Philip's ashes - too bad he can't enjoy the view.

I'll head back down to the lookout soon - it's a bit chilly up here. Minus 15 or 20, with a stiff breeze.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top lookout

I think this is as far as I'll get today. The wind is starting to pick up out there and clouds have obscured the sun; I can still see the summit, but it might be a white-out up there soon. Best to stay in the cozy lookout building, though I may do some shovelling as the floor is covered in snow (the door was left open, you see).  But right now I'm beat - I think I'll eat one of the coffee crisps I bought this morning.


Slowing down

I knew it would happen, but I was hoping it wouldn't happen so soon. Getting old bites the big green weenie (as my late friend John Bird used to say), but it's better than the alternative.

I made it to the old hang-glider launching pad at 1675m though, and it's only lunch time. I might just pull this off yet.



Sitting on a picnic table at the halfway lookout (I wish it was really halfway up the mountain - it's really just at 1370m, while halfway between 750m and 2250m would be 1500m). Time for a bite to eat and some snow to replace the water I'm losing as sweat.

It is lovely here - I can see Wilf (Mt. Sir Wilfrid Laurier) off to the south. Lots of critter tracks on the snow this morning too - from teeny-tiny little vole tracks to coyote-sized tracks.


Next stop

Halfway between switchbacks 2 and 3 now. Gained 300 m in the first hour. Doubt I'll be able to keep it up for the next 1200 m though.

Bummer about the SD card - it's just too beautiful up here. I guess I'll just have to describe it for you later.

- mark.

McBride Peak

John gave me a ride to the base of McBride peak this morning. There's 10cm of fresh powder (real powder, not PNW wet-cement powder) on the road, and mine are the first tracks. I have a ways to go to get to the summit - hope I haven't slowed down too much in my old age.

No pictures, as my SD card has chosen a bad time to turn up its heels. Bummer.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

And the winner is...

The process of coming back to Canada and finding a place to live for the winter was more difficult than I thought it was going to be.  I thought all along it was going to be Nelson, BC, but Mark didn't want to have the ski town costs, powder excitement and population.  So after much discussion (and a little debate), we finally settled on a place that's quiet, snowy, and mountainous, just not famous for skiing.

It's not near a hill with 1,000's of feet of vertical or huge regular dumps of powder, but it's an area where there is lots of moose on the mtn and a T-Bar.  Plus there is unexplored, probably decent backcountry skiing within short distances, in a 360 degree radius.  To go south, a passport is required.  We picked it because it's affordable and close to the ski hill where I was offered an opportunity to volunteer for ski patrol which I'm going to do.

Heck, they might even decide to pay me (for double what I was paid for almost 30 years ago).
We move in this week.