Monday, August 29, 2011

I am alive...

And finally have some time and inspiration to write something down!

'Summer' as the time between June 21 and September 21 is commonly referred to, has been an enigmatic entity in my life this year. We usually think of Summer weather starting in the beginning of June consisting of shorts, swimming and big climbing days, but alas in coastal British Columbia, we accept the fact that it is often June-uary - cold and wet. And La Nina kept its icy, er soggy grip on us on the coast. So after getting home from Italy psyched and strong, the projects were lined up, and soaking wet.

No worries, a new bike entered my life, and to Benny (my dog's) delight I spent way more time spinning pedals then clipping biners. But June-uary had another laugh, in the form of 'the hand of god' as my friend Brad calls it. It is the phenomena of riding wet rooty trails on the coast and your bike just flies out from under you like the hand of god pulled the tablecloth with dinner all set...and dinner came crashing down to the floor. I was dinner, and one of my ribs and my intercostal muscles were the china. Benny sat on the trail watching me in pain with the wind knocked out of me wondering what I was up to. There were animals to chase and trails to run, could I get on with the show? I hobbled out the last 5km of my ride and ate some pain killers knowing all too well I had done some damage. Xrays, the doctor and the physio confirmed a broken rib and nothing too much worse. "Can I climb and bike?" asks the wounded exercise/endorphin addicted victim. 'Light exercise is fine, but let pain be your guide.' I guess I have a high pain tolerance, because two days later I was doing things like climbing Freeway (10 pitches, 11+) and working on my 13c severely overhanging project with good progress...with the pain of what felt like someone stabbing me in the abdomen being my guide. I quickly adapted the 1 day of biking, next day of climbing, with working on a new multi pitch project as my summer schedule. And alas July became Jul-ember, cold and wet, and I soon realized that my goal oriented climber mentality was taking to trying to ride new bike trails cleaner and faster more than failing again on my project.

And then it was August, and I had nothing to show for it climbing wise, but man was biking so much fun! My two month staycation of no work and just play in Squamish (with a broken rib) had evaporated and it was time to work again for pretty much the entire month of August, with a few days of frenzied, and I mean the tiger has been let out of its cage recreation. So of course, there are no good pictures of June and July, but the theme of my August has been stopping to smell the flowers. I have spent the last 3 weeks up at my backcountry ski lodge in the Valhallas, doing maintenance, glading, and best of all a bit of hiking guiding. Literally, stopping to smell the flowers, and wow, why have I not done this before? So let my photos be a guide of what I have been up to. Follow along...and in case you were wondering, I 1 hung my project before leaving to come out here, so it has burrowed its way into my brain gnawing at me to come and send it when I get home this week.

August, a time for fun in the sun, right?

Smelling frozen flowers, La Nina laughs again!

Don't worry summer showed up...

Ya, it really is like this here every day, skipping through wild flower meadows

Shannon Ridge line still holding lots of snow for August

Heather on top of Big sister with some big Valhalla views.

Jasmin and I then had 2 whole days off together for the month of August, so we decided the best idea was to cram as much as humanly possible into the 48 hours as we could. Saturday was my pick, the 35km 7 summits in Rossland, an ultra classic ridge crest mountain bike ride that is literally single track forever. It was that good. Sunday was more Jasmin's pick and a bit of mine too...we climbed an alpine rock route on the west face of Gimli, the showcase peak of the Valhalla Range. Then on Sunday night we basically fell asleep on the dinner table. But our Kootenay Klassic weekend was well worth it.

Buff singletrack and wildflowers...forever!

More 7 summits

It might have been 4,000' up, but it was also 6,500' down!!!!

Jas summitting on Gimli

A close up of the ice breaking up in Mulvey Basin below Gimli. Its the middle of August after all, time for the lake to thaw!

I love this shot, south face of Asgard on the left, Valhallas stretch to the north, this is where Jasmin grew up, lucky her!

After another week of hiking guiding Jasmin went to the coast to climb in the Tantalus range with her dad for his 60th birthday, how cool! I am still at the lodge, in major labor camp mode, alternating days of firewood and staining the lodge, staring at the wood letting my rage to play build, and finally exploding in my random day off of epic kootenay mountain biking. Last week I rode in Kaslo, a great 2 hour ride called the access trail, lots of single track and technical hill climbs. Then the other day I was riding some local stuff near New Denver, and was stalked by a cougar, but luckily my ballsy hound scared the cat off...I guess (thankfully) cats don't like dogs! And finally today I went for the local ball buster, a lap up the Idaho Peak. Idaho is quickly becoming famous for epic 5,000' car shuttle mountain bike laps, but me being the avid ski tourer and slightly anti mechanized travel type, decided to bike up the logging road to the summit. The cars driving by to hike from the summit ridge made me feel like I was at the front of the peloton on the tour de france, blown away that I would even consider powering my self up the 20km/5,000' uphill. In my head I conjured up bumper stickers like "I bike to shuttle drop offs." because in the end why do we have gears and pedals? But 2.5 hours later we (Benny and myself) made it. I had heard rumors of some epic ride down the north ridge so I decided to give it a try and followed the bike shuttlers tracks. Half old mining roads (eye watering fast) and half crazy good singletrack it was an epic ride. I snapped a few shots from the top. Enjoy, and get out there and have fun!!!!!

Yeah, the theme of the Kootenays in summer, epic vistas, epic wild flowers, epic biking, and epic use of the word epic.

Kilometer 19 of the climb, one more to go, summit in sight!!!!!

Views to the south of Kokanee glacier

Valhallas, with Gimli on the left side horizon.

Cool view across the mighty Slocan Lake to my neck of the Valhallas, Big Sister and Vingolf are visible to the trained eye. Very cool to see 2 summits I had been on in the previous week from here! New Denver is the town on the lake.

Hoping the trail on the ridge was the right one to follow! It was!

My partner in crime ends the day the only way we know how to around here, by jumping in a river (or a lake!)