Climbing, Biking, Disc-golfing

July 06, 2006July 16, 2006| Updated: May 1, 2007 |
participants: mike warren / brad cooke / nick palaj /

(Some of Nick's photos from the biking portion are available [also at picasa] .)

My first long-ish summer trip this year started late, not surprisingly, as Brad and I finally completed loading the hell out of my Subaru with my touring bike, panniers, climbing gear and camping supplies and headed out towards Squamish after some last-minute car-fixing (CV boot blew up) and dropping his car off at the airport.


We went the "back" (aka "more enjoyable") way via Lilloet and, rocketing down the last bit into Pemberton our caffeine-addled minds where shaken by a double-arm-waving guy wearing a headlamp. He wanted a ride. He had stuffed his truck into the "ditch" (thick bush) deep enough that he'd put a cone out to mark the spot. Some car-re-packing later, we were on our way again, slunk into the Chief campground and slept until the "you guys haven't paid" wakeup call, after which we slept more.

We finally got around to coffee, breakfast and gearing-up and headed up Snake (5.9, 7p) on the Apron. Very fun, and I luckily got stuck with the harder pitch and a good enforced hardest gear lead of the season. Satisfied, we rewarded ourselves with beer. This would become a theme.

The next day's morning ritual was similar, except the cause of the sleeping was slightly different. Being a blazing hot day, we selected the relative coolness of Rock On (5.10a, 5p) out of the South Gully. Brad got the hard pitch this time and I took a nice (albiet stupid) fall on the third pitch before getting it.

Unsatisfied with our pitch total for the trip, Brad outlined a more agressive schedule for the third day and we linked up some gear routes in the Bulletheads (Fungus the Boogeyman [5.8, 5.8], Slot Machine [5.8, 5.6] and Manana [5.10c]) before teaming up with Carlyle to blast up Diedre (5.8, 7p) in the evening (shockingly free of climbers, perhaps due to the blustery weather). A sunset beer + tokes at the bottom of the slab descent rounded out the last day of climbing and made a good preview to skinny-dipping at Mirrin Park.

Nick was feeling like he maybe had the flu, so we stayed in Squamish another night instead of meeting him as planned and so I ran up the Chief trail since nobody else wanted to do anything. Then we went swimming and headed into town to drop Brad off at the airport. Nick was feeling better, so bike touring was on.

Bike Touring

[Some of Nick's pictures arehere] Nick and I finally made it to Pender Island about 3pm after some ferry snafu's and rode to the disc-golf park. Wow! This is by far the best disc-golf course I've ever seen and is highly recommended; 18 chain-targeted holes and 9 tone-pole holes in a beatifully kept park with well-maintained tee-boxes and holes.

After playing the course and cooking some dinner, it was threatening to rain again and getting late, so we camped at the course (missing the "no camping" sign somehow). After morning coffee and packing up, we played the 18 chain-targeted holes again and headed off to catch the ferry to Salt Spring Island.

There, we quickly found the course with some local help and played their almost-as-good 18 holes of tonal targets hanging from trees. This made for some very nice, tricky technical holes as you could only putt from a few degrees on some holes. We then headed to my aunt and uncle's place for the night.

After breakfast, we decided on the Vesuvius to Crofton ferry (suggested by my uncle) to skip the more-busy bits near Victoria but not before another 18 holes of Salt Spring's great course. This all meant missing Victoria's golfing, but we figured it was much easier to get to than the target: Courtney. This would take us two days; we spent a very pleasant night on the beach near Qualicum Bay (hint: "absolutely no camping" signs are usually placed near fantastic camping spots).

What we didn't know is that Courtney's course was a 16km/1600m climb to the ski hill — and they wanted $7/round to play 9 holes. No thanks! Instead, we caught the ferry over to Powell River and stayed in the hostel there (actually in West Bank). Despite some asking around locally, we never did discover that Powell River does, in fact, have a disc-golf course. Alas.

The next day's target was riding the Sunshine Coast; we ended up making it to Sechelt ("sea-shelt") and staying in a surprisingly pleasant hostel (The Upper Deck) in a 2-story office-ish building after deciding there was no way we could make the last Gibson's to Horseshoe Bay ferry.

On the way out of town, we were innocently taking a rest stop in the woods near someone's driveway when that someone drove up their 25%-grade road to (it looked like) collect the mail. The old guy who got out came over and proceeded to chat us up for about 45 minutes about everything from town coucil, the location of a bypass highway, pot growing, football, the merits of drag-line excavating, road building and the intricate details of fence-post pounding in rocky sea-shores (his current project). As he got more and more bitter (mostly about yuppies moving in and jacking property values — a common theme among locals I talked to on the islands and coast[1] ) we wanted more and more to leave and finally weaseled our way out.

[1] -- A very tough problem: how do you formulate a law saying "you must care about the community and live here to buy property"? How do you get local political buy-in when having yuppies move in is good for the tax base and the businesses which (usually) form much of the town-council's lobby-base?

We eventually made the Gibson's ferry which took us via the urban wasteland of greater Vancouver back to Kitsilano and Nick's place. Vancouver's bike infrastructure actually sucks a lot more than I expected; lots of it involves diverting cyclists to sidewalks and weird side-roads to hack around horrible urban "planning".

Vital trip statistics: 25 pitches of climbing, ~400km of riding, 6 ferry rides and around 100 holes of disc-golf.

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