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Awesome read of a bike pack bush wack adventure

March 19, 2024, 6:10 p.m.
Posts: 3154
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Besides the reading the pics are friggin spectacular.

"It was late afternoon when we reached the saddle of Sky Pilot, where the trail ended and our “fun” began. After a short search, we found the first ribbon marking the woman’s route and dove into the dense brush covering the 50-degree mountainside. It only took a thousand feet of bushwhacking before I started questioning the wisdom of this ambitious idea. Things got worse from there."

https://freehub.com/features/too-far-turn-around

We don't know what our limits are, so to start something with the idea of being limited actually ends up limiting us.
Ellen Langer

March 20, 2024, 6:31 a.m.
Posts: 2574
Joined: April 2, 2005

why are there not more trails in areas like this? is it not allowed to build new trails there? it always baffles me that there are so little trails in the alpines in your region, despite there are so many trail builders concentrated in those mtb hot spots.

March 20, 2024, 8:26 a.m.
Posts: 1055
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Posted by: Sethimus

why are there not more trails in areas like this? is it not allowed to build new trails there? it always baffles me that there are so little trails in the alpines in your region, despite there are so many trail builders concentrated in those mtb hot spots.

Totally. I find it surprising as well. The three major mountains adjacent to Vancouver are not really tied by trails at all the way they might be if this were a European city. How is there not an alpine connector hiking trail all along the main ridgelines? There is so much opportunity for this kind of thing here. And so many trailbuilders will to do the recon and legwork - all they need is approval and some funding. There is no shortage of desire.

March 20, 2024, 9:46 a.m.
Posts: 828
Joined: June 17, 2016

Mostly mountain bikers and trail builders around the world have used and built on/off existing infrastructure. In Europe that means thousands of kms of roads and trails left behind by centuries of extensive cultivation, trade, wars, smuggling, etc. In Canada that mostly means logging and mining roads and trails close to towns. We have some more remote trails like in the Chilcotins, they use older paths as well I think.

We do have some alpine trails in the Sea 2 Sky but they tend to be hard to access, especially with a bike, let alone with tools. And some more developed alpine trails like in Garibaldi are protected (provincial park) and illegal to ride.

I'd like to see more alpine trails as well. We've seen with the Sproatt alpine network in Whistler that it's possible but takes a lot of time and effort.

March 20, 2024, 10:29 a.m.
Posts: 160
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

if you look at a heatmap of that area, there are LOTS of trails in and about it, it's just that that particular area is particularly gnarly and cliffy. A couple friends and I have been talking about this route for a few years now, and we've poked into the start of of this connection from the end of the trail and it's very serious terrain. Think there's a flagged hiking route now, and it's been done a few more times by some groups. There are certainly alpine/subalpine routes around if you don't mind some effort, but yeah, it's not europe, for what I would assume are obvious reseasons.

March 20, 2024, 11:15 a.m.
Posts: 1358
Joined: May 4, 2006

Frankly, BC has far too many trees and "most people" only put the effort in to get up to the alpine/ridge line/peak if there's a great view. Most of that effort is wasted if you're just looking at tree tops so I guess that's another reason for lack of trails (ie lack of demand)

March 20, 2024, 11:21 a.m.
Posts: 2574
Joined: April 2, 2005

Posted by: [email protected]

Mostly mountain bikers and trail builders around the world have used and built on/off existing infrastructure. In Europe that means thousands of kms of roads and trails left behind by centuries of extensive cultivation, trade, wars, smuggling, etc. In Canada that mostly means logging and mining roads and trails close to towns. We have some more remote trails like in the Chilcotins, they use older paths as well I think.

We do have some alpine trails in the Sea 2 Sky but they tend to be hard to access, especially with a bike, let alone with tools. And some more developed alpine trails like in Garibaldi are protected (provincial park) and illegal to ride.

I'd like to see more alpine trails as well. We've seen with the Sproatt alpine network in Whistler that it's possible but takes a lot of time and effort.

on which trails did the first nations travel?

March 20, 2024, 11:37 a.m.
Posts: 828
Joined: June 17, 2016

Posted by: Sethimus

on which trails did the first nations travel?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think before Europeans arrived, a lot of First Nations lived near water and traveled a lot by water. At least in the rugged mountainous terrain here in BC.

Also their population numbers were small relative to the size of the land.

Bottom line we have a large land area filled with rugged terrain and, for most of its history, a small population that managed to have very little impact on the land.

March 20, 2024, 11:59 a.m.
Posts: 3154
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Sethimus

why are there not more trails in areas like this? is it not allowed to build new trails there? it always baffles me that there are so little trails in the alpines in your region, despite there are so many trail builders concentrated in those mtb hot spots.

I think a lot of it comes down to difficult terrain and difficult access to that terrain, which results in very few people willing or able to put in the time to create an alpine trail. You also have regulatory bodies to contend with, some of which vigorously defend certain territory if it's within the watershed - the areas where our drinking water supply comes from. 

If you look at google maps between Vancouver and Squamish you can get an idea of what access is like to the alpine/ridgetops. It would be a major effort to build up there and access it for riding. Another huge factor is there is not a lot of appetite to put anything in on the govt side, so I doubt people are willing to try and put something rogue in up top that is easy to spot and runs the risk of getting kiboshed by the authorities. You're also talking about an area that in only accessible for riding maybe 4-6 months out of the year.  Also don't forget there's Whistler just up the road. At the end of the day, like Niels said it's a lot of time, effort, and money, all of which are in very short supply when it comes to building alpine mtb trails on the South Coast. 

When it comes to Indigenous people, on the south coast not many travelled regularly through the alpine. Travel was often by canoe and aquaculture was a big part of their lifestyle - look up clam bed and reef net fishing.

March 20, 2024, 12:12 p.m.
Posts: 18790
Joined: Oct. 28, 2003

Same reason there isn’t a Hütte with Kaiserschmarrn at the top of each mountain.

March 20, 2024, 12:28 p.m.
Posts: 294
Joined: April 26, 2004

One of the reasons for lack of ridge line trails on the North Shore is that with the exceptions of the southern tips, most of the ridges drain into our drinking water supply

Another reason is many gaps and cliffs along the ridges

March 20, 2024, 12:34 p.m.
Posts: 294
Joined: April 26, 2004

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: Sethimus

When it comes to Indigenous people, on the south coast not many travelled regularly through the alpine. Travel was often by canoe and aquaculture was a big part of their lifestyle - look up clam bed and reef net fishing.

As well, the inland First Nations could travel more easily along the valley bottoms.  With frequent smaller fires, and larger numbers of large grazing and foraging animals, the vegetation would have been more open

March 21, 2024, 9:42 a.m.
Posts: 2574
Joined: April 2, 2005

Posted by: heckler

Same reason there isn’t a Hütte with Kaiserschmarrn at the top of each mountain.

time to found your own alpine clubs and build them. those didn‘t come out of nowhere

March 21, 2024, 10:34 a.m.
Posts: 828
Joined: June 17, 2016

I love riding in the Alps and how accessible the alpine terrain is over there, and that you can enjoy such natural beauty while never being far from a cappuccino and a pastry, a plate of hot pasta, or a cold beer. Or a rescue helicopter, for that matter.

As said, I also would love to have more alpine bike trails in BC.

But I don't want BC to become the Alps. Having so much wild rugged terrain that is relatively untouched is one of the reasons it's attractive to many of us to live and play here. Yes it requires more effort to access it, you need to be more self-reliant, etc. But all of that provides a fundamentally different experience, some would say more rewarding, perhaps even more pure.

Variety is the spice of life. I'm happy to fly to Europe every once in a while to get one experience, and I'm happy to live in BC and get another.

March 21, 2024, 11:40 a.m.
Posts: 1055
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Imagine the carnage if the city or province built a network of awesome alpine ridgeline trails. And all the idiots who would ignore all the warnings about weather, conditions and preparation and set off on a 6 hour hike at 4pm in flip flops playing music out loud with storm clouds gathering overhead. Further reinforcing our need for permanent paid search and rescue.


 Last edited by: craw on March 21, 2024, 11:41 a.m., edited 1 time in total.

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