On February 19th, we met at Ski Tak Hut in Courtenay to gather the final pieces of backcountry ski gear needed for our day on the mountain. Lisa and I watched the sky, hoping that the hard rain would let up – or at least, that it was snowing on the mountain. Our original plan was to ski Mount Becher, but the rain forced us to reconsider our options; we decided to take our chances with Mount Elma instead.
Tag: Matthew Lettington (Page 2 of 6)
–submitted by Matthew Lettington, Read the report on his blog
When I’m stuck inside, it sometimes feels like I won’t ever break free and get outside! If you’re passionate like I am, you probably feel the same. Now that I’ve added two kids to the equation, it’s even more difficult to balance the time between my family obligations and my passion. Not that the two are mutually exclusive; as often as I can, I try to merge the two together. But it’s not as simple as stuffing a child into a carrier. There are the known issues to deal with– diaper changes, toys, and extra snacks– but heading into the backcountry adds extra challenges. Changing a bare bottom in the wind is no cup of tea, and neither is a cup of tea, for that matter! Fortunately, at three and a half years old, my son has emerged from the long cold winter that has been his era of wearing diapers.
Mount Becher is a popular destination for ski touring, hiking and snowshoeing, but on February 4th, it wasn’t our primary objective. Our first option was Mount Curran, in the Beaufort Range, but an unexpected snowstorm conspired against us. Mt Becher was a better goal for a day with a heavy snowfall forecast. I was only slightly disappointed to leave another peak on my Alpine Quest unclimbed because I was keen to work on my ski skills, and Mount Becher is always a great place to ski.
–submitted by Matthew Lettington, Read the report on his blog
Being focused on an objective is a great way to track progress and remember to celebrate when you achieve a goal. But sometimes, I get so focused on the objective that I forget about everything that goes into making the day a success. On January 22nd, I had a good reminder that getting to the destination can be half the fun.
I’m usually the driver for our adventures. Behind the wheel, I’m focused on the moment: making sure I don’t fall asleep, leave us sideways on a patch of ice, or take the wrong road. I try to take in as much as I can, but I often let the landscape slide past me without paying it much mind. On January 22nd, I was a passenger — Oh, the sweet passenger life! I scrunched myself into the backseat, propped my head against the window, and watched the landscape roll by. I took it all in – well, at least the right side of the highway. We were on our way to … well, I don’t even remember where. I recall that our destination was past Gold River — a long drive, for sure! But where we were headed isn’t important, because we didn’t get there. In fact, we rerouted several times and ended up far from our original destination.
–submitted by Matthew Lettington, read the full report and see more images on his blog
Mount Grey is a lovely hike through old-growth alpine fir and along a treed alpine ridge, up to a summit that offers great views of the Alberni Inlet. My Mount Grey trip had two portions of adventure: the cold from an arctic outflow, and the ride home.
On January 8th, I joined a group of six Island Mountain Ramblers on a trip up Mount Grey. Our original trip plan was Mount Adam, but we were concerned about avalanche and difficulty ascending the two incredibly steep slopes on the route. Our failed trip up Mount Derby and Mount Peel had given us first-hand knowledge of the region’s conditions, and currently, the avalanche conditions were rated considerable. It was a smart choice to change our plans, and I was happy to be attempt Mount Grey. We had high hopes that the conditions would be stable, due to lower elevation and proximity to the Alberni Inlet.
Total Distance: 9 km
Starting Elevation: 434 m
Maximum Elevation: 1337 m
Total Elevation Gain: 894 m
Total Time: 6 h 45 m
2016 is remembered by most as a year full of foul events, a year that just kept kicking people when they were down! From my perspective, the year looked pretty okay. My family welcomed a second child, I went back to university (AGAIN), and I amidst the mayhem still managed to adventure with many friends. In December, I examined my GPS trip data and discovered that I hiked, kayaked and/or snowshoed more than 60,0000 metres of elevation gain, and more than 700 kilometres of horizontal distance. More importantly, Phil and I checked off more than 30 peaks on our Island Alpine Quest. I was eager to add Mt Derby and Mt Peel to that list of completed peaks.
The Island Mountain Ramblers have a New Year’s Day tradition of hosting a hike to celebrate a new year of adventure. To kick off 2017, I joined my three club-mates on a three-day winter trip to kick of 2017. If successful we would summit Mt Derby and Mt Peel. The trip included two days of alpine winter camping, my first true winter camping experience. As our day of departure approached the forecast brought an arctic outflow, we were looking forward too -if that’s even the right term- temperatures as low as -24 C!
Total Distance: 12. 4 km
Starting Elevation: 420 m
Maximum Elevation: 1160 m
Total Elevation Gain: 825 m
–submitted by Matthew Lettington from his blog: explorington.com
Each summer I look forward to one of two longer multi-day trips, mountaineering through Vancouver Island’s back backcountry. I set the time aside and plan most of my summer around these trips. They become the focus of the summer. This summer we planned a 7-day trek through Strathcona Park, along the Wolfe/Cervus Divide. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.
As the day of departure came, the long range weather forecast looked bleak: three days of heavy rain. It’s not the rain that doused our trip plans, we’ve hiked and camped in many a deluge. However, along with the rain the forecast predicted multiple days of lighting! Instead, we traveled farther north, to avoid the inclement weather, and used the days to do some climbing in the Bonanza Range. This report is for the first day Mount Ashwood and Bonanza Peak!
Total Distance:10.9 km
Starting Elevation: 690 m
Maximum Elevation: 1746 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1488 m
Total Time: 11 hours
As I write this, I’m drinking a hot chocolate to warm my belly and ease the dull ache of dissatisfaction that’s buzzing in the back of my head. Today, we took a shot at Mount Marmot. Unfortunately, the steep slopes and powdery snow proved too much for the short time we had.
It was already 6:00 am when the fourteen of us met at Harewood Mall. By the time we drove the long road to Nanaimo Lakes, the gates were open; since there was no attendant, we were able to drive right through. Our destination is deep in the heart of the Sadie Creek Valley, along a road familiar to me. We tried to climb this route last winter, but at that time a creek was flowing so fast that we couldn’t hop over it. Today, we discovered active logging in the area, and a new bridge constructed across that creek. With the new bridge, we were able to drive farther into the valley, making the hike several kilometres shorter.
Total Distance: 7.5 km
Starting Elevation: 419 m
Maximum Elevation: 1209 m
Total Elevation Gain: 786 m
Total Time: 6h 45 m