Rapping into my first ever turns in Norway!
Northern Norway is unbelievable for splitboarding and riding steep lines. I got to meet my friends Jonas Hagstrom and Miikka Haast there this may and we toured for 11 days straight. It was insane. There's 2 different trip reports floating in the internet at the moment (and i'm a bit lazy to reload the photos)
the short one is on Spark R&D's website.... http://sparkrandd.com/2014/07/trip-report-ullrs-playground/
the much longer and photo filled one on the Arcteryx site ( it's in 3 parts):
or straight to the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k_3hYbyXJ4
enjoy the summer !
With a high pressure coming along this week I thought finally posting our Mcbride traverse would help some other parties who are heading out there.
Steve Whithall, Nic butler, Colin bakker and myself set out to do it in 3 days. Guide book says 6-8 so 3 seemed like a good number. If the weather was good, no problem. If the weather was bad, slight problem.
For those of you who don't know the mcbride traverse, it starts on Blackcomb and you do half the spearhead traverse then drop down east and do a big horseshoe traverse to garibaldi lake. all done it's about 70km (give or take)
day 1(april 9):
Nic, Colin and I are late. or i should say i'm late. my back is screwed up, we nearly ran out of gas getting to whistler and I forgot my pass. Steve didn't look impressed when we finally met him at Glacier creek lodge.
The spearhead is pretty easy and well known to us so we cruised along without much thought. With my back hurting I decided to start the tour and make a decision as the day progressed. Being familiar with the spearhead i knew if i had to turn back or bail it would be no problem. But the day went along as planned and my back was manageable so when we got to the naden glacier i decided to keep going on.
Our mix of sun and clouds had decided to turn into absolute flat light which made the decent down the Naden very slow. Eventually we made it down to Check creek and decided to pitch the tents for the night. We were slightly behind but not too bad. However with the poor light and ominous looking clouds above us, I'd already decided to start rationing food as we might be out an extra day.. thankfully i tend to pack a lot of food, but I like to eat.
Woke up to sun and clouds and looking good. Steve had felt kind of sick the day before but was feeling much better and my back was still manageable so we tore down camp and headed up the actual Mcbride Glacier. This is the first major climb of the trip (in glorious surroundings) and by the time we hit the col of sir richard 1000m higher we would be in a whiteout.
stop. maybe it'll clear.
nope. ok, let's rope up and traverse over to wolverine pass in a the whiteout. 2km in almost 3hours later. we popped out of the clouds. The run down to wolverine pass is south facing, so if youre doing this traverse plan accordingly. thankfully for us the day hadn't really had much sun so we just dropped in and enjoyed the soft turns.
Some steep climbing led us up to the snowbowl glacier and a storm cloud heading towards us. With it being after 6pm by this point we decided to pitch the camp in case those clouds had some grunt to them.
Obviously by this point we knew 3 days wasnt going to happen. Thankfully I'd already started rationing my food. 1 little Clif bar shot block every hour was my food highlight for the day. Fuel reserves would be a concern though as the trip progressed. you need fuel to make water..
we'd gotten some weather forecasts off spotty cell coverage and thought it would be quite bad today. However it turned out to be decent, so we packed up and headed out. Snowbowl was pretty straigh forward and as we progressed through the day the light got better. We'd heard that the fordger glacier, which was upcoming, was one of the crux portions of the trip but under mostly sunny skies it was pretty easy to pick our way across the crevasses.
The traverse of fordger was spectacular. nice holes, nice granite spires up on the ridges and good light. was a good time.
A quick run down to drop pass and back in the fog. really?
sit. wait. let's climb up a bit, maybe it'll get us out of the fog. no.
The climb out of drop pass is rather large, fairly steep and pretty solidly solar. With the fog obscuring our view and it being pretty warm out, there was no way for us to continue. Sit and wait.
The sun! Run! nope. sucker hole. we made it about 100 vertical meters before being forced to seek refuge on a little ledge below some cliffs. Regardless, by this point the snow had gotten too soft to continue. So we waited, and waited. Hoping for the fog to lift or the snow to settle in the afternoon "shade". The fog never lifted and the snow didn't get harder. Time to pitch camp again.
this is the day we were wanting all along. Views for miles and quick travelling. We cramponed (ski or boot depending on who) up from drop pass and made our way towards hour peak. There was a section coming that had been dubbed the 'terror traverse' that we had some concerns about (having not seen it yet). It's a fairly steep traverse under cliffs and cornices and on a big slope that's above cliff bands. but the terror traverse ended up being pretty mellow. However if done in a North-south direction, it could be fun times since you'd be climbing and if it was icy with huge overhanging cornices above... it'd be pretty scary.
The traverse around hour peak is pretty straight forward. a fun solar slopes to watch out for depending on the time of day but for us it was super easy.
As we made our way to Luxor and the glorious looking crosscut ridge, I noticed that isosceles peak looked way to easy not to climb up on our way by. With the weather slowling our progress we hadn't had time to really get on top of anything. The guys would wait while I ran up it on my own. With the weird winter we had on the coast it felt good to be right on the tippy top of a mountain. I was just going after the best riding line and didn't care much about peaks this winter.
There's a sweet wave/windlip feature to ride under crosscut ridge which made my day. Not that the views and traveling didn't make the day, but i like the downhill riding more than anything else.
We made our way to grey pass and our final big climb of the trip. The north facing glacier looked like the friendliest uphill so off we went. A few hours of straightforward crevasse dodging and we were up top.
The view down to garibaldi lake was awesome. After some debate about spending the night up high or down by lake, the line down looked to good to wait until morning. A fun 1000m vertical drop of crevasses dodging and pow turns and we were at the lake.
The snow was isothermal down at lake level so we decided to wait until the morning to make use of frozen snow to cross the lake. If you've never crosses this lake, it's quite long and quite boring. All that was left was to rally down the garibaldi lake trail and a few kms of hiking on dirt and we were done.
While it was a bit longer than we intended, the weather really holds the cards when trying to move fast, it was a great trip with the guys. It was great that none of us had done the traverse before and we were the first ones on it during that good(?; decent..) weather spell so we had no tracks to follow. Kind of ruins heading somewhere for the first time when you're following tracks I find. Lots of terrain back there and plenty of lines to head back for. Can't wait for the next time!
if interested there's a whole bunch of photos up on my facebook page...
-arcteryx altra 85 pack
-arcteryx caden jacket and stinger pants and arcteryx layers, gloves etc...
-spark magneto bindings and sabertooth crampons
-clif bars and shot bloks were key to keeping me going on my rationing of food
-32 lashed boots
-g3 full carbon black sheep splitboard and skins (just to try it all out)
-k2 protoype flicklock poles
Want to learn how to splitboard? Want to get better at splitboarding? make safer decisions in the backcountry? Then come to our splitboard camp! Altus Mountain Guides and myself are doing a few splitboard camps this spring.
We've got 2 different camps, each running 3 days long. Level 1 is basically an intro to splitboarding and level 2 is for the rider who's been splitboarding but wants to up their big mountain skills. For full camp descriptions please check the links below to both camps.
The camps are sponsored by Arcteryx, G3 and Clif bar. Arcteryx is throwing some gear for each camper, plus a mega prize that we will raffle off between the campers. G3 also has swag for all the campers, a set of skins for the raffle, and they also sent us three of next year's Black Sheep X3 carbon fibre 162cm splitboards (setup with skins and Spark Magneto bindings) for campers to demo. These boards are LIGHT! Clif bar has some delicious and nutricious organic treats for you to snack on and keep the energy levels high while you're riding and learning all day.
So come riding and learn some stuff!
links to the camps:
I'd say this would be great mid winter day, but instead it's the best October 2nd of my life.
A freak storm in early october dropped over a meter in the alpine in just a few days. Jamie Bond (doglotion.com) and myself decided to hike, skin and swim our way up to the top of a line. We'd heard of a few other people in the area in the preceding days but new snow had obliterated any tracks. And we were definitely not alone. Couple guys in front of us decided to stop below the chute and only get a few turns in and another 2 guys were behind us, who followed our swimming trench up to the top of the chute. Not to let a good trail go to waste, nevermind the epic powder in early October, I 'convinced' Jamie a second lap was in order.
Felt amazing to be back on my board. I'm absolutely lit up from having gotten such a good day this early in the year.
Seems winter has started. or at very least a really, really good taste of it. Enjoy the quick video edit.
my site has been quiet this year due to a new filming endeavor that I created. It's called "The Backyard Project". And this is what its about.
Our society deems whatever we have is never good enough. Marketing is essentially built on this concept. Action sports offer this is in droves. Magazines and videos are filled with far off and exotic destinations. You surf in California? You should head to Hawaii. You’re from Hawaii? You need to head to Indonesia. You skateboard in Vancouver, head to California, then Barcelona, then Australia. Deeper and further, something is better over there. Biking, climbing, kayaking, kiteboarding, skiing, snowboarding.. We’re all fed by the industry that somewhere else is better. We’re fed a dream that is unrealistic to the masses. Helicopters filming helicopters? Multi-month long travelling trips? The industry has glorified the unattainable.
I’ve lived in both Squamish and Whistler for 12 years, and while it could be called the hub of the winter sports industry, even here “you need to head to Alaska. Or maybe Europe”. We have all forgotten what can lie in the backyard.
Every year, nearly the whole snow industry drives up the sea to sky highway en-route to ride the Whistler backcountry. Snowmobiles are the primary mode of transportation and they make short work of travelling the backcountry. Having lived here for a long while, we now go out with a plan of what cliffs to hit and what lines we want to ride again. It’s like the backcountry is an extension of the ski hill. Every mountain has been ridden, every cliff has been shot, and every jump filmed. Or have they?
I step out of my house in Squamish and every day I’m greeted by mountains. Mountains in every direction. About 30 of them can be seen right from my backyard. I’ve never met anyone who’s ridden them all. You can’t snowmobile to the top. Some are just below treeline and don’t seem like “plumb” lines. You have to find your way through the maze of logging roads, learn the local conditions and slog and climb your way to the top. But the payoff is the unknown. It’s being skunked for days then finally unlocking a mountain and scoring. It’s about finding ‘Little Alaska’ or the “Chuting Gallery” which are hiding in plain sight. It’s the dream that everyone can pursue, but very few do as it’s only the backyard and obviously it’s better somewhere else.
This is a project to find what really does lie around the corner. Hopefully inspire others to follow suite. Obviously, my locale has some pretty amazing mountains but this concept could even be done (albeit on a smaller scale), for example, at my parent’s house in Quebec. This can be done anywhere. Walk out the door, pick mountain, hill (whatever) and ride a line you’ve never ridden. You might say it sucks but until you go, you won't know.
recently I got to work with Bryan Smith from reelwater productions on a short film for Arc'teryx called "the joy of air". It's a fantastic few minutes of epic. beyond stoked to have been a part of it.
you can enjoy it here:
better late then never I guess. finally got some of my footage from the 2012 season together. I didn't seem to remember I owned cameras last year. I'd forget them at home, forget to charge batteries, or my favorite - forget to turn it on when it's on your head! sometimes you get too focused on what you're about to do and you forget about the little box on your head. but sometimes it's good to just have your own memories.
woooo. was a little chilly this morning. thanksfully there was no wind so wasn't actually really all that bad. or maybe I grew up in this type of weather a few hours south of here so I know what to wear. However, even waxing with the coldest wax known to man it only took a few runs for the snow to rip into my base. The photo below is the base of the board I had stone ground yesterday. It looked new this morning and now not so new. The little black shadow line where the edge and ptex meet is actually a divet where the ptex has been chewed away by the snow.
no sense in trying to stone grind this guy again. I'm going to run it for practise then hop on my other board for the contest runs. hopefully thats going to work out and not rip apart my other board as well. Pipe is pretty good, just bullet proof icy as you can image from it raining this past weekend to -28 today. qualifiers are tomorrow at around noon for the guys and in the morning for the ladies.
it being so cold today, my phone wasn't wanting to cooperate but I managed to snag a phot of my Finnish friend markus malin cruisin through the pipe. granted it is a serious phone shot..
Made it to the FIS world championships in quebec. Psyched to be competing in yet another world championships (there's been quite a few!). I had some politics to deal with prior and after showing up here, but we're onto the business of competing. Being out in quebec you need to get ready for anything and everything weather wise. last week, i heard the snow as great. on the weekend it poured rain. tomorrow it's going to be -30! yeah it's a little icy, and a wee bit cold.
The cold snow wrecks havoc on your base. What happens with cold snow is the crystals are very, very sharp. In halfpipe we carry quite a bit of speed through the flat bottom and we hold the same edge for quite a while. So those sharp little crystals dig into you base. As you take more and more runs, your base actually starts to get noticebly chewed up by these crystals. Having an event in copper last week (where the snow is cold) then followed up by here basically ruins 1 or 2 boards. Today the board I was riding had finally had enough and the ptex base was not only chewed up, it had gotten so bad that the ptex was actually lower than the steel edge. When this happens your board becomes very twitchy and digs in at unexpected times. I had some troubles on my heelside today and when i saw that on my base I quickly put the 2 together.
After practise, my good friend and old temate Hugo Lemay took me down to a race ski shop that he knew had a good stone grinding machine. The tech had never seen a base so chewed up in his life. I told him to grind it down as much as possible to get the base and edge back to being flat. Having designed the boards I'm on I knew exactly how thick the ptex was and figured there would be enough to get it back into shape.
After the sweet stone grind, the real work started. When we have a new board or a fresh base, generally we will 'feed' the base with wax. I follow a feeding program that I've worked out over the years, but it takes a good deal of coats to get a board ridable. 3 hours of work waxing and tuning the edges. usually I'll be in the tuning area for a while but 3 hours is a very long while to be working on primarily 1 board.
some tools of the waxing trade. When the racers show up the tuning room becomes much more crowded and serious it seems.
Tuning is a key component of doing well in contests these days. last week I made a mistake and used a new file guide while tuning my edges for the conetst day and it was different than my old guide and my board rode like poo. This week I'm back to my old file guide. Little things at this level can ruin your contest. Hopfully I learned from my mistakes last week, and my work tonight will have my boards running like they should be.
geez, having a kid kinda sets you back on some stuff. like my website..
it's the middle of january already and it feels like it started snowing yesterday. This season is setting up to be interesting. So far I've passed a level 1 guide's course, competed in a world cup, shot for a noboard/powsurfing article, toured a bunch and started on a project with arcteryx (more to come on that)
Guide's course was sweet. lots of avalanche rescues, crevasse rescues, a day in a cat, a day in a bird, and lots of digging in the snow!
The world cup was at Copper mtn last week. I didn't have the time or resources early season to head to colorado (and there was no december contest there this year) so showing up for the world cup I hadn't ridden pipe at all. Had a few days prior to the comp and things were looking pretty good. until the contets day where I screwed up my tuning! yeah. rarely do I mess up my tuning on contest day but last week I definitely screwed the pooch on my edges in particular. I'd bought a new file guide for my edges that is supposed to be the same as my old one, but I think it makes a slightly sharper edge which I'm not fond of. So when I started dropping in for practise my board was all over the place. Just not tracking right and super hooky. It sucks. Couldn't make it past the second hit. At first I thought it was the cold snow, but as I dropped ina few more times i started to realize it was my board. fairly quickly I figured out where the problem was with my edges and borrowed a diamond stone to try and fix it. couple runs later still not fixed. I then swapped boards and my other board had the same problem, but not quite as bad. uhhhh! fixed that one just in time for practise to be over. very frustrating. My plans for the contest were not materializing in the least seeing as I had trouble getting past my second hit and hadn't done anything more in practise than a frontside 720. Thankfully I learned quite a while ago to trust my riding and somehow linked together 2 different runs and made it to the bottom of the pipe. I'm not saying those runs were awesome (I finished dead middle of the field), but having gone from not landing anything to landing something is good for the mental state. but I wasn't making finals so I bolted to get back home to be with my family.
i took the little guy for his first turns over xmas
and his first touring day yesterday..
noboard and powsurf drops! great few days without bindings
some front yard booter action at my parent's over xmas
and lots of touring to get to spots like this!
currently in quebec to compete at the world championships then it's back home and on the touring program. lots of mountains to ride!