Crossing Home - Chad's Inside Scoop on the Skier's Journey Coast Range traverse
The Journey has finally made it's way back "Home" to the wild and rugged West Coast of British Columbia! Kashmir, La Grave, Freshfields, Japan, Iceland, Dubai, Baffin Island, Argentina, China, Iran are behind us... what an adventure it has been!
I remember very well... the day was as crisp and clear as it gets. We were all a little nervous about the trip across the Coast Range and the uncertainty of what lay ahead. But we could look back with certainty; we had a winter of hard travel and skiing behind us and nothing was going to stop us from making this trip one to remember.
We had prepared 20 days of food and gear and separated it into 3 food caches which we pre-dropped across the route along with our pack raft gear for the last leg of the trip. Carrying a week's worth of food at a time, our packs were loaded and locked down to the last litre of empty space.
Our epic 110km walk, climb, ski and pack raft joruney commenced with an hour long boat ride across Chilko Lake into Franklin Arm where we got dropped off and started making our way up 9 Mile Creek.
The forest was thick with deadfall, inhabited by hungry Grizzly bears, complicated with flooding rivers - mother nature was singing her song once again! We enjoyed many a great meals around the fire, drying gear and healing our wounds when we could, sharing stories of the past and new dreams of the days to come. It was clear just how fortunate we were to be so free and alone out there in the mountains, surrounded by pure Canadian wilderness.
Four days into the trip we finally touched snow and started climbing our way up to the higher ridges and eventually glided right onto the Homathko Icefield.
After pulling our sleds 65km across the labyrinth or snow, rock and ice, our crew finally made it to our last camp and final ski objective at Mount Granville, before dropping the 2000m down into the South Gate River.
The end was near but I sure didn't want it to end. Spring was vibrant and coming to life in the valley and it was beautiful to see spring unfolding.
A day's worth of descending the old growth lead us to the South Gate River below. My first thought when I stumbled out onto the rocky rivers edge all cut up and hungry was "Holy $&#t" she is ever pumping!
The river was raging and we had no choice but to dive right in. Two days of paddling and 40km later, we were spat out at the head of the Bute Inlet to catch our float plane and back to civilization. And just like that, another Journey was complete and it was time to hang the skis up for summer. Sun burnt, fit as $&%t and ready to enjoy some time in the surf.
Chad's Personal Gear For His Coast Range Traverse
- 80 litre pack
- 30 litre ski pack (without back frame)
- Sled, foam pad, cord
- Sleeping bag, Therma-rest
- Glacier kit, pulleys, ice screws, cord
- Harness, crampons, ice axe, picket, 60m dry rope
- Avalanche Gear – Beacon, probe, shovel
- Head lamp (w/ extra batteries), knife, bear spray
- Camera, x2 lenses, 10 rolls of film (old school!), filters
- Goggles, sunnies, hat, sunscreen
- Eye drops, dental floss, Ibuprofen, ear plugs, toothbrush
- Stove, bowl, spoon, 2x lighters
- 2 liter water bottle, 500ml bottle for tea
- Down Jacket, Gore-Tex pants and jacket
- 4x socks, 2 x underwear, 1 long underwear
- 2x toques, 2x gloves
- A good book!
Some Key Tips For a Successful Trip
- Have a solid group of peeps that will make for a strong team. A to B trips are not for big groups of mixed motivations, because you can't just 'sit a day out' or 'rest until the heli pick-up comes'.
- Plan your route and get to know it. The route will be a lot less obvious on the ground. Have your maps and GPS route dialled.
- Pack fast and light, but think 'warm and dry' when you're deciding what to bring.
- On the other hand, have rescue gear and emergency communication options on hand. Don't suffer through an unnecessary epic.
- Put some extra love into the food plan, like extra treats for down days. You'll thank yourself.
Chad's Hard Goods On This Expedition
- Scarpa 130 Freedom touring boots
- Mythic 97 183cm skis with G3 ION bindings
- G3 Scala Climbing Skins
- Leki Bluebird Carbon fibre poles