Friday, December 7, 2012

Mountain Magic

I went snowshoeing on Seymour today. It was their grand opening for the ski season. Cypress and Grouse have been open earlier but they have snowmaking. It’s been mixed rain and snow this year but it has been snowing on the mountains for a week straight now and it was awesome.

As I was driving up I thought it would be zero visibility but at least I could get some fresh snow. As I started to climb the sun came out and it was holy. About a meter of snow at the base and about two meters of fairly fresh snow at the top. First pump was very windy. You could see the blowing snow. The other side of First Pump is one of my favorite places because the wind blows and creates these sand dunes made of snow. It’s awesome.

I caught sunset from Brockton point and hiked down with a headlamp in the dark. A lot of people snowshoe up to Brockton Point in the dark with headlamps at night. On a clear night it’s awesome. I took too many pictures to post on the blog so I made a flicker account in case anyone’s interested. There’s more to life than drugs and gangs.


  1. You are no doubt careful, AK, but so many more end up like this guy, because the mountain terrain is deceptive & dangerous as well.

    "Skier dies after fall off embankment near Cypress Mountain."

    "A young man taken to hospital after falling into a creek while skiing in a backcountry area near Cypress Mountain has died."

    "The 26-year-old Vancouver man was in critical condition following the Saturday incident and died shortly after 3 p.m. on Sunday, said West Vancouver police spokesman Cpl. Fred Harding."

    “He was found in distress buried in that muddy creek, and he passed away from his injuries after his fall,” Harding said Sunday evening." (VSun)

  2. I was just going to write about that one. I found it sad that story was buried in today's Province with only a very short reference:

    I used to work a second job on one of the local ski hills and remember the riot act we would get each year from the head ski patrol. He explained that on most mountains, the further down you go away from the summit, the more gradual the incline. Not so on our local mountains. There are many areas where if you go off the path you can fall down a sheer cliff. He said people die around here all the time because they've gone off the path our out of the ski area. What happens is they usually ski or snowboard down a gully then fall through the snow at the bottom of the gully and get stuck in a creek. I was surprised we don't hear about those fatalities very much.

    I am well familiar with the Hollyburn Ridge trail on Cypress. It is totally safe. No one really takes the Baden Powel trail up to the ridge but that is an alternate route. I met an Australian couple that took that route in the summer because there were more wild blueberries to pick. It sounds like he went skiing on the other side of Hollyburn Ridge which is totally back country and very dangerous. There are many unmarked drop offs. One year I was coming down from Seymour First Pump and a young snowboarder was heading off the path to carve up some fresh powder. Doesn't that lead to a cliff I ask? He says gee, I dunno. Maybe I better stay on the path. Good thinking I said. Then when we went around the bend I showed him the cliff the path he was on went over. A lot of snowboarders carve up some wicked jumps on the other side of First Pump. You have to know the area and stay away from the unmarked trails.

    The snowshoe trails however are totally safe. It's marked with orange markers in the summer and with bamboo poles in the winter. The pole have reflective tape on them so when you snowshoe in the dark, your headlamp bounces off the reflective tape. Staying on that path at night is safe and an awesome experience. Going through the bush at night not on the trail is pretty silly. Having said that, the weather can change very quickly on the mountains. If I get to the top of first pump and there is zero visibility with a strong wind, I don't go any further. Common sense usually prevails.

  3. I just got the phone call...

    My very, very best friend from decades @ Whistler Mountain, is dead.

    Now I know what they mean when someone says, "This is the worst day of my whole life."

    Its agony beyond agony.

    It was alcohol.

    He and I were alcoholic friends; drunken brothers-in-arms, forever.

    I stopped eight years ago; I wasn't brave or tough; I just wanted to live;

    Mike just kept on drinking.

    He didn't even make sixty.

    If there is a God, where is He...? I'm left totally alone.

  4. I'm sorry for your loss. I remember how shocking it was many years ago when a coworkers committed suicide and shot himself in the head. He'd been through his second divorce and after working all his life to pay child support for his biological children they wanted him to pay child support for his second wife's kids from another relationship. He put a gun to his head and said tax that. At the funeral his daughter cried and was surprised how many people showed up. She said her father didn't think he had any friends.

    Alcoholism is a hard road that affects many families and unfortunately many police departments. We all make choices and we all have to live with the consequences of those choices. Without passing judgement, your friend chose to drink. I know someone who is an alcoholic. Growing up to adulthood there was never a time I ever saw them drunk. Now there is never a time I see them sober. It's not really my place to say anything because it's their life, yet part of me feels guilty as though a real friend would say something. Yet I don't. Overcoming that difficult addiction is a decision someone has to come to on their own.

  5. Hang in there. Everyone gets discouraged. My father used to say feelings are neither right or wrong they just are. Everyone has a right to their feelings. How some people express their feelings can be considered right or wrong or more accurately appropriate or inappropriate but people have a right to their feelings. When a friend dies it is very sad and discouraging. There is a time and place for all things. Grief is normal and appropriate in that situation. We just have to be careful not to be consumed in grief because there is good that also exists despite the continued presence of evil.

  6. "Cypress Mountain to bill rescued snowboarder."

    "Cypress Mountain has confirmed it’s planning to send an estimated $10,000 bill to the snowboarder who got lost after going out-of-bounds Sunday morning."

    "Vancouver resident Sebastien Boucher, 33, was rescued Tuesday night after search and rescue crews spent more than 48 grueling hours desperately trying to save his life."

    "North Shore Rescue does not issue fines or even solicit donations from people they save, but Joffrey Koeman of the Cypress Mountain Company said an example should be set."

    “This is something we haven’t done in 20 years or so but we’re getting overwhelming support for saying we’re sending him a bill,” Koeman said."

    "Koeman noted that apart from ignoring posted warning signs, Boucher caused an unnecessary headache for search crews by constantly changing locations."

    "Dozens of Cypress staff members aided in the search, some from the outset, and additional expenses were incurred along the way." (Sun)

    One thinks this is a necessary step; it will stop the kids, and young persons who can't easily pay such a bill...

  7. Yeah it's a tough call. If someone intentionally goes out of bounds then some sort of bill is in order. Clearly you'd rather pay a bill and be alive then not have the rescue services. $20 thousand is a big bill though. That was an interesting case. I can't believe where they found him. Pretty far from the back side of Sky chair. The paper said he didn't sleep and kept moving the whole time to stay warm - two days. Hard to track but he survived nonetheless.


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