Chilcotin Mountains Bike Tour- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Chilcotin Mountains Bike Tour



    I just got back from a week of touring in the Chilcotins. Definitely my hardest tour yet, but very rewarding to see plans formed almost a year ago come to fruition and to experience some amazing terrain at human speed.

    The plan is outlined here: Chilcotins 2014 Mountain Bike Tour | Dirt Hombres!



    The trip started with a float plane ride from Tyax Lodge to Lorna Lake. This was a bit of a splurge, but it was a lot of fun and set us off deep into the backcountry from the first pedal stroke.



    I rode my Rohloff'd Surly Krampus with Porcelain Rocket bags and a lightweight-ish selection of gear. The bike performed perfectly the whole week despite much abuse. Big wheels and wide tires were much appreciated when things got rough and sketchy. As was the bombproof IGH when bashing through rocks and thick vegetation.

    My only thought for a change would be a slacker front end to deal with the uber steep loose conditions we faced. I don't think that would be an issue for my more chilled tours and it would help when the going got steep. I'm going to play with a suspension fork on the Krampus. I figure I can swap in the stock fork for fireroad type trips and the suspension fork for techy tours.



    Day 1 - Big Creek and Grant Creek Trails - consisted of a very techy ride north of Big Creek Trail that featured a couple water crossings of note and enough roots and rocks to make you really sure you are in BC. A broken saddle rail early on made us realize that we needed to ride light and protect our bikes as we were headed further away from any help on the first leg of our trip.



    Turning west onto Grant Creek Trail we started climbing the valley towards Iron Pass. The natural beauty was a welcome distraction from the effort of riding up a rough trail that was frequently overgrown with slide alder.



    We made camp below the pass next to Grant Creek to keep the first day short and give everyone a chance to get into the swing of things before assaulting our first pass.



    Chilling some beers in the remaining snowpack we celebrated a successful start to the trip and enjoyed some fine freeze dried dining.
    Last edited by vikb; 07-21-2014 at 06:37 PM.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  2. #2
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    Nice! Looking fwd to the rest of your story

  3. #3
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    Re: Chilcotin Mountains Bike Tour

    Beautiful & Thanks for sharing!

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    Day 2 - Iron Pass

    I got up early on the second day of the trip anticipating another hot day and a lot of hike-a-bike over the pass. A quick breakfast of oatmeal and black tea had me moving slowly, but surely upwards. I summited just as it was getting really warm and didn't have to wait too long for Scott and our new friend Brian to get there.



    We were lucky that the snowpack was light this year which meant we only had to cross the occasional bit of the frozen stuff to stay on track. Since I still had beer in my pack this early in the game snow also meant ice cold beer so it was welcome!



    The stunning views down the next valley made all the effort pushing my bike up to the pass well worth it. Scott, Brian and I headed down into the valley to recon the trail as the rest of our group was nowhere in sight yet.

    The trail down along the north side of Battlement Creek was challenging and rough, but a lot of fun. This part of our route was the most remote so we weren't surprised at the low traffic the trail had seen.



    Eventually the trail ended at the creek and there was no obvious continuation. So we made a bunch of guesses based on the terrain and bushwacked with our bikes for a few hours hunting down the trail. This was hot, sweaty and frustrating work, but as we would learn the Chilcotins doesn't give anything away for free. Naturally the last option.....hike-a-biking up the ridge separating us from the next pass lead us not only to a trail, but a well used ATV track.



    We let the rest of the group know we had found a way through via our InReach satellite messengers and took a well deserved break waiting for them to reach us.



    The ATV track dropped us quickly to a trail that would take us all the way up to Warner Pass. Several KMs of great riding were our reward for all the pushing and bushwacking earlier in the day. The only bummer was a thunderstorm that dumped a lot of water on us soaking us and all our gear that afternoon as we trundled upwards.



    Given the rain and the efforts of the day we decided to stop early and camp below Warner Pass to give everyone another day to get calibrated to the challenges of the trip. A roaring campfire dried out our clothes and a hearty freeze dried meal definitely hit the spot as did the last of my beer supply.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  5. #5
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    Good story!

    I have been considering going 29+ for this type of trips, although that would entail getting a new bike made. To date I have been using 3.8" Nates on my tours in Scandinavia, in comparable terrain to what you've just done, albeit with lower mountains. How do you think the 2 wheel options would compare in the trip you just made?

    Thanks

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    Great read! Thanks for sharing.

    Andrew

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giel View Post
    Good story!

    I have been considering going 29+ for this type of trips, although that would entail getting a new bike made. To date I have been using 3.8" Nates on my tours in Scandinavia, in comparable terrain to what you've just done, albeit with lower mountains. How do you think the 2 wheel options would compare in the trip you just made?

    Thanks
    I have a 4" fatbike with IGH and my 29+ with IGH. For this trip I would always take the 29+ if those were my choices. The times when a full fatbike would be a better choice are very small. In fact if I had to choose I'd rather have a normal 29er with 2.4" rubber than a fatbike on this trip. Although I think the 29+ strikes a great compromise between them.

    If there was more soft conditions riding and more riding where there was no trail at all I'd start to think about my fatbike.

    What was important was moving quickly/efficiently both on the bike and when pushing it up passes. A fatbike wouldn't have helped in either area.

    A lot of fatbikes will take 29+ wheels so it's possible you can retrofit what you have to 29+. What bike do you have?
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I have a 4" fatbike with IGH and my 29+ with IGH. For this trip I would always take the 29+ if those were my choices. The times when a full fatbike would be a better choice are very small. In fact if I had to choose I'd rather have a normal 29er with 2.4" rubber than a fatbike on this trip. Although I think the 29+ strikes a great compromise between them.

    If there was more soft conditions riding and more riding where there was no trail at all I'd start to think about my fatbike.

    What was important was moving quickly/efficiently both on the bike and when pushing it up passes. A fatbike wouldn't have helped in either area.

    A lot of fatbikes will take 29+ wheels so it's possible you can retrofit what you have to 29+. What bike do you have?
    I am riding an 11ANTS elephANT (a Dutch micro-brand of which I am co-owner). Running 4" with Rohloff&belt drive on 48mm rims. Chainstays in the prototype that I am running won't take 29+ by just a few mm. It's got a horseshoe-shaped yoke construction, I could get that taken out and replace the lower chainstays and add a new cnc'd yoke that we recently designed. I haven't yet found the 3.8" to slow me down too much on proper off-road trips in rough terrain where my moving average is often around 4 to 5 mph. By looking at your pics, I would guestimate that you were in the same ballpark, speed-wise. I found the 2.4s too narrow in rough terrain, but the 29+ sounds very tempting. I'll give it a go one of these days
    Last edited by Giel; 07-22-2014 at 12:54 PM. Reason: argh, typos!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giel View Post
    I found the 2.4s too narrow in rough terrain,
    What I like about the 29+ tires is more their height than their width. We had very few sections where any sort of flotation was an issue. But, many areas where a tall tire rolled through rough bits really well.

    That's why I'd go with a 2.4" wide 29er tire over a fatbike for this trip. The extra width and weight doesn't help very much and is detriment when you are pushing the bike/carrying it - which is a lot of the time.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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    Day 3 - Warner Pass & Deer Pass

    Scott and I got up early on the third day of the trip and got rolling quickly to try and beat the day's heat.



    The first challenge was getting up and over Warner Pass which was the highest pass of the trip. The trail upwards was rideable at least until we got up past the tree line that was great because at riding speeds the hordes of mozzies following us couldn't launch a full-on offensive, but at walking speeds they ate us up!



    The good news is that our early start meant we got over the pass while it was still fairly cool. The bad news was that the chunky, steep and loose trail down the other side wasn't very rideable so we pushed our bikes a long way until we got back into the trees near Warner Lake.



    Once in the trees we could ride our bikes again and blasted down the rest of the way to the bottom of Deer Pass. It was around noon at this point and getting very hot, but in order to stay on schedule and complete the route we had planned we had to get moving.



    Deer Pass was long hot and seemingly never ending. I didn't take a single photo. I just tried to keep moving up the relentlessly steep trail. The only thing that allowed me to survive was the handful of creeks that crossed the trail and let me cool down enough to keep going and fill my water bottles. Splashing some water over my head never felt so good!

    Finally getting to the top I enjoyed a nice bug-free moment in the wind and took a well deserved nap!

    Scott and I waited about an hour, but there was no sight of anyone following us up and we had some more riding to do reach camp so we got moving.



    There were a few tense moments on the way down negotiating washouts on steep slopes, but once we were past them it was mostly rideable to the creek at the bottom of the pass. There were a few high fives as we celebrated the end of a tough hot day of getting over Warner and Deer Passes. Our reward was a beautiful bug-light camp ground alongside a nice creek.

    A few hours later Evan and Brian, our new friends from San Diego, made it to camp after a strong effort that saw them crest two passes both in the heat of the day. Evan celebrated by pulling several trout out of the creek with his small fishing rod.

    The other half of our group had decided that hour after hour of hike-a-bike in 30-40 deg C weather was crazy talk and they stayed on the south side of Deer Pass camping at Trigger Lake.
    Last edited by vikb; 07-22-2014 at 06:54 PM.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  11. #11
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    Great pics, Vik. Thanks again for setting up the trip and letting us tag along. Chilcotins are definitely a special place that I have been waiting a long time for the chance to visit.

    I've got lots of pics to post but won't be able to get to them til later this week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Great pics, Vik. Thanks again for setting up the trip and letting us tag along. Chilcotins are definitely a special place that I have been waiting a long time for the chance to visit.

    I've got lots of pics to post but won't be able to get to them til later this week.


    Great to meet and ride with you Evan. You and Brian rode strong and had a good attitude in the face of the various challenges on the trip.

    It was good to have some extra support finding the missing trail over Little Graveyard Pass. I figured that with 3 other riders in the area you could haul my body to a helicopter LZ if I fell when descending the Gully of Death!

    I hope the trip home was uneventful.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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    Day 4 - Little Paradise and Little Graveyard Passes

    By now we were getting fully into the swing of things and got up early once again to beat the heat on what was going to be back-to-back double pass assault days...



    The day started out nice and cool with no bugs to speak off and we actually found the trails we were looking for without too much bonus mileage....



    Little Paradise Pass was a grunt of a hike-a-bike, but after the previous day it seemed pretty reasonable all things considered. We were moving fast and feeling good. That allowed us to summit just as the heat really hit for the day.

    We regrouped with Evan and Brian at the top of the first pass which proved to be a good thing.



    On paper the 2nd pass of the day should have been fairly easy as we didn't drop back down too low before heading back over, but this area of the Chilcotins isn't very well travelled and when we got to the spot the trail should start from there was no sign of any human travel in that direction. Just lots of trees and lots of brush. I was not looking forward to several hard KMs of bushwacking as the heat and effort of the last couple days started to catch up with me.



    Evan and Brian came to the rescue by scouting out the area from a ridge and spotting the trail we needed in the valley below.



    The problem was our best route down was a steep loose dry creek bed that I dubbed The Gully of Death!. I was the least excited by taking this option as I was acutely aware how far we were from help should someone slip and be unable to ride/walk out. The other guys plowed ahead which both proved the route was okay and forced my hand.



    Once on the right trail Little Graveyard Pass proved to be almost entirely rideable [a first on this trip] and fairly easy to summit.



    Even better the trail down the valley on the other side of the pass was almost all rideable and we rallyed the $hit out of it due to our high stoke levels. Not only were we riding, but with 5 out of 6 passes under our belt we had overcome most of the challenges of the trip. It was time to enjoy some single track slaying.

    Turning south onto Big Creek Trail towards Lorna Lake and Elbow Pass. We were getting really close to where we started from a few days ago.



    Several hours of amazing riding later we were faced with one more challenge - the trail up Elbow Pass [our last pass of the trip] simply didn't exist on the ground and a couple hours of exploring on foot didn't turn up anything useful.



    This was definitely the mental and physical low point of the trip for me. I was overheated, dehydrated, had a sore elbow and a sore tailbone, blisters in numerous places, cuts all over my shins and calves, my legs had no energy and felt like I had been bonking for the past few hours despite eating and drinking regularly.



    But I've been in the Hurt Locker before on demanding rides and I knew I just needed to eat, drink and rest while this funk passed. So I set up my tent. Cooked a meal and dried out my wet gear. I didn't talk to anyone and just kept my head down until I crashed early.
    Last edited by vikb; 07-29-2014 at 01:38 PM.
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    Vik
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    Day 5 - Lorna Pass & Tyaughton Creek Trail


    Waking up after a solid sleep I felt normal again and ready to tackle the last pass of the trip. We started heading south towards Lorna Lake with an eye to either find the trail up Elbow Pass or hit Lorna Pass. We would find out later from a hiker that even after crossing Elbow Pass from east to west he couldn't find the trail again going west to east. So we didn't need to feel bad about our navigational skills.



    Not seeing any sign for Elbow Pass we jumped on the well marked and well used trail to Lorna Pass. As passes go it was not too bad. Fairly steep and loose in some places, but short enough [~2hrs] that it didn't get us down. Doing this hike-a-bike in the cool of the day with virtually no bugs to speak of certainly didn't hurt morale either.



    Sadly these photos do not properly convey how steep and loose the trails up the Chilcotins passes really were. This looks rideable when in fact the process for getting up it was:

    1. establish firm foot placement
    2. push bike uphill to full extension of arms
    3. lock both brakes
    4. take two steps upwards
    5. establish solid foot placement
    6. repeat for a as many hours as necessary to summit pass



    It turns out that Lorna Pass was a great choice. The east side had KM after KM of fun rideable trail that bombed down the mountain from the pass all the way down to Tyaughton Creek Trail.



    I felt a little guilty that the half of our group who didn't make it over Deer Pass on Day #3 were missing out on the signletrack glory that was Days #4 & #5. But somebody had to shred the trails so we did.



    Although it was flatter and a bit rougher Tyaughton Creek Trail was mostly rideable and slightly downhill so it was still a hoot. Especially after so much hike-a-bike on previous days.



    The day had been nearly perfect to this point and we were getting very close to Spruce Lake where we would join up with our amigos who went straight there instead of assaulting more passes. What should have happened was that we finished off the day on an easy main trail that crossed Tyaughton Creek and took us less than 30-40 mins to reach camp.



    What actually happened was we made a small, but critical error reading the map and thought we needed to go another couple KMs down the trail to ford the creek in the correct spot.

    This was wrong. Very wrong.

    So we ended up getting to Spruce Lake via CK Trail. Which was a disused/washed out hike-a-bike of death sort of trail that took nearly 3hrs to conquer during the heat of the day.

    **sigh**

    I guess we can't help adding some spiciness to trips sometimes.



    We were very happy to finally reach Spruce Lake after our "little detour" and reunite with the rest of the gang. Everyone was in good spirits having scaled back the gnar and found a pace that suited them better. They had camped at Trigger Lake at the end of Day #3, ridden to Spruce Lake on Day #4 and camped while doing day a ride from Spruce Lake on Day #5.

    Scott and I took the opportunity to wash up in the warm water of the lake and eat a double share of rations from our food supply since we were ahead of schedule and wanted light bikes for the ride out to Tyax the next day.
    Last edited by vikb; 07-25-2014 at 06:00 AM.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  15. #15
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    Another great update, thanks, looking fwd to the next

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    Day 6 - Gun Creek Trail to Tyax

    Since we wanted to ride out together I got up at my normal time [~0530am] used the facilities and went back to bed for another 90mins. Did lots of lounging and drinking of tea/coffee. Packed very slowly and killed time in every way conceivable. Being fast and efficient in the AM is a hard habit to break!

    We rolled out of camp late and started the ride down to Gun Creek trail.

    Knowing this was the last day and wanting to shred Gun Creek as hard as possible I ate extra food the night before and repacked my bike to move weight from my front and rear bags to my backpack that was almost empty now that my rations had been depleted. This made my bike a lot more playful and nimble.



    My adjustments paid off. Gun Creek was even more fun than I remembered from last year [heavier bike and slower paced group]. The big 29+ wheels on my Krampus just gobbled up the terrain and I shot off the front of the group to enjoy a dust-free run and not have to break up my flow.



    Lots of buff windy singletrack with some rocky/rooty sections to keep things interesting. It's ~25kms from Spruce Lake to Tyax with ~22kms of that being rolling and downhill.



    Scott caught up with me using his superior climbing skills on the few steep pitches to close the gap and we frieghtrained the rest of Gun Creek smiling like fools.



    After sections of the trip with so much relentlessly steep hike-a-bike we really earned this part of the ride. I probably got off my bike 3 times in 25kms. Awesome!



    The lighter better balanced gear distribution really got me thinking about ways to make my bike perform better for the next difficult trip while still retaining all the important comfort/safety elements I want.



    I really have no right to complain about the riding on this day, but after such an amazing downhill run from Spruce Lake we were left with one last challenge - several steep uphill KMs back to Tyax on a dusty fire road at the peak of the day's heat.



    What made this last push less gnarly was the knowledge that there was a bar with icy cold beers waiting for me....not to mention a shower and clean clothes.



    It was also a chance to reflect one last time what a great trip it had been while I was still on the bike and connected to the adventure. There were some very hard moments that I wouldn't volunteer for in advance, but that I am glad I faced them and overcame them. Talking to friends afterwards I had several say "That didn't sound like fun." There were lots of moments that weren't enjoyable in the strictest sense, but if I just wanted to have a bunch of laughs I'd spend my vacation trail riding with a hotel room + hot tub + cold beer waiting for me after 3-4hrs in the saddle.



    Once back at Tyax we descended on the bar like locust devouring beer and burgers in a feeding frenzy that the lounge staff probably sees pretty frequently.



    One last night of camping gave us a chance to socialize over more beers before everyone scattered back towards home.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  17. #17
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    Ahh the Chilcotins... No place like it. You earn your views and your descents that's for sure. Nice work guys and nice write up/pics Vik, making it sound tough and emphasizing the type 2 fun that it most often is. It's not everyones style of mountain biking, but then again we don't want too many people coming out this way to ride it now do we?

  18. #18
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    I'm Jealous in Jersey
    What a ride!

  19. #19
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    Great report vik. Not sure I've got the mental and physical constitution for that kind of trip. You guys are tough hombres.

    I saw photos of bear tracks but mention of encounters. What did you do by way of bear prevention/protection?

    You should share this in the Passion forum too. This is pure undiluted passion.

    Thanks for sharing.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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  20. #20
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    If you want to see more photos here are some albums:

    Safe riding,

    Vik
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    Despite all the Type 2 fun on this trip I don't want to leave the impression that every Chilcotins trip has to be a suffer-fest. You can fly into Spruce or Warner Lakes and do a day ride back to Tyax that would be all smiles all the time with just a few minutes of hike-a-bike.

    Based on what I know now flying into Lorna Lake and riding out over Lorna Pass, Tyaughton Creek Trail via Spruce Lake and then Gun Creek Trail back to Tyax would my choice for an epic ride with only a couple hours of hike-a-bike over Lorna Pass at the start and all-day singletrack fun the rest of the ride.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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    Fantastic pics and story. Surley has a new "Ice Cream Truck" model that looks like it could be a happy medium between 29+ Krampus and full Pugsley fat-bike...would be interesting to see if it would be as good for these kind of epic go-everywhere backcountry trips.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastcoastroots View Post
    Fantastic pics and story. Surley has a new "Ice Cream Truck" model that looks like it could be a happy medium between 29+ Krampus and full Pugsley fat-bike...would be interesting to see if it would be as good for these kind of epic go-everywhere backcountry trips.
    The Ice Cream Truck is a 5" tire capable fat bike so it wouldn't be a happy medium between a Krampus and a Pugsley as much as a bigger fat bike than the Pugsley.

    There would be no benefit to taking it on a trip like this and lots of downsides. In fact coming off this trip I'm focused on lightening and minimizing my bike and camping gear to make the most of the limited human power available to move it over the mountains.

    If I was going to do anything I'd go for a skinny 29er with 2.4" tires over a fatbike.

    I considered adding 29+ wheels to my Pugsley rather than buying a Krampus, but decided against it. Partly because I have very little use for a fatbike these days and because I don't want to invest a lot of $$ in speciality wheels/hubs that can't be moved from bike to bike.

    The Krampus uses standard bike parts which is great. No crazy wide BBs or hubs.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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    Yes, that is true. Surley's website does talk about the "trail approved" nature of the ICT and sounds like it's supposed to be a much more aggressive Pugsley:
    When we designed the Ice Cream Truck we borrowed elements from the Krampus and Instigator geometries to make this bike feel frisky and limber. The complete build rounds out this bike as an aggressive trail bomber. And with 4.8” tires on 100mm rims you have the option of going through instead of around anything in your path.
    But as you say, it still isn't light - so it does make sense that on this type of expedition, with what looks like pretty decent trails (when you can find them!) and no deep sand/snow, getting as narrow and light as possible is the most important thing.

    On that note I did ride about 10km across a mostly unmarked coastal barren up north last year, on my 27.5" AM bike...the footpath we were following had petered out, but we roughly knew where we were headed and had lots of water so we just went for it. Very deep and soft lichens and moss made peddling very tough compared to an actual trail, but I was surprised how quickly I got used to it...on a 29+ it probably would not have been too bad. Can you imagine sticking some 2.4" tires on a Specialized Enduro and going for it?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastcoastroots View Post
    On that note I did ride about 10km across a mostly unmarked coastal barren up north last year, on my 27.5" AM bike...the footpath we were following had petered out, but we roughly knew where we were headed and had lots of water so we just went for it. Very deep and soft lichens and moss made peddling very tough compared to an actual trail, but I was surprised how quickly I got used to it...on a 29+ it probably would not have been too bad. Can you imagine sticking some 2.4" tires on a Specialized Enduro and going for it?
    As much fun as it is to talk bikes and consider all the options it's really about getting out there and riding [and pushing lol ]. If you own a bike and can get your camping gear on it head out and explore.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  26. #26
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    What a friggin awesome trip! Nice work in planning and execution, Vik.
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    Yep

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    If I was going to do anything I'd go for a skinny 29er with 2.4" tires over a fatbike.
    I concur. Yesterday I did a loop from home, over a local pass, climbing ~3200 feet over 12.8 miles with my Krampus. I'd packed enough to enjoy a full day out, no matter what the weather turned to. I've done the summit annually for years and this was the hardest climb ever. Of course I am another year older...
    Chilcotin Mountains Bike Tour-krampus-plp08022014.jpg

    I'm seriously thinking of dusting off my 10 year old fine steel 29er and making up a light XC machine again, for local day trips.
    Descending super steep ball-bearing gravel and ruts on the 29 X 3 Knards with 8 - 10 psi was inspiring however. Amazing actually.
    you may have come before us on no bicycle, but that does not say you know everything.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    In fact coming off this trip I'm focused on lightening and minimizing my bike and camping gear....

    If I was going to do anything I'd go for a skinny 29er with 2.4" tires over a fat bike.
    My Chilcotins set up from last weekends 4 day traverse through the middle starting and ending at the lodge, no flights for us yet, one day perhaps. My friend Sam and I have been getting out there every August long weekend for the past number of years. With the snow melting off early this year I got out on the Canada Day long weekend as well with a different set up. This years set up was a culmination of all the experience out there... and everywhere else of course. Only need to make a couple tweaks and it'll be perfect.

    All bags made by me. Only food, a 1L bottle (when needed) bear spray and point and shoot camera in the back pack which started at around 12 or 13lbs. All my personal gear/clothes/sleeping kit etc plus shared cook kit and tools/repairs, water purification on my bike as well. Didn't get to weigh the bike before unfortunately but it was light, by my bike touring/packing standards.

    Light is Right, simple is good, smart is what it's all about.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Chilcotin Mountains Bike Tour-adam-chilcotins-set-up-august-2014.jpg  


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Addy Marx View Post

    Light is Right, simple is good, smart is what it's all about.
    I like it.

    Are you going to post a trip report online?
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    What a friggin awesome trip! Nice work in planning and execution, Vik.
    Thanks Casey. I was very happy to see this trip come together after so much time waiting for summer.

    I'm actually going back to the Chilcotins with my 6" travel FS bike tomorrow for 5 more days of riding after setting up a basecamp at Spruce Lake. I'm excited to shred the trails with an unloaded bike with top notch suspension. Plus I get to show some of my friends why I love the Chilcotins so much. Hopefully I can lure them out on a bikepacking trip once they have tasted the goods.
    Last edited by vikb; 08-08-2014 at 09:18 AM.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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    I just got back from another Chilcotins trip. This time we had our gear flown in by float plane to Spruce Lake and we rode our bikes in and out of the lake unencumbered. It was a big group of 17 riders, but it worked out pretty well with smaller groups forming each day to tackle different rides. We had enough people so that everyone could find at least one other rider who wanted the same sort of adventure each day.



    The use of a plane to haul our stuff meant that folks who couldn't easily tackle a mountain bike tour could participate and we could haul a few luxuries like beer!



    This was a Dirt Hombres bike club trip so there was some club swag on display.



    This was the first Chilcotins trip for everyone, but me so they learned fast you had to earn your turns even with a float plane hauling gear.



    I've been getting my GF stoked on MTB touring a little bit at a time. Doing over nighters and now this trip to the Chilcotins. I want to show her why getting off the beaten track on a MTB is so great. So far mission accomplished.



    We encountered a lot more horses on this trip than I have in the past trips which were all in July. For the most part the horse folks were pleasant to deal with although riding through piles of steaming horse $hit ain't all that great!



    Our local riding on Vancouver Island is very steep, very techy with tons of rocks and roots and generally shorter trails....so the smoother and longer rides we did in the Spruce Lake area were a nice change of pace for everyone.



    On my last trip in July I watched Evan catch a bunch of trout in a small creek so I brought a rod on this trip and had a ton of fun catching trout in the lake. In fact I'd say this was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. Next time I'm bringing an inflatable boat!



    Since I am not a big fan of eating fish I donated my catch to my friend's stoves for their enjoyment.



    Unlike my last trip which was all guys this trip was more than 50% ladies and they shredded hard each day.



    The only photo of me on a bike! I really enjoyed having an unloaded FS bike to ride.



    We were lucky and had no serious injuries or mechanicals for our 5 days in the backcountry.



    My GF givin'r in the forest. I was happy to have a DSLR on this trip for some better quality photos.



    The big group was fun, but I did manage to get away for a solo assault on Windy Pass on the one day with some decent rain. Being up high in the clouds alone with cool weather and hero dirt made for a fun ride.



    Here is some of the crew. Everyone was talking about next year so I figure we'll likely be back in 2015.



    I posted the trip photos to Flickr if you want to see them.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  32. #32
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    Wow! Very cool pics and write-ups....of both trips. You’re an animal!

    Your post here caught my eye from the title, as I just got a small taste of the Chilcotins a few weeks ago, doing the Warner Lake day ride on my 6” FS bike, and staying at the lodge. What an awesome place! And any ride that begins with a flight in a floatplane just has to be epic.

    Thanks for sharing. Aloha.

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    Vikb
    Great pictures and write up! A small group of us heading to Warner Lake next week possibly for an overnight/basecamp trip. My question is I have a couple of options for bikes, one being a XC 29er w/2x10 drivetrain or a 6x6 all mountain, set up 1x10. We are all experienced strong riders, used to riding on the coast. What would you recommend for the best experience?

  34. #34
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    Awesome pictures, Vik, looking forward to your future packrafting reports!

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    Quote Originally Posted by team ti View Post
    Vikb
    Great pictures and write up! A small group of us heading to Warner Lake next week possibly for an overnight/basecamp trip. My question is I have a couple of options for bikes, one being a XC 29er w/2x10 drivetrain or a 6x6 all mountain, set up 1x10. We are all experienced strong riders, used to riding on the coast. What would you recommend for the best experience?
    Either bike could work if your 6" travel bike has an efficient suspension design.

    The terrain is quite varied so there will be sections that suit each bike best and no matter which you bring there will be times you will wish you had the other.

    I don't think there really is a wrong choice. Your rides will be fairly long so comfort on the bike is important and a lot of the climbs are steep enough to be hike-a-bike for most people regardless of gearing.

    Also factor in durability. I overheard a rider at Tyax say she had to walk out from Spruce Lake due to a broken bike.

    I'm biased towards the 6" travel bike as that's what I ride most.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristianCoté View Post
    Awesome pictures, Vik, looking forward to your future packrafting reports!
    Funny thing is before this trip I had zero interest in packrafts.

    But after seeing a couple at Spruce Lake and thinking about all the lakes I could fish better by boat at home that are hike or bike accessible I got stoked to check out their site last night.

    The rafts look very sweet.

    I'm a little shocked at the prices. I was thinking $500 or so and it turns out $900-$1200 is more accurate. So I won't be impulse buying one in the near future.

    I've been on a tear selling bikes recently and have two more to go [LHT & Pugsley]. If I sell both I'd feel okay using that $$ to buy a packraft.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

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    Nice work on a couple of stellar rides, vik and all! Looks like full value.

    Thanks for taking the time to report, great work there as well.

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    Awesome! I'm heading up as soon as I can get my gear packed to re-try my packraft / bike trip down the Lord River to Taseko Lake and then back through Warner Pass. This is just the post I need right now for inspiration.

    I'll take my Pugsley. Last time I took my 26" front suspension bike but found it a bit dainty in the rough stuff. Wondering about the time of year though. Last year there were tons of deer flies this time. And I hope there's still enough snow and ice to keep the creeks flowing.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  39. #39
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    Oh I wanted to ask you, for fishing you used a fly rod? I have no experience with those but need to get something together quick. Maybe it's possible to use a regular rod with flies somehow? I want to have backup for food in case I end up longer than expected and run out of food.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    Oh I wanted to ask you, for fishing you used a fly rod? I have no experience with those but need to get something together quick. Maybe it's possible to use a regular rod with flies somehow? I want to have backup for food in case I end up longer than expected and run out of food.
    Sure just get a small spinning rod and use a few different spoons and spinners. You can't really cast a fly on a spinning rod without adding a lot of weight to it which ruins the presentation. You might as well get a few lures meant to be cast with a spinning rod.

    Eagle Claw Packit Telescopic Fishing Combo | Cabela's Canada

    InLine Spinners | Cabela's Canada

    Spoons | Cabela's Canada
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    Awesome! I'm heading up as soon as I can get my gear packed to re-try my packraft / bike trip down the Lord River to Taseko Lake and then back through Warner Pass. This is just the post I need right now for inspiration.

    I'll take my Pugsley. Last time I took my 26" front suspension bike but found it a bit dainty in the rough stuff. Wondering about the time of year though. Last year there were tons of deer flies this time. And I hope there's still enough snow and ice to keep the creeks flowing.
    How far did you get last time?

    How technical is the packrafting on the rivers and creeks?

    The bug situation varies over time and from place to place, but in mid-Aug there were no flies or mozzies at Spruce Lake.

    Even back in July it really was bug light compared to last year's fly-pocalypse!

    The creeks and rivers that we passed had a decent amount of water in them. Not sure how fast they'd drop.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    How far did you get last time?

    How technical is the packrafting on the rivers and creeks?

    The bug situation varies over time and from place to place, but in mid-Aug there were no flies or mozzies at Spruce Lake.

    Even back in July it really was bug light compared to last year's fly-pocalypse!

    The creeks and rivers that we passed had a decent amount of water in them. Not sure how fast they'd drop.


    I got to the big yellow dot. From there I have to bushwhack up into the alpine and ride across it which doesn't actually look too bad. But then I have to go 6 km down a creek / river that might be a bit tricky. I can take it slow and bushwhack if needed. This creek runs north into the Lord River, which is a nice big easy meandering river feeding into Taseko Lake. Then from Taseko back to Gold Bridge is pretty straightforward. So the toughest parts will be the first parts which is always the safest way to do it in case you need to backtrack out.

    Hey if you can get your stuff together in a few days... haha. No packraft yet eh. Although there's a place in Chilliwack that rents them.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  43. #43
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    From talking to people up there on the two trips I was fortunate enough to get out there for this year (June 27-29 and August 1-4) they said it was the earliest in a long time that the snow had melted off and the passes were clear. Not sure how that translates into the water levels you're looking at. But even crossing Tyaughton on my earlier of the two trips the water seemed low compared to previous years.

    There also was not much standing water which meant bug/mosquito levels were very pleasant compared to previous years I've been up there.

    Thanks for the tip on pack raft rentals in Chilliwack. Now I can finally go and try one out!

    Have fun out there. Be safe, be loud and be smart, the bears were out and about in August.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post

    Hey if you can get your stuff together in a few days... haha. No packraft yet eh. Although there's a place in Chilliwack that rents them.
    Hahaha! I tore a muscle in my arm on Day 1 of the July Chilcotins trip....and didn't do it any favours on the August trip so now I am on enforced rest until it heals. Some light urban transport riding and gentle lake kayaking/fishing is all I'm up to for a while.

    Be safe. Have fun.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  45. #45
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    Not to hijack Vic's thread but here is my Spot GPS page I'll try to update every day although the mountains interfered last time.
    All I am saying is give pizza chants

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_BC View Post
    Not to hijack Vic's thread but here is my Spot GPS page I'll try to update every day although the mountains interfered last time.
    Put up your own thread. It'd be cool to see a different route than the usual stuff.

    Fyi in the Lorna Sluice Crk Grant Crk area from two weeks ago there was marked difference between morning and evening flows.
    Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides http://mtbtrails.ca/

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    just getting to this now… great write-up vik! looking forward to hearing about more of your northern adventure. hopefully i'll make it up there to join you someday...

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