Chilcotins 2014 Mountain Bike Tour

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Another tough day of riding in the Chilcotins…

Here is the 2014 Chilcotin Tour Plan. We’ll be updating this post as the trip develops so come back once in a while to see what’s shaking.

Schedule

  • Drive to Chilcotins 12 July [Tyax Lodge]
  • Fly out to start 13 July
  • Riding 14-19 July
  • Drive home Sun 20 July

**Note – dates have changed since initial emails went out.

Route map...

Route map…

The Route

The tentative route [we’ll get a map up here soon]:

  • fly to Lorna Lake
  • ride up Lorna Pass and back [optional bonus pass!]
  • camp at Lorna Lake w/ campfire feast and fiesta!! [13 July]
  • Grant Creek Trail west
  • over Iron Pass [#1]
  • Warner Pass Trails east
  • over Warner Pass [#2]
  • camp at Warner Lake [14 July]
  • Deer Pass Trail north
  • over Deer Pass [#3]
  • Tyaughton Creek Trail NW
  • camp north of Deer Pass [15 July]
  • Elbow Pass Trail NW over Elbow Pass [#4]
  • Big Creek Trail north
  • Graveyard Creek Trail south
  • camp at Graveyard Cabin [16 July]
  • over Little Graveyard Pass [#5]
  • Little Paradise Creek Trail SW
  • over Little Paradise Pass [#6]
  • Tyaughton Creek Trail SE to Deer Pass Trail south
  • Camp north of Deer Pass [17 July]
  • over Deer Pass again!! [#7]
  • camp at Hummingbird Lake [18 July]
  • Gun Creek Trail east
  • back to Tyax Lodge
  • camp at Tyax Lodge and party!! [19 July]

On the map above we’d fly into the blue dot on the left which is Lorna Lake. Ride counter-clockwise around the loop that is formed by the pink highlighter [our actual route will go off the map to the east than come back in towards Warner Lake]. Then clockwise around the loop at the top of the map. Back across Deer Pass to the south along the green pen and then back to Tyax Lodge [yellow dot way to the right] along Gun Creek Trail.

I don’t have an exact distance for this route and frankly that number would be meaningless without knowing the condition of the trail and the elevation profile. Bottom line each day will be long and filled with challenging riding.

We’ll also plan a route that we would bike the whole way without a plane. That way if the plane can’t fly due to weather or a mechanical problem we aren’t stuck.

There will be some steep uphill pushing...

There will be some steep uphill pushing…

Physical Difficulty

The ride will be physically challenging with a significant amount of hike-a-bike. This will include pushing your bike up steep passes with loose scree underfoot.  We won’t be going out of our way to kill anyone, but 7 passes in 6 days is a lot of going up. So be ready for big days back to back.

There will be some fast flowy buffness...

There will be some fast flowy buffness…

Technical Challenge

Riding unloaded bikes the technical sections of these trails are solid intermediate challenges. However, there is some unrideable steep and loose terrain both up and downhill. There are big sections of these trails that are easy as well.

The rough sections of the trails get quite “chunky”. Some suspension could be appreciated.

Keep in mind you’ll be carrying camping gear and lots of food so stuff you might ride on a trail day ride will be pushing territory in the Chilcotins. Better to hike-a-bike than to get hurt!

Suspension is not essential, but reliability is!

Suspension is not essential, but reliability is!

Equipment

You need:

  • a reliable MTB [rigid, hardtail or FS]
  • a way to carry the camping gear and food you need
  • lightweight camping gear [tent, sleeping bag & pad, stove + fuel+ pot]
  • versatile clothing that can handle a wide range of temperatures and weather
  • comfortable grippy shoes you can hike in

Weather

Expect warm days and cool nights, but given we’ll be in the mountains be ready for the worst. You should have rain gear and wear clothes that don’t get soaked and dry poorly like cotton.

Safety

You’ll be travelling deep into the backcountry away from easy medical help. We’ll have a first aid kit and a satellite messenger device to call for help. However, you need to ride like you can’t afford to get hurt. A rescue operation will not be fast or easy or cheap.

You may want to consider supplementary medial insurance that covers rescue operations.

Cost

Here are some things to consider for budgeting:

  • float plane trip ~$225/person assuming 4 pers in a plane
  • gas to/from Tyax Lodge
  • camping at Tyax Lodge at start/end $20/night [free camping available ~10mins drive away]
  • food for 7 days
  • any gear you need to buy/rent/repair for the trip
  • medical insurance
Victoria to Tyax Lodge...

Victoria to Tyax Lodge…

Getting There

From Victoria:

  • drive to Nanimo
  • take ferry to Horseshoe Bay
  • drive to Pemberton
  • take Hurley FSR to Gold Bridge [rough rocky road not for low slung cars]
  • drive to Tyax Lodge
  • count on 6hrs+ to get there

Can anyone come along?

No.

  • You need to be a solidly intermediate mountain biker who is physically fit and able to look after yourself and camp in the backcountry.
  • You need to be an easy going person who will get along with the rest of the group.
  • You need to have a reliable bike that you have maintained and inspected just before the trip.
  • You need to carry basic bike repairs tools, supplies and know how to use them.
  • You need lightweight camping gear and a way to carry it that you can mountain bike with.

So if you want to join the trip drop us a line with some personal info.

When do I have to decide if I am in?

Bottom line you need a spot in the float plane to get the start. If you miss out on the float plane you can book a flight the day before and wait for us to arrive or you can ride to the start if you want to add a couple extra days to the trip.

To get a spot on the plane for sure –  booking in January 2014 would be a good idea. You can leave it until later, but you risk not getting a seat. We’ll nail down all the key details by Dec 2013 so you have everything you need to make a solid choice.

You book by the plane load [4 people + bikes + gear] so you need 3 other people to book a flight with you and you + bikes + gear must stay under 1100lbs. So 4 big guys might not want to fly together!

Flights get booked through Tyax Adventures here.

Links to Chilcotin Riding Inspiration and Info

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3 thoughts on “Chilcotins 2014 Mountain Bike Tour

  1. Hi there. My name’s Sandy and I was sent this link by John McWiliams. A few years ago, when I first moved to Nelson, he sent me a note telling me to expect an invite for a trip like this as a 50 birthday event. A the time, that seemed a long way off. I’ve looked over the info and the videos here and have to say that I’m very excited about this trip. I guess this is a kind of application.

    My Dad has fished in Lorna Lake for many years and loves that country. My sister hiked there, too, and has some lovely photos of the area. The trails look remarkably good, for the remoteness of them. I feel certain that I could manage the terrain. I have ridden on single track and trails many times, though never with a loaded bicycle. I have an enthusiastic friend here in Nelson who claims he will help me train for endurance riding with a load. As to the camping, while no mountaineer, I have done numerous overnight hikes, even with two kids: once to Strathcona park and the other to Cape Scott. I’m sure I can be geared well enough to stay dry and safe for the trip. I imagine John and I can arrange to split some of the gear to save each some weight.

    I need some advice on bicycles. I need to find a new ride, preferably a new ride that’s used, if you know what I mean. It seems to me that the riders who put more load on their bikes are going to be better off than those who load their backs. Is that so? If it is then best forget rear suspension. So is a hard-tail the best choice? What about brakes? I like the responsiveness of the disc brakes, but can they take the punishment?

    That fills out the prelininaries, I suppose. Please email me if you want any more information. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Sandy

    • Hi Sandy,

      Good to meet you. It sounds like you can manage the camping and riding. What I would suggest is that you get your bike this winter and have it ready for some bikepacking trips in the spring and early summer. The only way to get the skills to ride a loaded mountain bike is to ride a loaded mountain bike. So it’s worth going on a few weekend overnighters with your gear setup to test it. You can also go on some day trail rides with your loaded bike to get used to it.

      You don’t need to be an expert by any means, but you do need to have a solid bike/gear setup so you aren’t dealing with problems on the ride. You need to be reasonably fit as well, but given the timeframe until the trip that shouldn’t be a problem.

      As far as bikes go there are lots of good options. Based on what you’ve said I would suggest a 29er like the Surly Karate Monkey. They are not terribly expensive and should be available used. You can run it rigid or put a front suspension fork on it as you prefer.

      The most important thing is that you are comfortable on the bike. That means getting the right size and having it setup for your body. This takes time so that’s another reason to get a bike early.

      In terms of how to carry your gear soft bags attached to your bike are ideal.

      2013-07-07 09-22-26 7070066

      They can be expensive depending on which ones you get, but there are cheaper options and quite a few people make their own.

      I use a backpack to supplement my bike bags, but I try to keep that load reasonably light. I’ll be carry mostly food in my pack so that my load gets lighter everyday.

      You can use a rear rack and panniers on your bike, but I would go there as a last resort. They are prone to getting damaged or breaking with rough use.

      In early January 2014 I’ll be putting out a call for people who are ready to commit to the trip. You’ll need to give me a $200 non-refundable deposit to cover your seat in the float plane. We need to book 4 people at a time as that’s a full load. If you aren’t ready to commit in Jan no worries. Just let me know when you are and I’ll be keeping track of who’s interested and helping to connect 4 people to fill a plane. The $200/person is the only cash cost for the trip. You’ll have some camping fees on the night before and the night after the trip. I suspect we’ll be going for dinner at the Tyax Lodge at the end of the trip, but that’s optional. There is also free camping a 15min drive from the Tyax Lodge.

      If you pay me $200 and then can’t go we’ll look for someone to take your place. If we find someone they’ll refund your $200. If not you will forfeit the deposit.

      Thanks for your interest.

  2. Pingback: vikapproved | Chilcotins Tour 2014 Route

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