Packing for the Chilcotins Basecamp Trip

Float plane interior...

Float plane interior…

Two important considerations when packing for the trip are:

  • weight limits for the float plane [100 lbs flying in and 70 lbs flying out [per person]
  • bulk/ease of loading

The weight limits are obvious. Since we are using all of the plane’s carrying capacity it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep your gear 10% less then your max weight allowance. This particularly important coming back because your gear could be wet and weigh more than when you flew in.

Besides weight the gear you bring has to fit into the plane and has to be easy to load unload. That means avoid bulky items and pack everything as neatly as you can. Leave the family camping tent at home and pack your gear into a couple duffel bags.

If we end up with too much weight or too much bulk when we are packing the plane stuff will get left on the dock and there is no telling what will get chucked.

Rather than go through that let’s all pack smart and avoid any hassles. 🙂

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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