Monday, September 22, 2008

On the road again

The team - dominating

We're on the road again - Shaun Chris and Jac's in the "trusty" (cant back that up - see below) van.

Van Prep at the Raft Base

First stop on the trip was Squamish to do some climbing on the big granite walls just outside the town. However on route from Vancouver we got a flat tyre which delayed us a little. Nvertheless, we charged on. We first did a massive 6 pitch grade 16 climb which was awsome. Being new to this style of climbing we took quite a while to complete the sucker - around 5 hours I think. We were even passed by a few people - one dude climbing solo even! Nyaaaardout!

Shaun - pitch 1

Jac's climbing, Shaun belaying above

The view from the top - yes the sun had set!

Chris ready to charge on day 2

Shaun climbing, Chris belaying

From Squamish we headed further north and checked out Whistler before carrying on up to some hot springs for the evening. The pools were just what the doctor ordered after two days climbing.

The hot pools just happened to be conveniently located at the base of the valley leading to the Pemberton Icefield. So we thought it would be rude not to pay the place a visit - especially since there was a hut marked on our map at the base of the glacier. It turned out that our map wasn't overly accurate and the "track" was more of a marked route but it was a damn good trip. We made good time getting up to the icefield and had just enough energy left to go for a wander on the ice before retreating to the hut for an italian meal matched with some fine red wine. The route back down the other side of the valley turned out to be just as "fun" through the BC wilderness but we made it back to the van safe and sound and paid another visit to the hot springs for some recouperation before the drive back to Pemberton.

Jac's - taking a breakShaun and Jac's

The all important nipple shot
It's hard to grasp the immense size of the galcier from a photo. There's actually a person standing in the foreground of this photo for perspective but you can barely tell.

Harrison Hut

Three happy campers

The view from the front window

After our refreshing swim in the hot springs we had no idea what unrelenting torments were about to be uleashed upon us. The road back to Pemberton consisted of 48km of gravel and 30 km of tarseal. With about 17km of gravel to go we got another flat tyre. No worries right? We changed it quick smart (we're getting smooth at this process) and were back on our way. No less than 5 minutes later we had another flat - this time no spare. Shit.

Shaun, Jacs and 2 flat tyres waiting for a ride

We proceeeded to remove the new flatty and prop the van up on some logs and rocks for stability. After half an hour or so we got a ride into Pemberton and were able to pull off a do it yourself puncture repair on one of the tyres. Now we just needed to get back to the van (40kms away). No worries, we're members of the American Automobile Association who kindly arranged a towtruck for us. The towtruck came and pick us and our 2 tyres up (1 fixed 1 flat) and take us back to the van. We figured since we didn't have a spare we should tow the van back to Pemberton just to be safe. BAD IDEA. The tow driver turned out to be a total melon head, taking corners exceedingly fast and just generally not "knowing his stuff" regarding towing cars. It turned out that he didn't set up the tow contraption adequately and as a result one of our rear tyres dragged on the pavement everytime we went round a corner. The result was one fucked tyre - stripped past the steel in the tyre.

The fucked tyre
Unfortunately we didnt notice the damage had occurred until after the tow truck had left (now getting close to midnight). We managed to get him to come back and he offered to tow us to the nearest tyre store free of charge (nice of him?..!). The nearest store happened to be Squamish - another hour or so's drive away so off we went. We got to experience some more rally driving on the way. I tell you that rally driving in a tow truck towing a heavy van is not fun, especially if you're a passenger. But we made it, and at 4am we said goodbye to our "friend" and managed to get some sleep.

And that's where we are now, Squamish again. No tyre stores are open here on a Sunday so we've had a recovery day and will hopefully get some decent all terrain tyres fitted to our mean machine tomorrow morning before heading to Vancouver Island to stay with some family over there. Maybe some fishing over there - saweet!

Good adventures so far though, good fun.

Also, check out Chris's blog:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

70's, rafting & 4wd mix

We've had a pretty classic last couple of weeks up here. Chris has managed to document some of the best action on his site at:

It's well worth a look. Probably about 2 weeks left of rafting work here before heading back on the road throughout BC & eventually looking for jobs to get us through the winter.

Saweet. Shaun

Monday, September 1, 2008

Unplanned plans

Sometimes you are pulled out of dream land to an intrusive alarm only to snuggle into the blankets and doze off with dreams of the days planned missions playing in your head. This never seems to last long because your brain soon decides that dragging your sorry ass out of your cozy bed and actually partaking in your adventure is infinately better than dreaming about it.

And so it was on Saturday. It wasn't long before I had everything packed up and ready to go; then just as I was finishing breakfast and about to head out the door snowboarding and overnight gear in tow Rach decided to vacate her cozy bed and do something for the day. It wasn't long before we had formulated a new plan, a plan that infact involved very little planning and even less of an actual plan. None the less we packed the car full of stuff, anything that crossed our mind could come in handy given we didn't really know how long, how far, what direction or for what purpose we were going, and hit the road out of chch. A quick stop in at work (to use the internet - we are not that suffisticated at home yet) to check the weather across the island set our compass bearing for us - sunshine (south).

And so we spent the day road tripping, following the sun, taking random photos, stopping where ever we felt like stoppping - coz it's not like we were actually trying to get anywhere and eventually we found ourselves in Tekapo with some rather expensive and rather delicously evil vanilla bean fudge which we had aquired along the way. We found oursleves a place to stay for the night and headed off into the sunset to take a few photos.

Mountains Every Which Way!

Our enthusiasium for photo taking carried on well into the evening and had us up again at 6 am to head further in the general direction of south to catch the sunrise.

Lets just say NZ treated us to another magnificent day.........