Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Aaron's Kokanee Encounter (part 1)

Though you may think that this entry is about a bad experience with a local beer, I assure that it is not. This is the story of my adventure on the Kokanee Glacier near Nelson B.C. My good friend Justin and I packed up our gear and headed for a spot known as "the keyhole." Our objective on this trip is to climb the mountain on the Kokanee beer can, Gray's Mountain. Our adventure began as any good adventure should... in the dark. We planed to spend 2 nights on the glacier, and wanted to beat the heat by getting an early start on Saturday. This meant a late night drive up the 20km dirt road and spending a night sleeping in the parking lot. Good times!This happens to be prime time for mosquitoes in the area and they were out to kill. We finally killed all the ones that got in our tent and turned in for the night.
Next morning, hundreds of the little blood suckers were swarming the outside of our tent! It was retarded. We had a solid breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs, with a bran muffin and some fresh Creston cherries, packed up our stuff and hit the trail.
The following pictures show some of the amazing country we traveled in that day.

(above) Me taking in the view
(below) Justin in his awesome hat

So after about an hour of walking in the trees we reached the alpine meadows, leaving the mosquitoes behind us... but having to deal with the black flies.

The place we were going to spend the next two nights at is called the keyhole. It is this low point on the mountain range that I am pointing at (above). There are 2 basic ways to get to it, the shortest of which is the direct route straight up the slope. This is our choice for sure!
Justin, who has been a mountain guide and has done this trip a few times, tells me here that in trying to get some last minute details for our trip came across a blog where a guy was saying that he was going to train for the next few months to prepare himself for going to the keyhole... I am not impressed by this as I am NOT in great shape. But I am a man, and I will not retreat!

Here is a view I often had... Justin kicking my butt.
I don't think that I mentioned that the route we chose was frigg'n steep!

It just kept going up.
Here I am sucking some serious wind,
and at about this point my legs have started cramping up... only 500 meters to go.

After some severe grunting, and perhaps a little profanity, we reached the top. It was such a relief, and even though my face is saying something completely different, I am ecstatic!

This is going to be home for the next two days

a very humble dwelling.

The floors were uneven and the kitchen was tiny...
but what a view.

After an afternoon nap and some dinner it was time to take my first steps on the glacier.

We hiked to the a near by peak, which only took us about 10 minutes from our camp, and got some new perspective on where we came from that day.
(the lake in this picture is not the one we started from. This is Kokanee lake. Gibson lake, which is where we started is about a 2 hour hike from Kokanee lake.)

I have to point out that this part of the snow shoot that I have circled in red looks a lot like Sherlock Holmes.

Well, it has been a long day for sure, time turn in and get some rest. I am sure that my first time trying to sleep in a bivy will be great...
Stay tuned for part 2