Rockies Summer of 2002



Continuing on from the first part of our trip in Rossland and Nelson, Sharon and I continued on to the area quaintly called the Rocky Mountain Trench. This makes the area sound like a landfill and much worse than it is but it really isn't - trust me. We spend the rest of the day poaching the last camping spot at a provincial camp ground after driving up from Rossland and doing some yodelling practise and wiener schnitzel consumption at the faux-Bavarian town on Kimberly.


The Paradise Mine trail is 47.3km long - which, in the grand scheme of things doesn't seem like a lot does it? Well it begins with a 10% grade climb for about 13km. Ken has already posted a story about this so I will skip the stats other than to say that Ken climbs a freeride hardtail remarkably well.

Initially the prospects looked rather poor for a big alpine style ride. The first bike shop we went to had very poor beta and didn't even have the right map location for the trail. Rob's Bike Shop closer to the centre of town however - the smaller shop - turned out to be friendly and a veritable goldmine of information.

Here is a map of the Paradise Mine route. We start at a forest service road adjacent a creek just short of Panorama - the ski resort - then climb to the saddle and traverse the back side of Mt Bruce and then continue on down to Bruce Creek and finally on to Wilmer to complete the loop

The climbing is vicious and the grade is unrelenting

Seems like the switchbacks keep going on and on. I was very grateful for the shady day as the heat would surely have cooked us like lizards on a rock.

Here we are at a cabin at about the 2200 m mark. This cabin is used by snowmobilers and backcountry skiers who ski the bowls in the background. I think these ramps are launch ramps for snowboards or skis. They jut out into 40 degree talus-covered slopes. I try to persuade Ken that it might not be a good idea to launch them - but oh no, Ken must air everything in sight!

For some reason we must have missed the actual mine. It was a fairly productive mine so it would have been a nice trip through history. Oh well.

Group shot - Ken, Bob, Lee and Sharon

For every up there is a down (unless of course you are a momemtum investor who had memorized DOW 36,000). After finally peaking out on the saddle just west of Bruce none of us had the energy to go peak- bagging.

Here is Bob on the doubletrack downhill. Shortly thereafter we got passed by some guys on motocross bikes. Apparently this is a big ATV and motocross destination tour. The ones we saw gave us the "You rode your bikes up here?" look.

Here I am descending with the peak of Mt Slade in the background

This shows off the vistas quite nicely. We were taking the road at about 60 - 65 kmh and braking to about 40 in the corners. If only the godam views weren't so distracting. Halfway down the road Bob experienced mushy brakes. I explained to him that boiling brake fluid tended to make for mushy brakes!

To be honest - this trail is not for everyone. Perhaps more for the alpinist among us - there is no meaningful singletrack; there is a lot of fast doubletrack descending; a set of waterbar whoop-de-doos; and a long flat fireroad grind out for some 25 kms and then a flat grunt out from Wilmer back to vehicles and coolers full of beer.

However, the feeling I had on the valley floor and looking up some 1300 m to Mt Bruce was very much worth it.


These are a set of gorgeous singletrack trails twisty turny in a banked slalom way that was a joy to ride on the way in and even more a delight to ride on the way out. These trails are out and back. Our plan was to ride until late afternoon until Sharon's little legs blew up then turn back.

There is minimal climbing on this trail. Most of the climbs are short anarobic sprints. There are fantastic views of the Rockies framed by the Toby Creek canyon. One can admire the houses built right to canyon wall and wonder how foundations must cost to pour.

Without further ado here are the pictures.