The ChilcotinWilderness is a remote area north of Whistler dominated by high alpine peaks, glaciers, grizzlies and horses. Mountain bikers have also been visiting this area for many years in search of the elusive Chilcotin single track. Historically logging and mining have occurred here since before the 1930’s. Since then efforts have been made to protect this area since it’s a popular horse, hiking and biking area.
Riding here for me has always been a bit of a love hate thing. While the trails are great, the views stunning and the area remote. The climbs are grueling and the lack of oxygen while pushing up the steep slopes is punishing. For some reason I keep coming back. Maybe these pictures will give you an idea why.
For this trip myself, Pat Mulrooney, Zdenek Manhal and Lee Lau flew into Lorna Lake using Tyax Air. This allowed us to base camp here for a few days and do day rides further east then you can normally travel in a day.
Lorna Lake dock.
We flew our gear in one flight, hiked to the end of the lake and set up camp. Flying conditions were perfect and weather looked good.
Our Campsite at the north end of Lorna Lake. Lorna Pass is to the NE and in the background Day one was an exploratory trip to Dorrie Peak. There is no trail, but there is a route.
Riding in the Chilcotins makes you truly understand the difference between a trail and a route as you too will soon find out.
Zdenek on Sluice creek with an unnamed peak in the foreground and Warner Glacier in the background.
The picture below shows a route. We are at the bottom, we have to get to the saddle on lookers left. The map tells us that, hopefully, this is just one wee scramble.
Pat and Zdenek approaching this pleasant ramble
I am looking at the route. If you could see my face you would see an incredulous look.
Zdenek hiking up the route.
Yes, routes can include some intensive bike-a-neering.
We get to the top past this obstacle to find barren landscape and stunning views that seem to go on forever.
Nice thing about some routes is that you can stop on them for much needed soaking in the sun.
Then we continue on this alpine plateau to a saddle that splits Dorrie Ridge and Grant Creek to the north.
Pat on the alpine plateau – no trail in sight. Just a route.
Lee, Pat and Zdenek scramble the ridge to Dorrie Peak while I mellow in the saddle. The views of Warner Ridge and the glacier are enough entertainment for me.
Nicely silhouetted by Warner Glacier.
Did I mention the views? Warner Glacier persists in this wild wilderness.
The pano view from Dorrie Peak; Lee checking out places to ski.
The photographer gets photographed. This was the route that Lee, Pat, Zdenek and Mike took last year out to Big Creek
Pat hiking the descent back to the saddle.
Look at us looking for the route down – so small on picture right!
Lee comments: the way down isn’t complicated. There is no trail so we look for bikeable terrain down Sluice Creek back to Lorna Lake. This actually wasn’t too hard and we did get decent riding down to valley floor. Although this was a good exploratory mission I can’t say that it would be a great bike trail. The prize of this trip would be biking Dorrie Ridge. It would probably be just as easy to get up to Dorrie Ridge by way of Grant Creek and Iron Pass. The scramble up to Dorrie Ridge from the Grant – Dorrie Pass would be pretty difficult with the bikes and there isn’t an easy way off Dorrie Ridge without doing some scree-surfing. All in all – this is a nice hike that’s spoiled by bringing a bike – just my opinion
Lee on the classic Team Ti making our way down the route towards Sluice creek and back to Lorna Lake!
After making most of the way down we continue down the valley.
Looking back from where we came. Can you see our route?