Heli Trip and Ski Touring in Joffre Lakes

I’ve been looking forward to this!

I’ve wanted to do this for ages! Helicopter trip in to the back country!!!

My friend Stephen organised this for the Hiking Family (which is the name we’ve given to the hikers I’ve been going with all year). We headed to Squamish the night before and crashed at his place, great cooking and banter! Then at a leisurely 4:30am we headed to Pemberton Airport (more like airstrip) and Blackcomb Aviation.

That’s a Bell 407 if you’re wondering, and I know some of you are!

Now, when you’re getting out of, and back into a helicopter that’s landed/landing in a few feet of snow, firstly it’s not going to shut down, so the rotar blades will be moving at decapitating speeds. But it might go for full disembowlment as when it sinks into the snow, the edges of the rotars might get down to, and I quote, “waist height”. To get round this, you gather in a group on one side, and put your gear and one person retrieves the equipment on the other. You basically stay within 1ft of the skids or nose (never the tail) at all times. The heli will take off while your right next to it, and land right next to you. You’re under the moving rotar blades until it leaves. Great eh!?

OK, so in we jump, and out come the cameras… oh crap! I left my camera in my bag, just had my GoPro!

Fortunately, everyone else had their cameras…

Unfortunately, when we got to Keith’s Hut, we found it was full… we had left our tents in the car!! Bollocks. We had to take the heli down again, and that’s when it occured to me to use the GoPro

Still, no harm done. We were all pumped, and saw Trevor Linden in the waiting room… Harini and Christina had to promptly hide a cucumber that they were carrying around!

We decided the best thing was to leap in the car and go Ski Touring, so we just headed north to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park by road.

Once we got there we grabbed the skis (I had rented a pair of touring skis and skins from Escape Route in Squamish) and set off into a gorge to the east of Canyoosh Mountain… although none of us bothered to actually check the map I had bought!

Found touring skiing to be great fun, even though I wasn’t used to the skis or the boots, or the depth of pow that we were in (literally feet!). The girls very kindly took a few photos!

Unfortunately, my skiing left a lot to be desired and I kept forgetting to lock my boots in. Skiing with flexible ankles is tricky when you’re not expecting it.

There’s some awesome skiing photos out there of Mark and Stephen, but I’ll have to see if they want them up on here…

Anyway, that evening it didn’t make sense to camp in the snow, so we drove back to Squamish and set up at Paradise Valley, by the river! Such a great spot and completely free. Some friendly folks nearby lent us an axe and some firewood too. Great blazing fire going.

Mark chopping wood like a champ!

Mark chopping wood like a champ!

Hannah tried out a Military MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat) that we had bought from MealKitSupply.com at the Vancouver Outdoor & Adventure Show earlier that month. This is a complete meal, with a water activated heater pouch, that produces a hot meal in about 10 minutes with no need to carry a cooker. Everything is included:

  • Vegetable Lasange
  • Zapplesauce
  • Fudge Brownie
  • Wheat Snack Bread and Strawberry Jam
  • Orange Electrolite Drink
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee
  • Spoon
  • Sugar
  • Creamer
  • Towelette
  • Salt & Pepper & Tabasco
Hannah's MRE

The MRE main course being heated in the heater pouch, with a stone to increase the heat transfer

Hannah liked it and I had a bite which I thought was pretty tasty. However, I did think the whole kit was heavy compared to freeze dried food, stove, gas, pans and water…

The next morning we were planning on touring again, but everyone woke up feeling rough so we canned that idea. I was virtually hacking up a lung!

A great breakfast at Zephyr Café! Quinoa was excellent!

However, on the way, Hannah’s water pump in her Jeep blew up! We had to be retrieved from the side of the Sea to Sky Highway.

Great weekend!

Some of the photos above were taken by Mark, Hannah, Harini, Stephen or Christina, although we are not certain exactly who in some cases. Thanks and full credit to them!