Journey to Snow: The Conquest of Whistler Mountain

Saturday, September 11th, 1999: I had the grand urge to hike up Whistler Mountain and touch the last bit of snow that was still lingering at the base of its peak. The peak itself is at 2182 meters so I figure the snow began around the 1900m mark. Starting out at my place, which is around 700m, I took a biking / hiking trail up into the hills...
And so my grand journey begins. With my trusty walking staff in hand (sorry, no pictures of my staff, hard to hold a camera and a stick at the same time) I set off up the steep path. Here I am at a little bridge just a short ways up the trail.

There were a few sections where the trail took me into the trees and I lost the view, but for the most part, all you had to do was look over your shoulder and get a perfect view of everything getting smaller and smaller down below. And off to the right, the view of the mountain range kept getting better and better.

Ahh, time to take a bit of a breather. All this climbing is hard work. And of course I didn't think to bring along a water bottle or anything to snack on. True, the trip up is only a few hours, but all that walking makes you very hungry. Any berries around here?
The snow is getting closer. And here is where I made my big mistake. Instead of taking the trail which veered off to the right and supposedly wound its way up to the peak eventually, I decided to make a bee-line for it. Unfortunately, what looked rather flat from a distance ended up being a mess of waist-high bushes, fallen trees, and damp moss. To make things worse, this is where the flies began to  introduce themselves to me.

Having waded through scratchy bushes, performed balancing acts on numerous logs, and fought off legions of persistent flies, I finally neared the top. Gee, you'd never be able to tell from this picture that I'm taking all these self-portraits at arm's length. 

Almost there now. Just a few more steps. If you look closely at this picture, you may notice what appear to be a number of UFOs. It seems that those hungry flies were not too camera shy.

Ahh, a beautiful view from near the top. Looking down on Alta Lake, where I do most of my swimming. Hard to believe I was down there just a couple hours earlier.

Another look down at the valley. In the midst of all these rocks, I found a number of ski poles and even a ski in perfect condition. I wonder how that poor person managed to get down the hill...

And here I am once again, enjoying the gorgeous view and relaxing for a bit. Fortunately, there was a nice breeze up top here that kept all the nasty insects away. Also a nice cold spring which definitely hit the spot.

Ahhh, snow at last. Who says you can't have a snowball fight any time of the year? Now that I was here, I was far too tired to climb any higher, though it was very tempting, considering how close the peak was. I suppose I will have to save that for another day. I had a hard enough time just getting back down. Of course I did take the long way down, following grassy ski trails along the mountainside until they took me into Whistler Village. Hard to believe people will be skiing here in two months.

So long for now. Stay tuned for more of my grand adventures.