Canada 2005

Some random photos from my holiday to Canada in Feb 2005.
The grand plan was to start in Toronto then take the sleeper train right across the continent to Vancouver then go into the British Columbia mountains behind whistler and do some climbing.

The first day in Toronto was cold, I have not been anywhere that cold since a frosty job several years ago.  We wandered around a bit looking at the frozen harbor, the view from the CN tower and generally getting chilly.  The streets were oddly empty, we found out why when we discovered the hidden underground city called PATH.  Clearly anyone with the slightest sense avoided the approaching glaciers (only a slight exageration) and stayed underground all winter.  Navigation in the undercity is tough, we had a map and there are 'you are here' signs dotted around but it was always a fluke if we managed to get from A-B without a few random detours.

Toronto - the view from the CN tower
View from the CN Tower

The trip from Toronto to Vancouver was by train on a service called The Canadian.  It was the middle of winter so we were going through an endless landscape of fir and birch trees with frozen lakes and rivers.

The Train
The train



Whistler is not a friendly place for anyone without skis, there seems to be no legitimate way to get to the top of the Musical Bumps ridge by foot or lift unless you are wearing skis.  I eventually had to walk up the ski run because the man at the ski lift said that it is impossible to get off at the top without skis.  When I eventually got to the top it was obvious that it would be trivial - probably easier to walk off than to ski.

Once the irritation and crowds of Whistler was behind us we could head out into the mountains, the scenery was stunning but we were hours behind schedule ( and already tired ) so we were going to be forced to spend the night out on the mountain.  I had not put a tent up in deep snow for years but it was amazing just how familiar it felt to be stamping the snow to make a good hard site then melting snow for water.

Due to my crippling lack of skiing ability (which I am working on fixing) I was trying snowshoes for the first time in my life.  They are not as bad as you might think, they require a slightly odd walking style but in general I managed to keep up with Adrian on his telemarks.  The only unnerving bit is that there are mini crampon style teeth for hard bits surrounded by a wide flat area for soft snow, this works fine unless the surface is hard and lumpy which can cause the teeth to dangle in air as you skid downhill until they engage.

As an alternative to these winter photos look here for some photos of the same area taken in summer a couple of years earlier.  I had never even noticed the runoff stream from the lake by the hut but I must have walked over it many times.

The view from somwhere along the musical bumps
British Columbia

Me with a HEAVY pack slogging through some scenery

The first night we camped in a pass below Flute

Matt below Whirlwind (behind) and Fissile (up the slope)

Adrian near the top of Whirlwind

Matt on the top of Whirlwind just before the weather went bad

Adrian on Whirlwind
Adrian on Whirlwind

Russet Hut below Fissile

Inside Russet Hut

Birds really do sit on ski poles