The off-season is in many ways just as fun as the racing year. For me the off-season means back to school and back to Squamish. As many of you know, Squamish is host to some of the best outdoor recreation in the world. Balancing these opportunities to go outside with school can be challenging at I like to think I’m good at managing my time so that I can perform academically and have fun outside. This year I’ve had the opportunity to do a few firsts for me. In September, I climbed the chief via long-time no see to the butt face with my friend Rowan. Rowan did most of the heavy lifting but I was happy to be along for the ride, topping out on the chief in time to see a beautiful sunset over Squamish.
In October I ran across the Garibaldi Neve with new outdoor focused friend of mine Eric and his friend Kris. At 45km, 2600m elevation this was no walk in the park. It involved complex route finding, glacier travel and two bear encounters. The route goes from Elfin Lakes in Squamish behind the Garibaldi Masif all the way to Garibaldi lake and then down the Rubble Creek trail. It took us 9 hours and gave us some amazing views!
Although I wouldn’t consider myself a runner I thoroughly excursions like this one where you are in an complex alpine environment moving quickly. What a great way to stay fit in the off-season. Balancing this sort of adventure can be challenging, however some forethought and planning can create enough free time for most adventures.
Another recent off-season excursion was an attempt on the Hunt-Kelly route on the North Face of Mt.Garabaldi. Eric suggested the route and I was in. We drove up to the high point on Brohm ridge on Friday night trying to get close to our objective. We found a spot high on the ridge that was protected from the chilling wind and bivied(no tent) under the stars. We awoke at 5am and proceeded to the base of the route. The reason for our early start was to avoid the potential for melting on the route so we could avoid being hit by chunks of ice and rock. We made it to the base of the glacier just as the light started to revel the route. It was hard to tell but it looked as though key sections did not yet have enough snow and ice covered but we proceeded to the base of the route to confirm our suspicions.
Upon getting to the base of the route we both decided that it would not be safe to commit to such a route in the conditions. We knew this was a possibility before setting off, but we got to experience a beautiful sunrise and were rewarded with some glacial bouldering on the decent.
Although there is no bike racing in the off-season I try to other ways to stay fit. This winter I hope to take up skimo racing (backcountry skiing racing) and continue to pursuit the outdoors while balancing my academic performance. While it can be challenging at times to balance my academic goals with my desire to go outside, going back to school in Squamish during my off-season allows me the flexibility and opportunity to do so in my own backyard.