Whipsaw Trail

CanadaPosted by Espen Tue, August 31, 2010 00:51:02


After enjoying city life the last few days, we got back on the road and headed east. Wanted to spend a little more time in Canada, so we drove towards Okanagan, The Rockies, and a possible detour to check out dino-land in Drumheller. But first: The Whipsaw Trail!

This is a nice offroad trail south east in British Columbia that starts and ends near Princeton. The circuit is about 85 kilometers, and of these, about 25-30 kilometers are slow, slow and slow. Not a very technical trail (at least not when it is dry, it hadn’t rained for two weeks when we were there), but a LSD or a locker is nice to have. We spent two days on the trail, and we didn’t see a soul…

The first part of the trail is a forest service road that takes you up along the Whipsaw Creek. You start at just over 800 meters above sea level, and this road takes you all the way up to the alpine meadows at almost 1900 meters. Fantastic views!

From here the road gets gradually worse. Not difficult, but with a heavy car filled up with touring and camping gear it doesn’t allow you to go very fast.

Some places you need to crawl up a ledge or two. Passed all but two without using any locker. I guess you don’t need a locker if you bother to back up a meter or so and give it some more throttle, but as we like it nice and slow I engaged low range and a locker a crawled up. The last of these was Falcon Hill. The trail was very dry the days we were there, and I would guess that this trail can be quite a bit more challenging when wet.

Malin clears out a different kind of obstacle..

Lined up for this little hill, but without lockers engaged and with 25 psi in the rear tires. The front end came dangerously high when the tires lost friction, so I left it at that and drove around. Had some regrets afterwards, it wasn’t THAT steep… But I do notice that we have a LOT of weight far back in the vehicle. Imagine a line through the center of the rear wheel and straight up. A 145 liter fuel tank, full size 35” spare, jerry cans, high-lift, and most of the stuff in the cargo area in the car (our cargo barrier is set up between the rear door window and the rear window), are all ending up “behind” the rear axle when it gets steep. And if that isn’t enough, there is also the roof top tent and a steel roof rack. No wonder the front end feels light. If we add another fuel tank it will definitely be placed between the axles, and I would like to see the water tank(s) there as well.

First “proper” obstacle: Falcon Hill (search youtube!) This hill is STEEP. Lots of loose rocks, and it looked as some has been struggling a bit… Engaged rear locker and crawled up. No problems, but I think I would have had significant pulse if the rocks had been wet…

Camp! Since a grizzly scared us away from a camp in a previous post we have tried to be a little more “bear aware”, and when we camp in areas where we believe there are bears we try to cook and eat away from the tent. This is up at about 1800 meters, and the as the forest is not so dense, we had great views from the tent in the morning!

Considering the jerry-can-carrier-f..-up-risk…

The last “proper” obstacle is The Ditch. This would normally be the most difficult part (I’ve read) as it is a steep (but short) climb out of a mud pit. However, when we drove through the trail, it hadn’t rained for more than two weeks and The Ditch was pretty much dried out. Cruised right through it without even thinking about lockers, and for a little while we actually discussed if we had got to the right place yet.

From here the road gradually improved, and the trail eventually ends on a logging road that take you back to Coalmont a couple of miles north of Princeton. And now we drive towards Okanagan for sun and wine!


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