By Ambassador Matt Harris
During this time spent close to home there are places that hang on the bucket list. Normally these hide in the shadows of grander, further a field dreams. This year it all seemed to line up. This is a wee tale of an alpine adventure right out the back door.
The idea was to attempt to access a common heli bump in the sea to sky area, under our own power, call it a day mission and go door to door. A few friends had asked me to join them on this but as an overnighter a couple years back, however timing was not on my side. This year however things started to line up. We decided to make it a day mission and go for it. The word was out, I rallied a few like-minded folk, the kind who were keen for a good old fashioned coastal bushwack, starting in the dark with a small chance of uncertainty. Seems good huh?
6am on the pedals and out the door…Just enough time to sink a coffee and load the hip pack with treats and go.
Our route was to meet at mine, head up into the Shannon basin and gain the NE rib of Goat ridge to access Goat ridge trail and into the famed Disneyland zone. An approach which almost never sees a bike coming from this side. Most being dropped via a heli bump much further down the ridge. This route has sections of 4th class climbing and some seriously exposed side hill bushwhacking that holds the access and keeps most away. Our hopes were to link it all up.
I have spent plenty of time in the hills with the keeners who came to suffer. We all kind of secretly live for this style of adventure. Tim had been for this ride before, joining friends who linked it up possibly for the first time as an overnighter. He said he would never do it again but here he was, lured with the idea of a day push, Milkshakes and the shortening days that would soon be upon us. Max and Simon made up the rest. Two kiwis, One Scot and a lone Canadian.
Access to the saddle was pleasant climbing and made for a good yarn. The middle section to gain the NE rib of Goat was slow going, thick and technical. Teetering on type two fun but just enough to keep it together. Once we had bashed our way out of the thickness and were sitting on top it all made sense again.
From here it was all worth it! Some rad alpine gained from home (5.2km as the crow flies) Some of the best single track and stunning backdrop to boot. As we wound our way down the ridge past stunning granite and snowy patches. Catching a nice dip in one of the many alpine tarns. After the much needed reset and turns getting better and better we pushed on. Stoke was high and milkshakes on the Horizon we kept her pinned.
Once out from the woods we stopped in at the iconic Mountain Woman for a cheeky milkshake and chill before climbing back up and over the 99 home. With the day done it seemed rude to ride past the neighbourhood pub so we pulled into the Backyard to share tales and sink a couple cold ones over a burger. Empty legs and full souls.
12hrs door to door. 42km. 2000m gained.
Things we learnt:
- Tire plugs are not just for tires
- Sometimes it doesn’t have to be fun to be fun
- Bush: Grade2, BW4+ BA3 / Rock: 4th class / Descent:5+
- pack good treats, have beer waiting.