2012 - Squamish Scrambler - Year 8

Club Fat Ass Events - Squamish Scrambler Snowshoe Run - 2012

11 February 2012 - 16 Starters

Event Report: The Squamish Scrambler is an event that has been blessed with unusually beautiful clear conditions for February.  As we all know last year was a little bit different with neck deep powder and a blizzard which stopped the entire group before reaching the Elfin Lakes Shelter.

This year conditions were much more favourable for running, although definitely not what you would call clear.

The group assembled at the Tim Hortons, and whoever was so inclined topped off their supplies of caffeine and Tim Bits.  We rendezvoused by the golf course to ditch some extra cars, and headed on to the trailhead.

The road was clear of snow at first, but soon was quite slippery due to freezing overnight conditions.  We went past the chain-up area but soon some of the cars started having traction issues.  Near the parking lot before the steep switchback a couple more vehicles had trouble.

Luckily I had bummed a ride off Jackson, whose Subaru made it up quite handily.  It took a little while to reconvene at the parking lot as some people were now hiking up.  Eventually we had our crew of sixteen together for the starter photo, and were underway.  We had several people on backcountry skis this year, about a third of the group.  

I followed behind the crowd, but was feeling quite energetic at first and struck out in front.  I made myself walk the steeper sections as I know this course can wear on you for a while, it seems like it is all uphill to Elfin Lakes, but once you turn around you start to see things a little differently until the final plunge down from Red Heather.  Ward Beemer was not far behind in his ice spikes which he decided to forgo snowshoes for.

There were lots of people out enjoying the mountains this weekend, and evidently a crush crowd planning on staying the night at Elfin Lakes.  There were many people at Red Heather Cabin and I overtook all the people who started out that morning in the cabin area.  It was quiet and foggy as I made the trudge across the Paul Ridge.

There was a crust that broke quite easily which made it difficult where the trail cut across a slope, which is pretty much the case for most of the trail on the Paul Ridge.  Eventually I reached the first of the series of descents to Elfin Lakes, and knew it wouldn't be too much longer until the turnaround.  Close to the cabin I passed a couple of parties of skiers headed down from a night in the cabin.  

I popped my head in but it was pretty quiet at that point and there seemed to be someone sleeping in there so I split before I woke them up.  I saw Eric near the top of the climbs back up from Elfin Lakes, and then the rest of the crew started coming into view.  The snowshoers overall seemed to have a pretty good lead on the skiers.  

Many people elected to turn back once they reached the top of the Paul Ridge rather than continuing on to the cabin.  With the fog the view didn't change much anyway.

We gathered in the parking lot after then reconvened at the Shady Tree Pub for some grub and drinks.  All in all another beautiful day in the mountains for a bunch of Fat Asses.

Photos:Click on the image below for a slideshow of photos posted so far:


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First Name Last Name Event Points Time
Ryan Ó Maol Chonaire Elfin Lakes - 22km 2+2** 2:59
Suzanne Johnson Elfin Lakes 1 4:20
Julie Flynn Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 4:30
Eric Rannaud Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 4:30
Pat Woods Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 4:35
Ean Jackson Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 4:52
Bill Maurer Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 4:50
John Atwater Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 4:50
Craig Moore Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 5:15
Wade Repta Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 DNS
Reagan White Elfin Lakes - 22km 2 DNS
Glenn Cameron Elfin Lakes - 22km 1  
Andrew Rose Red Heather - 10km 2 2:59
ward beemer Red Heather - 10km 2 ?
John Machray Red Heather - 10km 1 ?
Matt White Custom 1 ?
Jill Warland Custom 1 ?


























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Ean Jackson's picture

Thank you for the Ski Scrambler!

Hey Ryan,

Had a blast!  Thank you for a fine (and full) day of fun in the outdoors.

Here are some of my highlights:

  • getting stoked Friday evening with film and talks about great winter adventures at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival
  • hanging out late Friday evening with you and Andrew.  (You 2 forgot to sign the guest book, BTW)
  • the taste of the Silver Sage vineyards Sunset rose Andrew brought to share
  • early reveille followed by a strong coffee and a short road trip to Squamish.  Would it rain all day?  Would there be sun above the thick fog?  Would we need tire chains to get to the parking lot?  Should I have a double-double with my maple-glazed donut at Tim's?
  • enjoying that coffee and donut as our group slowly took-over the coffee shop
  • the last-minute chaos of car-pooling to the infamous Diamond Head parking lot
  • wondering if Matt and Jill's car would slide backwards into us or make it up the icy-bit
  • wondering if it might have been a better idea to put the chains on as I approached the icy-bit
  • making it to the parking lot
  • after several years of thinking about it and talking about it, finally attempting the Squamish Scrambler with skis and skins.
  • being able to do the 20-odd K Scrambler in my Hawaii shirt
  • how quickly the trek to Red Heather cabin went (almost exactly 1 hour)
  • thinking about Jason (from Florida) and wondering how he would have found this year's adventure compared to last year's 
  • negotiating the icy-bits along the ridge to Elfin cabin
  • getting familiar with how to best approach the downhills with skins in deep snow with the consistency of elephant snot mixed with mashed potatoes and peanut butter
  • planting my face into the deep snow on a downhill with the skins
  • having a brief race with John, who was on snowshoes
  • eating that cheese bagel from Tim's in the Elfin cabin after about 2.5 hours of givin'er
  • the sensation coming from my boots that suggested I should have put some duct tape on my feet and shins earlier this morning
  • ripping the skins off, locking down my heels and being first to ski the elephant snot
  • the sensation of having no mobility in my heels while climbing over a snowdrift
  • alternatively tucking and doing short radius turns as I ripped the 5K descent back to the trailhead
  • getting the boots off
  • the smell in my car
  • the fact that we did not slide into the woods as 4 of us went back down the icy-bit on the road
  • the beautiful waterfall beside the dirt road
  • the gobs of moss that covered some of the trees next to the road
  • the massive count of nachos Eric got at the pub
  • the taste of that Hop Circle IPA and how I might as well have inhaled the pulled-pork sandwich
  • the smell in my car
  • the "ouch" when I took my sox off and looked at what was left of my shins
  • the look on my wife's face when 10 stinky people camped-out in the living room to watch ski porn and clear out my liquor cabinet
  • watching ski videos from the 1930s, 40s and 50s (thx, Jill and Matt!) and comparing to videos of 2012 ski technique

  Good times!


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