Archive:4july2009 alcoholic

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Veenstra's Semi-Alcoholic Traverse


Message Board


The past couple summers I've been leading "beginner-friendly, but not easy" traverses. The idea is to do something interesting and hard enough that you feel you've accomplished something, but not so interesting or hard that you actually perish.

If you've been on a few trips, perhaps nothing too serious, but are reasonably fit (or at least very tough), own (or can borrow - maybe from the club) the gear you need and are looking for a challenge this is the trip for you. If you're wondering whether or not this is the trip for you, go ahead and email Veenstra or post on the message board. The idea is for the trip to be pretty cool without requiring any special skills (maybe you'll even get a chance to learn, or at least find out about, some of these special skills).

It's beginner friendly, but as stated above that doesn't mean easy. It means you might suffer a bit, but I'll try very hard to make sure you survive and guarantee that you'll enjoy it (although maybe only in retrospect). Packing light will help.

Ok, real synopsis

The plan is to do the "Alcoholic Traverse", almost. What's nominally called the alcoholic traverse is going from Mt. Brew (where the VOC build their Brew Hut) to Brandywine (where, legend has it, some railroad workers bet a bottle of Brandy against a bottle of Wine over the height of the nearby Brandywine Falls). This is normally considered a 3 day traverse. We're going to cut out Mt. Brew and instead traverse from Brandywine to Cypress (which is across the valley from Brew) which should bring it within weekend range. Besides - the views from Cypress will be better anyway, and this follows what most would consider the main divide if it wasn't for the names.

The views will be great - there'll be views of Cayley, the Ashlu-Elaho divide as well as Garibaldi Park. There'll be the opportunity for two summits - Brandywine and Cypress, both of which are rated at three star scrambles in Matt Gunn's book (and that's the most you can get!).

Both days should be around 1500m elevation gain and 10-15km of hiking.


Trip: July 4-5 Early Saturday morning to late Sunday night, weather dependant.

Pre-trip meeting: Tuesday June 30 in the clubroom at 7:00. Not mandatory if you know what you're doing - but if I haven't communicated with you (in person, over the phone, email) before the trip meeting I'll assume you're not actually coming. If you can't make it to the meeting let me know, and try to either arrange car/tent/stove (and let me know) on your own or get somebody to represent you at the meeting.

Getting There

All drivers please be heading over the Lions Gate Bridge with all passengers picked up at 7 am. Most cars will rendezvous at the Squamish Tim Hortons.

From there we'll drive together to the Brandywine Trailhead, to avoid getting lost. Note that we are not going to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, although it is close by. From Squamish drive north on highway 99. Turn left off highway 99 at the Callaghan Valley road (exit should have big "snowmobile" sign, as well as signs for Whistler Olympic Park). From the Callaghan road take the first left, less than 1 kilometre up the road, past the Whistler recycling facility, continue past huge snowmobile parking lot and on to the old Brandywine main (you are now following the winter snowmobile trail). After about 4.5km ignore the Brandywine Meadows spur on the right (it is 4wd) then ignore the Brew spur on the left (775m elevation). At 920m elevation is a wide parking area (with toilet and info board) The last hill before the trailhead is reportedly a little bit rough, but still 2wd - you may need to lose some weight by making passengers walk a short distance, or park early. If parking early don't block the road. In case you were wondering, the trail intersects with the 4wd spur road higher up but it's not worth shuttling.

We'll all meet at the trailhead before heading up.


There will still be snow in the mountains, lots of it. Probably enough that if you really really liked skiing you could still use your skis - but the snow should be getting hard by now, so we will be leaving skis and snowshoes behind. Skis and snowshoes are heavy, and we need to be fast and light.

If the weather is sunny it will be hot. All that snow will reflect the sunlight, and we'll be the only things around which don't. Long sleeves are a good idea, to protect you from both the sun and the insects and you could go snow-blind without sunglasses.

Real Essentials

You might not survive without them!

  • sunscreen
  • sun glasses
  • something to protect you from mosquitoes (I like long sleeves and a bug-net, some people like to cover themselves in poison)
  • gaiters and waterproof boots
  • water bottle(s) (at least 1L, 2L is better)

Almost Essentials

People call them essentials, and you should have them, but really you'd probably survive without them.

  • headlamp and batteries
  • sun hat
  • backpack
  • whistle
  • Toilet Paper (natural substitutes may be available)
  • Poo bags (provided at pre-trip meeting)
  • Slightly tougher bag to put your full poo bags in (not provided by VOC)

Probably worth it

  • map
  • compass
  • pocket knife
  • lighter and/or waterproof matches
  • first aid kit (really you probably just need moleskin to treat your foot blisters)
  • bear spray


  • waterproof boots with a stiff sole
  • gaiters (already under absolute essentials)
  • warm jacket (fleece or down)
  • long underwear (top and bottom)
  • toque, mitts/gloves
  • weatherproof (and bug-proof!) jacket (goretex or coated nylon or softshell/wool if sunny)
  • weatherproof (and bug-proof!) pants (goretex or coated nylon or softshell/wool if sunny)


Don't bring really smelly food in the summer, it attracts bears. The general rule is 1kg of dry food per day is plenty (usually this is 200g breakfast, 500g lunch, 300g dinner. If you're food comes with water-weight included [it's not dehydrated] then you'll need more).

  • Lunch and snacks x2
  • Breakfast x1
  • Dinner x1 (shared with your food group)


  • sleeping bag (somewhere around -3C to 0C bag should do)
  • sleeping pad
  • ear plugs, because somebody will snore (optional)

Shared stuff:

  • tent (or space in someone else's!)
  • shovel (we'll almost certainly be camped on snow, and they're useful to have around to level your tent-spot, but we need even less shovels than tents)

Cooking and Eating

You need these all to yourself:

  • Toothbrush
  • bowl, spoon (doesn't have to be complicated - could even be a plastic margarine container)

These things you can share with a friend:

  • stove + fuel + fire (don't need much fuel - 100mL per person is fine)
  • pot and matching pot gripper
  • somewhere bear-proof to store your food
  • water treatment


The clubroom has all this stuff, you can borrow it!

  • Helmets (there are a lot of us, and we'll really try not to hit each other with rocks, but with a group this size helmets are a good idea)
  • Ski poles (when walking on snow they are really useful for keeping your balance)
  • Ski poles (did I mention ski poles twice? That's because it is actually important that you be able to keep your balance on steep snowy slopes, and poles really help)

You may have noticed that there's no ice axes on the list... the current plan is to avoid scary terrain so we don't need to bring these heavy things, and to turn around if we can't proceed without them. We'll talk about it at the trip meeting.

Stuff you may think you need, but don't

This is the sort of stuff that people often show up with, but isn't worth it. Remember, this is a challenging trip so think carefully about any extra weight...

  • Extra pairs of shorts/pants/shirt/boots/whatever

If you can't picture yourself wearing all your clothes at the same time you're bringing too much clothes. If you're worried that something will get wet, then bring a version which is fast-drying (ie - no cotton anything). Choose between shorts and pants, don't bring both. A second pair of socks is a possible exception... and if you're going to bring secondary footware for camp make sure it's really lightweight. If you're worried about being cold bring an extra toque.

  • Bathing suit

If you're going to swim, you can do it the way nature intended, it's lighter and more fun. Underwear works ok too.

  • Towel(s)

They're way heavy, and if you get soaked your towel probably will too.

  • Fancy weirdo toiletry stuff

You know, stuff other than toothpaste (even toothpaste you don't really need for just the weekend)

  • Homework

You won't have time, and books are heavy

  • Pillow

I'm sure you can find something you already carrying anyway which works, maybe your jacket?

  • Smelly food

Leave that roast chicken at home, or pack it scent proof...


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This is the sign up and organization page for an old trip. It already happened on 4-7-2009. Please do not sign up for it.

On the trip

Try and pick cars close to where you live, if possible

Veenstramobile (meeting Paul's car and Slobadovmobile at the church in N van at 6am)

  1. Veenstra
  2. Line

Bob's car (sits 4, pick up around Fairview or Kits)

  1. Bob
  2. Greta
  3. Nick Chng

Adam Palmblad (car, 5 seats)

  1. Adam
  2. Ignacio
  3. Pascale
  4. Tom H-up
  5. Jirina H-up

ScottsCar (TM)

  1. Scott Webster (car for 4)
  2. Anne Webster
  3. Jill Kennedy
  4. Noriko Okamoto


  1. Paul Lanfranchi (car for 4)
  2. Nick Matwyuk
  3. Ankur Gupta
  4. Anil Kumar


  1. Stephanie Schmitt (car, seats 5)
  2. Sam Mason (car for 4)
  3. Veronika Schmitt
  4. Jack Montpellier

Not My Carmobile

  1. ileana (cannot come to meeting on tues)
  2. Maria Athie
  3. Fiona
  4. Juan
  5. Enrique


  1. Ilia Slobodov (car, 4 passengers max)
  2. Lisa Pittl
  3. François Mettra

Unknown, didn't show up to trip meeting, left for dead

  1. Allison Boothe (interested - not sure about coming till work stuff gets sorted!)
  2. Maria M. (maybe have car, will know 1 week ahead of time)
  3. Eddie R.
  4. Andrew Gertge (House-sitting, may not be able to attend Tues. meeting)