It’s Monday at 10:00 am and I just got up. My body is screaming – which is a good sign. It tells me I have been on an adventure this weekend; that I have pushed myself to new limits. Even though my body is tired, I feel great!
This trip was a lady’s only backcountry ski trip to Sphinx Hut, Garibaldi lake for one night. It involved 7 hardcore girls, 21 km one way, 1000 m elevation gain and sticky, heavy snow. I would say that this had been more of a regular trip if it wasn’t for the lake. Yes, that lake. No one who wasn’t there will ever understand just how much willpower it took to cross that *** lake that night.
But there’s another reason why this trip was not only special but also important, for me and I believe for the VOC as well. I can’t speak for all women or about all men. I only speak from my own experience (which just happens to be very similar to so many other stories from girls I talked to).
Here is why: Both random men I encountered and men in my life just love to tell my how to do stuff in the backcountry. I know most people just want to be nice, but let me tell you this: every time you tell me how to take up my heel raiser you are only telling my that I am wrong and that you know better than me. You are in fact stronger, more experienced and better suited for backcountry adventures than I am – you are a man. Even though this might not be what you wanted to say, when I have been told how to use my heel raiser from hundred different men – that’s what I hear. Most of the time I will answer nicely: “oh thank you, that is better”. Because it’s just easier that way – I can’t fight for my integrity every time. I pick my fights carefully.
That is why I was so excited to just have a break from all that and meet some cool girls to ski with! I needed this trip to know that I am experienced, hardcore and cool – no matter what random men tell me. VOC needs women that knows this. Women that can push the club forward both in the backcountry and in the club room.
So if you are a man that do sometimes give helping comments to women out in the backcountry (or anywhere really), could you do me a favour and next time before you speak, think about if your comment is necessary – How much will it actually help? Only speaking for myself: if I forget how to use my heel raiser I will ask you – I promise.
Backing up to Saturday morning; feeling stoked! And a bit nervous, because on the pre-meeting we decided that because of the bad avy conditions we might as well do a longer hut hike, knowing that we wouldn’t ski much anyway. So we were up for a rough 15 km(turned out to be more) and 1000 m elevation. I had only done that kind of elevation gain once before to Lizzie hut – and God that logging road just never ended. After meeting up the others I forgot about the km’s and the meter’s, we were a great team! At 9:30 we were on our way.
Up up up it goes towards Garibaldi lake. Coming up to the first little lake everything went smooth. Coming to the next little lake someone questioned if the trail usually pass that lake, but because the skin tracks were clear we all just followed them without further questioning. Coming towards the creek the forest gets more dense and the terrain steep. The skin track was no longer easy to follow. We asked what idiot made those tracks and started to fight our way up and back to the trail.
Emily:“I didn’t think it was possible to get lost to Garibaldi lake”
Joane: “We are not lost. I know exactly where we are”
Well, lost or not, we got back to the real trail and up to the lake at sunset. We needed to catch our breath and get our head lamps out. No one felt too exhausted after the climb and everyone was feeling good knowing that we only had the easiest bit to go, just straight across the lake. Looking back at it, the word “Easy” should not be in the same sentence as crossing Garibaldi lake that night. When we started skiing across the lake it was 5:30 ish and soon pitch black. The snow was wet and heavy. It sticked under our skis so that we in every step carried some extra 10kg or so. Afterwards we joked about how many tonnes of snow we had carried over that *** lake.
It is a unique feeling, being out on a lake in the middle of nowhere, it’s pitch black around you, no stars, all you see is the small area that your headlamp lights up. Don’t know how far you have left or how long you have gone. I kept my eyes fixating on the end tips of the skis in front of my, moving when they were moving. One step at the time, legs burning. Only knowing that I have to keep going. I’m so thankful for our group, that kept up the spirit a cross the lake. For Emma, Emliy and Ragna who kept playing games and telling stories, making my thoughts focused on something else other than my tired legs.
Up in the cozy hut we shared food, wine and New Year’s resolutions. Next morning we started our way back down. No time for any turns.
The lake was awful this time as well. But not just as awful as in the dark. When it was time to take skins off and ski down my legs were done. There was no strength left and I had real trouble standing up going down the narrow trail to the parking lot. As the last person to get down, the other’s welcomed me with cheers and water.
This was outstandingly the best VOC trip for me so far. And the most challenging. Thank you Emily and Joane for organizing. Thanks to all that came and made this adventure a great experience!