How to feel like a beginner and do the neve without hitchhiking or shuttling

With Veenstra doing a fair number of speed traverses I got intrigued. We did the McBride traverse in less than 48hr which was probably my first foray into this realm. Later on we also did the Pemberton Ice Cap in a day (starting from the Harrison Hut). Since then I haven’t had conditions or timing line up for anything else. So wanting to push myself without getting to crazy terrain (i.e. the McBride for instance) I thought about doing the neve twice.
Conditions and time off lined up this past Friday. I was super stoked but also being realistic I thought I could turn around at any point other than the other trailhead. In the parking lot at ~06:30 I saw a VOC group getting ready for the shuttle. When I got going there was another group getting ready to go. I slipped on Veenstra’s thong skins and set off. The skins took a little while to get used to but turned out to be my secret weapon.
I reached Red Heather in 45min and checked in on some friends of mine but there was no movement or sound from their tent. Off to Elfin I went where the skinny skins were slightly challenging but I persevered. Once around Round Mountain and onto some open firm slopes I was able to get onto my edges and rocket down. This was a revelation. No more decision making about ripping skins or not. I got to Elfin in 1.5hrs. From there I reach the highpoint in 1hr 42min. At that point I had passed 15 people. There were some VOC’ers at the highpoint including Martin. I’ve got to thank them a lot for setting the track. Being able to mindlessly plod through the ring creek area was very welcome.
Peeling the skins from the highpoint was great. I zoomed down to the col after the sharkfin on supportive snow and was able to skate a bit up towards the glacier pikes col. While descending from the glacier pikes col I hollered as I saw two people boot packing up. Everything here was hard packed still and the skiing awesome. With being able to skate the lake I got across in 28min.
At the top of the barrier I saw a snowshoer and asked the time. It was 11:20 so I would not get the FKT of 4:27 set by Nick Elson. I did however have a spark to see how fast I could go as the barrier was probably skiable. I gave’r down the barrier trying to find the least debris’d area to ski. It was not elegant but I zoomed down and skied as far as the snow would let me before shoving the skis between my back and backpack. The bootpack wasn’t that long but it is steep. When I got to the trail I ran (boots still in ski mode) to the trailhead. My GPS said 5:02. No FKT but a personal record for me (shaved 3hrs off of my previous one). Also faster than Eric Carter’s 5:29.
I took a decent break while in cell service to chat, eat, and drink before heading up again. Before starting the hike I put in my earbuds and realized that my ipod shuffle just had Gojira. Well I would get intimate with them for the next while haha. It was peaceful going up through the old growth forest. Once on skis I got too ambitious and deked off of the trail past lesser Garibaldi Lake and ended up in some isothermal mush and thick trees with a raging creek below. I put skins on and got back on the trail. No shortcut… I refilled with water at the Garibaldi Lake outlet. There was a slight breeze so warmth was never an issue which was great as I didn’t have to worry about my water supply of 1.5L. Once on the lake I knew it was going to be a slog as I was breaking trail in other people’s tracks. It took me twice as long (1hr) to cross. After that I went to check in on the Glaciology Huts as Nick had left his fairshare there. The big one was filled in with snow so I couldn’t open the door. I checked the small one to no avail. Now to start the trail breaking. I ran into some guides as I was gliding slowly down to the base of the sharks fin and then was on a skin track for the rest of the time.
I reached Ring Creek as it was starting to set up so my timing was great. While going up I also encountered the group I had past in the morning when I went down to Sentinel Bay. There was also a group I had past on their way to Garibaldi. The slog from Elfin out was tough. The views though were spectacular with an amazing sunset. At the highpoint on Round Mountain I peeled my skins and put on my toque and wind jacket for the first time of the day. There was some survival skiing until I passed Red Heather where I had a most enjoyable fast ski out on the groomed track. Definitely a highlight of the trip haha. While in the parking lot a vehicle came in with two guys I had passed on the trip. I first passed them on the way to Elfin and then the next time on the Lake.
It was a great trip with awesome weather. I wanted to see how I’d be able to manage and feel pretty good. Today (and for the second half) my legs are sore but not terribly so. It is fun to push yourself and see what you can do.
I drank maybe 4.5L of water.
Food eaten:
Clif Shot Bloks 60g
Sport Beans 10g
Vegan Sport Endurance Gel – 45g
2 starbursts
Gu 32g
Gu 32g
Gu Rocktane 32g
Gu Chews 54g
3x merci chocolates (~10g)
Gu Brew electrolyte drink tab
Mars Bar 13g
Clif Bar 68g
Honey Stinger Chews 50g
Trailmix (chickpea snacks, raisins, dates) 362g
Random stats:
~80km distance
~3800m elevation gained
Total time: 13hrs 40min
My GPS says I hit 85km/h somewhere on the highpoint down to the lake, that seems crazy and probably exagerrated a bit. I was flying though.
Avg speed of 7.3km/h on way in with 4:37 moving time.
Again, thanks to Veenstra for letting me borrow the skins and for Martin and the others I passed for setting the track to the highpoint!
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3 Responses to How to feel like a beginner and do the neve without hitchhiking or shuttling

  1. Lea Zhecheva says:

    When you said you did it in 5 hours, I was like WOAH, but I didn’t know you did it TWICE Nick, oh my god!! Super impressive and awesome!!

  2. Lianne Mcradu says:

    How did you have that much food and water on you?! Especially the water. You had the smallest pouch on you when we saw you in the parking lot.

  3. Elliott Skierszkan says:

    Ha ha! We laughed after we saw you at the high point, ripped our skins, finished our snacks, down at our ski line and saw you again as a tiny dot at the pass below Glacier Pikes. We laughed again when we saw you coming up the Garibaldi Lake Trail, unexpectedly, for your return trip. You got Martin and I excited enough to challenge ourselves to skate across the lake, which sure did some good work on our cardio. Hats off!

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