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Barr Creek bridge upgrade, phase 1 · Sat. Jul. 26th - Sun. Jul. 27th
Warning: This is an old trip - it already happened
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Start: Saturday, Jul. 26th
End: Sunday, Jul. 27th, 10:00 pm
Pre-trip meeting: Wednesday, Jul. 23rd, 7:00 pm
Pre-trip meeting location: clubroom
n December 2003 the Meager Creek bridge was taken out by a debris flow, which blocked access to the traditional trailhead. Since people who were trapped behind the bridge (at the nearby and quite popular hot springs) had to be flown out by helicopter the government took a long time before they finally decided to rebuild the bridge in the fall of 2007. VOCers enjoyed a brief window of being able to visit our hut again, and held the mountaineering camp there in 2008 to celebrate. We were so stoked about it that the hut (or the area around it) was even featured on the cover of the VOCJ for 2 years in a row. However a short time later on September 19, 2009, Capricorn Creek hosted a debris torrent which took out a different bridge again blocking access to the hut and trapping some people on the wrong side of the river. Again the government wasn't really sure if they wanted to restore access to the area, but finally coughed up the cash to rebuild the bridge across Capricorn Creek... rumour has it that they'd just finished and still had construction equipment on site when the 40 million cubic meters of rock - the 2nd largest landslide in Canadian history (well, white-man recorded history) - came roaring down the valley wiping out the bridge, equipment, 6-10 km of roads, and a hell of a lot of trees. I've seen the damage - it is awe inspiring.
This marks the 3rd and final season of trail building on the south side of the valley, assisted by a series of access and activity grants from MEC (4 seasons if you count route finding); with a length of 12.5 km this has been by far the VOC's most major trail building undertaking. The route is brushed and marked all the way to the hut, and the major switchback sections finished. However many tasks remain - mostly good old fashioned hard labour moving dirt to create a footbed along the (substantial) sidehill portions.
Another thing which needs to happen is upgrading the bridge over Barr Creek. There was some discussion last season as to whether or not the two 24 foot painters platforms used as a bridge would survive the winter snow (yes, that is correct - the route contains a ~ 50 foot long bridge over a raging coastal "creek")... would the snow pile up on top, crushing the bridge, or would it sluff off? Would a snow bridge somewhat support the span? In the end we decided to wait and see... now we know the answer is a resounding "sort of". One span survived, the other span was caught up in a snow bridge that formed on a nearby log jam and was partially crushed. Jeff, Nick, Lena and I installed a temporary repair structure onto the damaged section a few weeks ago, but the long-term plan is to add a combination handrail/support structure such that we know the bridge will survive future winters. It will be largely pre-fabricated (and galvanized) in the city, and installed over 2 phases.
In this, the first, stage we will haul concrete, steel, and forms up to the bridge site. This will let us to pour a proper footing for the expansion joint on each side of the bridge and take final measurements so we know the prefabricated support structure will fit. The second stage will happen at a future date, with the structure flown in by helicopter.
What we need is help hauling the materials to the site. Concrete, even if you use local stone, is actaully kind of heavy as it turns out. It also can't be flown in whenever is convienient (ie - cheap) and left on site as it absorbs water and cures. So we're going to carry it. Once the materials are delivered we can split up with some staying on to assist with the concrete and others working on the trail, mostly moving dirt but some other lighter tasks exist as well. It's not far from the bridge site to the hut, so everybody will spend the night there.
This trip is beginner friendly (in the "we will make sure you survive" sense) and a great opportunity to give back to the club, however we do plan on getting work done - if you've never been on a 13km / 1400m overnight hike before then I expect you to be forthcoming about your abilities, experience, and comfort level in addition to being able to follow simple instructions in terms of what to bring/wear. This is not the correct trip on which to discover such follies on your own.
Since this trip is supported by an access grant from MEC gas is paid for, however a small ($5-10) donation to help pay for wear and tear will still be expected from passengers.