Category Archives: Hikes

Up the Duffey

Mountain Range SGD

One of my favourite things about living in the Whistler area is the fact that it only takes about 20 minutes drive to get away from the crowds.  Don’t get me wrong, Whistler is awesome.  It’s a lot of fun with an incredible amount of things to do in some of the best scenery around but lets not kid ourselves, it can get crowded.  That’s where a short sneaky drive north comes in handy.

Darkside Lake SGD

Down the Valley SGD

A couple of weeks ago we headed into the Duffey Lake area and we were planning to do a bit of a hike and a scramble and then chill out for the night.  There was an old decommissioned road which, fortunately for us, we could drive a decent way up.

Truck deep in scrub

This cut our hiking time down considerably which was good news as it meant we could justify carrying in a couple of extra beers! Crucial! The views were amazing from the get go!

Meadow with a View SGD

Up the Duffey

SC Stream 2 SGD

SC Stream SGD

Darkside Lake Avy Path SGD

Darkside lake Southern View SGD

It also meant we had a bit of extra time to scramble up some scree and see some pretty stunning views high about the lake!

Look across Darkside lake

Look across Darkside lake

It was steep and possibly a little sketchy…

Steep Traverse Darkside Lake SGD

Back at ascent

It was incredible being in such isolated and enormous terrain.

Sunshine Valley SGD

Looming Clouds SGD

During the course of our scramble we dislodged a rock or two and it was impressive and somewhat intimidating to see the path they took down the hill.  Definitely a no fall zone!

DI treads lightly SGD

Benny Traverses SGD

Trundle Time SGD

Scoping out the terrain, I cannot wait to get back here in the winter.  Some excellent skiing to be had, that is for sure!

We had a mixture of weather as well.  Three seasons that day at least.  We had a nice little downpour during dinner.  Gave us a good excuse to have some drinks and then in the early hours of the morning the skies cleared which was perfect!

SC Trees Night SKy SGD

Steep Creek ST SGD copy

An awesome overnight trip!

Darkside Lake & Chutes Pan SGD copy


Callaghan’s Night Sky

Campsite Milky Way

Last Wednesday we decided to take a trip into the Callaghan Valley to a cool little campsite by Callaghan Lake.  We  stopped in at Alexander Falls along the way which is always an impressive sight and then headed up the rough dirt road to the lake.  The road was interesting with some big rocks and huge potholes and ditches to cross.

When we arrived at the lake it was a glorious day.  The campsites are set by the lake, but amongst trees so we set up and then took our chairs down by the lake to relax.  Our sun soaking was foiled by a very rude and large cloud that decided to follow the sun on it’s path towards the mountains.

Naturally, once the sun set, the clouds all disappeared.  Fortunately, this gave me a great opportunity to capture some shots.  I tried playing around by raising the ISO setting on my camera.

Callaghan Lake ST

Let me know what you think!!!!

Tent Fire IG

Hippy Lake

A couple of weeks ago we ventured just south of Whistler to a campsite near Hippy Lake.  The campsite was set right by the Cheakamus River amongst some amazingly tall trees.  It was a full moon which gave an amazing feeling as the glow shone through behind the trees.  It was an absolutely stunning night as you can tell by the shots below.  I also tried a new editing technique which I haven’t quite got dialed but I am working on it!

We arrived in time to attempt some ‘flowing river’ shots…

Cheakamus River flowing

Cheakamus River by Hippy Lake

Cheakamus Blue

Before heading out for some night shots it was time to fire up the charcoal BBQ…



Then it was time for a wander to see what we could produce…

Bungee Bridge Light Show

Bungee light show BH signed

These next photos were taken just before midnight…

Bungee Lake 2330 signed

Lake & Full Moon

Lake, Sparks, Moon & reflection signed

Hut & Moon trial

And finally it was back to the campfire for some rest and honey Jack Daniels…

Shooting a fire

Bungee Bridge Night Sky

Bunge Bridge Last Wednesday was the full moon.  It was an excellent night to go camping as it was warm, dry and incredibly stunning.  We headed to a campsite near Hippy Lake just south of Whistler.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to take a decent star trail as the stars seemed a little faint however, fortunately, it turned out fairly well.

Bungee Bridge Star Trial

Avalanche Operations Level 1: Check

It’s been a truly intense week.  Whistler has been hit with a few great storms.  We have some excellent skiing up there at the moment.  Most of my friends have been out there ‘getting deep’, enjoying the powder.  I have been digging holes!

I walked out my door to this sight on my way to the course

I walked out my door to this sight on my way to the course

I have spent the past seven days on an Operations Level 1 Avalanche course run by the Canadian Avalanche Association.  It was a full on week.  Starting at 8 am every day and usually running until 6 or 7 pm each night.  Most days we went up the hill, did a little ski touring,

Skinning up through the trees near disease ridge

Skinning up through the trees near disease ridge


and spent several hours digging holes,


investigating the layers of Whistler and Blackcomb’s snowpack and taking weather observations.

Observing the weather!

Observing the weather!

It was a terrific week to do this course as we saw a lot of changes in weather and snow conditions.  Although it was hard to be digging holes and not skiing, it was the perfect opportunity to learn a lot of new information from some excellent instructors who have been in the industry for a very long time.

Our only line before digging another hole.  It was a good one though!

Our only line before digging another hole. It was a good one though!

Climbing back up beside our lines

Climbing back up beside our lines

A beautiful day to dig another hole!

A beautiful day to dig another hole!

That's a climbing track, not a skiing line!

That’s a climbing track, not a skiing line!

Sadly not my ski tracks!

Sadly not my ski tracks!


View of Flute from Disease Ridge

View of Flute from Disease Ridge

I look forward to continuing to improve this skills I have gained this week, but first I will go skiing!

All photos taken on my Iphone and uploaded to Instagram.  Feel free to follow me there @jta85

2013 Instagrammed

2013 was an absolutely incredible year for me.

Continued my life in Whistler.

Traveled to Japan to ski for the first time.


The pow was deep in Niseko!

The pow was deep in Niseko!

Started this blog.

A great start to the year saw out the winter season

A great start to the year saw out the winter season


Biked one heck of a lot.





Explored some fantastic alpine hikes and camps around Whistler and Pemberton.





Checked out Quebec City.


Chute Montmorency

Chute Montmorency

Traveled to New Zealand to ski – ended up hiking the whole time.

Sheep like Lake Wanaka too.

Sheep in NZ??

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Visited family and friends in Australia for a few weeks.

Anzac Bridge

Anzac Bridge

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

The old dirt road home!

The old dirt road home!

Ran Sydney’s famous City2Surf.

And they're off!

And they’re off!

Did some more biking and camping in Whistler.

Top of the World

Top of the World

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes



Journeyed to England and Paris to hang out with friends and family once more.

Awaited the ski season to begin which included biking right up until the resort opened and even afterwards.







Played ice hockey…on a frozen lake!

Nita Lake

Nita Lake


Got Festive.




Semaphore Lakes

Lower Smp Lake

Semaphore Lakes.  Wow.  What a place!  Just under a week ago my girlfriend and I headed up to a hike called Semaphore Lakes.  It was an unbelievable day.  September is trying really hard to hang on to summer.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

Semaphore Trail

The trail-head is relatively easy to find.  It is about 50 kilometres beyond Pemberton or roughly an 85 kilometre drive from Whistler.  There is about 23 kilometres of rough forest service road to negotiate so an all wheel drive vehicle is highly recommended.

Semaphore Trail 2

Trail B&W


The hike itself is pretty short.  I think it took us about an hour to hike in.  It is pretty steep most of the way, however it’s over quickly so it’s not to strenuous.  There are some beautiful meadows and little ponds along the way.  Once you get to the first, upper and smaller lake the views open up into an incredible panoramic vista.  Truly stunning for all 360 degrees.

We trekked around a bit, trying to decide on a campsite.  Or rather I wasn’t satisfied anywhere until we found the lower of the lakes and it had an amazing flat spot right next to the lake.

Evening shot

It was a perfectly clear night without a cloud in the sky.  I figured it was as good a chance as any to attempt a couple more star trails.  I am pretty happy with the results.

The moon was an incredible waxing gibbous and was in full view as darkness fell.  With the moon, the stars, a campfire and a flask of Honey Jack Daniels and of course great company, I really couldn’t have wished for a better evening.

Campfire moon

Tent Night Sky

The next morning was just as incredible.  We had tactically (accidentally) set up the tent behind a mountain so the sun didn’t hit it until long after sunrise, which meant a little sleep in as it didn’t get too hot.

Tent Sunrise

Warm Lake

Once we finally left, we powered downhill because we had decided to reward ourselves with a visit to the delicious One Mile Eating House in Pemberton.  It was well worth it!

All in all a fantastic hike and camping trip for the effort required.  One of the easier trips I have done, but still as rewarding as any other.  I would definitely recommend this one.