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Monthly Archives: March 2012

In behind Whistler there is a bit of a secret ski adventure. The Spearhead Traverse isn’t a secret to the locals or coast mountain travelers but a secret to those that come from afar to ski the lifts.

The area is dangerous to skiers that have no backcountry experience. Unpacked steep slopes beckon but have their own secrets. Avalanches are common and happen frequently and without warning and the variety of snow conditions can be a challenge to ski. Wind pack, crust, slop, powder, ice just about everything can happen here, its usually a great 3-4 day trip but has been done in less by people that have usually skied it before.


And it’s great to sleep in the alpine open above 2000m and just roll over and see the sun rise.

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One of the things I really like to do is play with shape and form in nature.

This struck me as being kinda cool snow melting into a tarn. Reflection too. What do you think??

Sun cups are formed by the sun radiation. Sometimes they provide great steps and on those early alpine mornings they freeze so you need crampons. If you look close you can see red algae in the snow its not blood from ski accidents but ….
… Red snow algae is a unicellular, photosynthetic plant which, in the spring, accumulates on the surface and within the upper 20 to 25 cm of old snow. It is concentrated in shallow depressions where its dark colour absorbs solar heat and further deepens the growing “sun cups.” Under a microscope each spherical cell is seen to be about 4 times the size of a human red blood cell. Their thick walls and bright red carotenoid pigment help protect delicate cells from intense ultraviolet radiation.

for more on red algae go here whistlernaturalists.ca are a great group with tonnes of info.

Adventure in the Yukon in Canada’s north. We Mtb -ed a portion of the Canol Road a great trip in wild tundra land with caribou and the Grizzly. Lots of river crossings most shallow. You have to resourceful and independent. Rescue is difficult. A sat phone might be nice … we did not have one. Few people in a vast tundra-ed landscape.

The Canol was put through in 1942 as an access road for an oil pipeline that was barely used. Cost millions of 1942 dollars. There are some remnant leaks and dumps of military vehicles enroute we just about made it half way and the were beset with a broken derailleur.

Germans present Christy Clark with large petition regarding habitat threat commemorating Exxon Valdez disaster.

Does anybody in Canada get it? Countries that have experienced loss of habitat and wild areas (European Countries) want Canada to stand up to the plate and realize that we have profound natural areas full of biotic wonder in need of protection.

Biotic wonders – the Grizzly Bear, The Orca and forest and ocean ecosystems.

It’s interesting that when our provincial and federal governments want to hold a big party they bring Canadian iconography like the Grizzly and the Orca into play. The holographic show for the 2010 Olympics featured these animals.

Yet these governments do very little to protect them. They are only used as representation all is forgotten now that the party is over.

We shoot the Grizzly and in the not to distant past have shot the Orca when they were a perceived threat to salmon stocks.

Ai Weiwei
Famous Chinese artist, known for disturbing the cultural norm of what China is and represents globally.
The government of China fearing this artist, has repeatably detained arrested and manipulated the truth to give credence to his arrests.
The government of China made him disappear for 3 month last year.
They can do that in China if they do not like you and he is famous in the west so his disappearance was questioned.
The less famous would have really been disappeared.
He intones that nations that deal with China ignoring the multitude of human rights issues that exist there are
just as culpable as China itself.

“If you’re dealing with a nation like China and you’re not talking about human rights and judicial justice, then you’re part of the crime,” Ai said in an interview with CBC’s Q cultural affairs show.

Canada bends over backwards to deal with China economically, we support human rights crimes in China and Tibet
for making money. Harper is an economist right? Do you vote? Do you want oil on the west coast of Canada?
Check out the recent CBC radio show Q with Jain Gomeshi for interview win Ai Weiwei it will soon be up as a podcast on itunes
http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2012/03/22/ai-weiwei-q.html?cmp=rss

If you think we have it rough in the west, or if you get peeved in traffic, or have a sore back or whine about expensive gas .

Read this unbelievable account of life in N Korea.

In some countries they don’t get to vote.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/16/escape-north-korea-prison-camp

The light is right this morn so I thought I’d add this silhouette. Transportation is proving to be very important in big cities especially Vancouver and the lower mainland.

We have several problem areas. Access from the Fraser Valley is terrible and will continue to so. We lack transportation that is viable and fast that doesn’t involve internal combustion engines. We are more concerned with twinning road bridges over the Fraser River rather than building rapid transit out to Chilliwack.

We have marginal rapid transit out to Maple Ridge – Mission as well. Maybe that will change one day the airshed will love it and so will commuters stuck in gridlock.

It seems a bit odd but in Eastern Canada today its warm on the west coast its snowing.

So I thought I’d post this contrasting shot today … Manatee echos warmth, the mammal is found in Florida, they may even be a threatened species there I can’t remember. I do remember seeing pictures of them with prop blades etched into their skin. They are slow moving and come to the surface every-once-in-a-while to get air. And get hit by boats towing water skiers
They like warm water

So the Manatee Range in BC west of Pemberton just north of Whistler got its name because a few of the peaks looked like the beasts + the first people that skied into this area named the peaks in the 1960’s had a very cold trip so it may of reminded them of warmer climes.

Coast Mountain explorer John Clarke a modern day John Muir who my friend Lisa Baile is writing a book about ….. was on that trip his first expedition … he went on the trip with one of those old fibre fill/cotton sleeping bags you know the ones with the duck hunters on the flannel interior… and froze his butt off. He said it took him a week to warm up after he came home from the trip.

This photo was from a climbing trip into the area, we used skis to get around notw the suncups. A tarn is a small alpine pond. Note also in the photo where some of the cornices have melted off probably causing avalanches earlier in the season. This area is used by heli-skiers in the winter.

I like the layered feel in this photo. It doesn’t hit right away. The sand has texture, the sky has texture and the water has a mottled texture.

For the right thing.

Sudan poor dying … warlords/president preventing food from arriving. Crisis in the making.

As if Darfur was not enough. I had a conversation earlier today on intervention. Should we in the west intervene or let crimes atrocities occur.

It takes guts to intervene. Change occurs when people act together.

We as Canadians effectively support China and China is preventing positive humanitarian action to occur in both the Sudan and Syria.

The civil war in Syria has gone on for a year now needless atrocities. Slow inaction. China along with Russia vote in the UN against doing the right thing.

It takes guts to do the right thing.

Motives who knows but the two powers are content to let them duke it out. Just saw the Pianist with Adrian Brody, The Russians sat on the the other side of the Vistula River in the winter of 1945 letting the Poles and the Germans in Warsaw duke it out before they crossed later in the spring and repatriated Warsaw, many many died before hand violence and starvation, motive — they weakened both Poles and Germans, assimilated Poland into the eastern Block and over ran the softened German army all the way to Berlin.

http://www.globalnews.ca/george+clooney+released+after+sudanese+embassy+protest+arrest/6442602239/story.html

Nothing like a tropic morns first light to work the angles. What drew me to this was the line of potted cactus around the rim of the pool.

Really like the ochre cast as it reflected the warm light. Everything is juxtaposed by the angularity of the structure. The frame of the cactus and the structure of the building itself.
The sky’s blue gives a nice edge contrast.

Thought I’d brighten up the day with something that foretells the coming of SPRING. Found this graphic tower south of here. Water is a real commodity in the drier countries of the world. Something that is not on most peoples radar. WE turn on a tap and it comes out and clean too. We are so lucky to live in Canada in Most parts of Canada.

However you wouldn’t want to drink the downstream river water that flows north into the Arctic Ocean from the tar sands in Alberta though.You know about the tar sands right? I won’t editorialize though its tempting but we have to keep the day bright.

Spring snow this morn after a howl of a windstorm an explosive deepening low 100km speeds out in the gulf galiano, mayne saltspring got bombed.

What a great wild place. The Vikings first made landfall here via Greenland. Windswept humid alpine.

Its been pretty busy of late. I am back and here are a couple of photos.

I have had an ongoing visual attraction to anomolies in nature. Erratic boulders are so different. They are deposited by glaciers on their retreat.
This one is like an egg erroded by the wind and sea-borne humidity you can see some exfoliation on the surface. Maybe when it exfoliates and cracks something will pop out
and save the planet.

The other I love for its pastel-ness, the softness and the odd wonder of the sand as it comes inland. It might ask a question. The wind is pretty powerful.