Friday, September 2, 2016

Summitting The Golden Hinde in a Single Day

I had been there before...but had never reached the summit.  My last trip to the Golden Hinde was a 3 day, solo walk-about at a pace designed to clear my mind.  This time, the pace was set to try and get to the summit and back in a single day.  Of course, it had been done before by many adventurous (and impatient) fastpackers.  But, I hadn't ever heard of a woman's single day time...

"Hey!  Wanna go for the Hinde on August 27th?"  

...And so...

Here are my insta snippits from our day on the ridge and our attempt to summit the Golden Hinde via Phillips Ridge in one (brutally) long day.

*Note: This is NOT a trail.  This is a back country route, in very remote and technical terrain, requiring navigation, route finding, climbing and back country travel skills.  There are no signs, no trails and there is no cell service anywhere on this route.  Although we did complete it in a single day, I do not recommend it. We are ultra runners/adventure racers with many years of back country experience and navigation skills as well as previous experience on the route itself.  Kids...don't try this at home;)

Phillips Ridge at Sunrise.  Golden Hinde calling us in the distance.  How long could it take?

On the trail at 3:00am we trekked into the deep dark woods of the Phillips Ridge trailhead to begin our mission to reach the highest peak on Vancouver Island in a single day.  The route to the Golden Hinde begins (and ends) with 3million switchbacks up up up to reach the sub alpine via Arnica Lake.  When we finally broke out of the woods, the stars were shimmering pink and gold against a deep black-purple sky.  Two hours into our trek and a Roy Henry Vickers painting appeared on the horizon.  Up up up we continued our climb to reach Philips Ridge, finally able to turn off our lights three hours into our adventure.  Once on the ridge, the challenge became real as we could see our target in the distance along with every 'bump' that we would need to climb and descend before reaching the summit proper.  Magic light, wild mountains and shared stories are my favourite kind of breakfast and I was filled to the brim that morning alongside my buddy Jen Segger.

The word of the day would be #relentless .  The word of this leg was #anticipation ...

Lake fog rising up from Carter and Schelderup, where we would soon be descending to.  Burman ridge in the distance...and the first glimpse of a special phenomenon on the left...
Clouds taunted us just after sunrise on Philips Ridge.  Rising up from the lakes below and hugging lesser peaks in the distance we willed them to go away.  Rain was forecast for 8pm...would the weatherman be right?  Or would it come early?  We needed good weather to make this summit day happen.  We only had a short window and only this single day all year to make our Golden Hinde dream happen...tic tock tic tock.

A rare Brocken Spectre!  I thought I was an angel for a moment:)
I am Rainbow Queen!  Damn Google.  Burst my rainbow bubble and told me it was a Brocken Spectre;)

Then this ? appeared in the valley fog and all of time stood still.  We didn't know what it was but we knew it was special.  And it seemed to appear just for us.  Rainbows normally mean the storm is passing...right?   #circlerainbow?  A #glory ?  A #brockenspectre ?  Google that!  For a moment I thought I was an angel, with a rainbow halo😂.  Please tell me if you've ever seen one was magic. A special day indeed☺️💜.

Jen's first time seeing the Hinde from Carter Lake.  This was my camp on my solo adventure 2 years prior...a very special spot for me.  Time to scramble around it..
Almost there.  HAHAHA!  The magnificant view of the Hinde from pristine Schelderup Lake.  Time to scramble around this one too... Nothing comes for free on this route, that is for sure. Ever step is bought and paid for.  PC: Jen Segger
 Closer...but still so unbelievably far.  The route to the Golden Hinde is like no other.  Instead of a steady climb to the summit the route tortures you with endless 'bumps' up and down over five thousand metres gain and loss.  Over and over it takes you up to the alpine just to force you back down to the bush for a thrashing again.  For 25kms it seems as if every meter you gain is taken away until you reach the actual summit.  And the evil twist is knowing the entire time that you will have to do it all over again on the way back out.  You really do need a sense of humour to tackle this route, otherwise it will drive you mad.  I love it😜

Schelderup Lake.  I had been here before and I knew about the bumps that still lay ahead.  I think my partner was still in a bit of disbelief at this point. It looks so close!  Onward...

Golden Hinde summit!  Half way!  PC Jen Segger
This.  This is the reason we came here.  This is the moment we pushed onward for ten hours for.  This is why we persevered through a difficult scramble at the edge of our limits.  And this was only half way! Such a fantastic feeling but short lived as we knew that we still needed to get off the summit safely.  This photo does not tell the entire tale of course...nor does it touch the span of emotions we felt in that moment.  Those stories are for another day on the trail... It was the most difficult mountain I've ever climbed.  The Golden Hinde is the real deal.  60kms,+\- 5000m gain and loss and a class 4 climb to the top of the highest point on this sweet Island. Yeeeehaw!

I am proud of us for reaching the summit and for supporting each other the entire way.  Safety first, fun second, speed last.  Strong and steady all day with a snails pace on the summit but we got er done.  Pink high socks and trucker hats and all. 19 hours and 32 minutes of brutal mountain bliss and hopefully I never have to do that again.  Til next time of course😉


Womens FKT?
19 hours 32 minutes.  
10 hours to the summit.

2 Hornby bars
2 Cliff bars 
3 Numa natural chia gels
Sour cream and onion chips
1 entire wheel of Natural Pastures gold medal Camembaert on the summit
Water refills at every lake, countless salt tabs

Icebreaker everything, blown out Speedcross that are in the trash today, ELM trucker hat of course!


Stasher said...

I am still amazed that people like yourself can pull off these crazy one day accomplishments. Well done and I look forward to watching what you can pull off in 2017.

Sarah said...

Hey thanks Stasher! Your comment brought me back here to relive the day- what a wonderful place...a little piece of heaven...can't wait to go baaaaaaaack!