One of the last places I had the pleasure of riding before heading to Spokane, Washington to catch a flight to Washington, DC, was Rossland, British Columbia. When I read the description of the IMBA Epic Seven Summits ride I knew it was for me. WOW this ride was incredible. I can’t think of a legal mountain bike ride anywhere that spends so much time in the alpine zone. One of the only downsides of the ride, besides the fact that it eventually ends, is that it is not a loop. I was lucky enough to have Sharon drop me off at the trailhead at the start and pick me up at the end. Check out the full description from http://www.imba.com/epics/seven-summits-trail-epic. For a lot of riders this thing will take over seven hours from start to finish (the 3 other riders I saw that day finished in 8 hours), although a fast fit rider could probably form an even longer loop in that time rather than doing it a point to point. I was very pleased that I knocked it out in a mere 5.5 hours. Finally my fitness is back again.
There is a truly epic amount of up and down along this trail. It doesn’t actually go directly over most of the summits, but it traverses the face of them very high up and very close to the summit. The trail is so named because it gives easy access to 7 different peaks. The first peak, a big one with a very long climb, saw me at timber line trudging through still present snow drifts.
After a few more sections like this I reached the highest point.
It was a granny gear crawl up to this point but I was quite pleased that I only ended up walking the snowy bits. The cloud cover was thick, it was cold and thunder was rumbling in the distance and I was less than 5 kilometers in. Boy my feet were cold, should have worn the winter shoes. I was gasping for air and the first four kilometers took me close to an hour to cover. There was no turning back though and I was lucky that it did eventually warm up and the clouds did go away. Now I can say in hindsight that my fitness has really come back and it was great that I was riding up in the granny gear and not pushing my bike.
The trail surface is quite varied over its 25 kilometer length. Some parts are punctuated by rocks and have a rough feel and others are wide open and fast moving. The whole ride is just one great view after the next. While the clouds made for lousy photos they did add to the top of the world feeling the ride has.
There are quite a few fast fun downhills that traverse the mountain sides and you can carry a lot of speed despite the exposure.
This shot is a seven shot panorama showing the awesome scenery, and fast flowing trail. Its not all this flowing, they throw in some little rock gardens, talus slopes and very tight switchbacks at regular intervals. Although the first huge climb took a full hour, I rapidly picked up speed and actually had a quite fast ride on the whole. The downside was that I didn’t take very many photos. About four and three quarters of an hour in, I ran out of water. This was somewhere in the vicinity of Mount Record. Good thing it’s mostly down from here. In fact, from here down is what makes slogging over all those mountain passes worth it. The Dewdney trail starts at the official end of the Seven Summits and take you to the much more convenient end point along the highway. This section is a screaming fast fun downhill not to be missed. I think its about 5 kilometers long and it takes about 5 minutes; seriously it’s a fast section.
This was a great day on the bike for sure. I know I should have maybe stopped more to take photos, but it was not a clear morning anyway, so those who want more images should check out the various youtube videos found by searching for Seven Summits trail. A couple of them are pretty good.