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Inspiration alert: expeditions to follow this summer

June 25, 2019

Found in Activities, Stories, Travel and places

Did you know that MEC chooses expeditions to support twice a year? As part of MEC All Out (our community program), we give ambitious members gear and funding to make their wild outdoor adventures a reality.

See where your fellow MEC members are planning to go this summer – it’s pretty inspiring stuff. It might just spark you to try something new yourself, whether it’s an overnight bike trip, a human-powered vacation, or tackling a climbing project you’ve had your eye on.

Of course, if you have a bigger goal in mind, check out our expedition support page. Grant applications are open until August 7, 2019 – we can’t wait to see what members are planning to do next.

IceSend: Iceland by bike

MEC members: Oliver Jorgensen, Kieran Evans, Jalen Sekhon Follow along: @icesend.exp and IceSend on Vimeo

The mission: a bikepacking expedition from the northernmost tip to the southernmost tip of Iceland, on a never-done-before route across the spine of the country. Two members of team IceSend also happen to be MEC staffers, and when they’re not helping members, they’re on their bikes. This team wowed us with their application, and they also ended up getting support through the MEC Adventure Grant with VIMFF – keep an eye out for their presentation on this largely undocumented traverse at next year’s festival.

Some gear going along for the ride:

The Great Coast Mountains Bikepacking Expedition

MEC members: Michael Ford, Alyssa Stapleton, Matthew Janeway Follow along: @mikegoesupanddown and @janesway_

This self-supported, human-powered multi-sport epic is seeking first ascents along a new 1572km predominantly off-road cycling route that spans the entire length of BC’s Coast Mountains. The trio created the expedition with the intention of accessing remote mountain areas while remaining both self-propelled and self-reliant. It’s a novel approach to a climbing expedition, and combines bikepacking, climbing, camping, mountaineering and paddling as they travel from Prince Rupert to Vancouver, while seeking first ascents in the Howson Range, Ts’yl-los Provincial Park, Terrace, Bella Coola and the Sea to Sky region along the way.

In their expedition application, they also noted that, “Bikepacking this route instead of driving will save 588kg of CO2 emissions and allow us to take greater environmental responsibility for the landscapes we intend to explore.” Along the journey, they’ll cross three of the four road access points through the Coast Mountains to the ocean, traverse two dirt road mountain passes above 1200m, and packraft across the Nechako Reservoir.

Outside Passage Paddle

Kayaker on west coast smiling at the camera

MEC members: Owen Enright, Andrew Green, Gordon Kerslake, Arden Schiller, Alex Morrow

This team of seasoned paddlers plans to travel from Alaska to southern Vancouver Island entirely self-powered by sea kayak. Although most paddlers would complete this trip by travelling through the Inside Passage, they aim to paddle the entirety of the coast on the outside passage. This route ups the ante – they’ll be dealing with rugged coastlines that are exposed to extreme weather, have few landing spots, and require surf landings at most beaches. The team will be completely self-sufficient, and will fish and forage to help supplement their food rations.

While there’s no Instagram account to follow for this one, it’s a good reminder that this is prime paddling season. Always wanted to try kayaking? See what paddling events are happening near you.

Some gear going along for the journey:

Fellowship of the Klite

MEC members: Travis Foster and Drew Leiterman Follow along: @drewmagoo66

The objective: three granite spires that rise like gothic cathedrals out of the remote Klite basin in BC. This area’s been whispered about for many years, but surprisingly has still gone untouched. In their own words, Travis and Drew said:

“The southeast buttress of Klite, at 1400m from base to summit, would be a world-class objective in any location around the globe. Complemented by the central spire and eastern spire at 1200m and 1000m vertical relief respectively, this is a truly remarkable location. To quote John Clarke, ‘Klite Peak is a triumph of granite architecture. The appalling looking southeast buttress is a classic and will be climbed someday.’ These are no light words coming from John Clarke, and still the call has yet to be answered.

The north-facing walls climbing out of Klite basin are serious objectives in their own right. John Baldwin said, ‘The narrow ridge is wild alpine granite dropping over 1000m on both sides.’ To think that coming to the headwaters of the Klite River will be almost synonymous to the first climbers visiting Sam Ford Fjord is really quite a dizzying notion. It honestly feels to good to be true – but then again, so did the Daniels River Valley…” (The Daniels River Valley was one of their previous climbing expeditions, shown in the photo at the top.)

Some gear going along for the climb:

Climber leading route in a full deluge of rain

Travis in the MEC Synergy Jacket as he leads Thunder Corner on their previous expedition, where it rained four out of nine days on the wall. “It kept me dry and more than that, its 70-denier face fabric held up against all sorts of crazy chimney stemming abrasion,” he said in his review. Photo: Drew Leiterman

The Great Trail on foot

MEC member: Bonnie Thornbury Follow along: @bonnbury

Bonnie grew up in a bush town of 200 people. As a queer non-binary person, they found solace in the outdoors and have trekked and travelled in over 30 countries. The plan for this journey? A six-month walk across Canada via the Great Trail (formerly known as the Trans-Canada Trail) from west to east. This 5000km trip is as much about the epic challenge of self-propelled transportation and uninterrupted nature as it is about reconnecting with Canada.

In their words, “Like many folks, I’ve struggled with what it means to be Canadian in recent years: How do we tap into our greatest gift – this unimaginably vast and varied land – while acknowledging the hard truths of our nation’s past, and actively show up for reconciliation? How do we make space for new Canadians and new imaginings of Canada? How do we celebrate our incredible diversity while creating connections and community across a land as enormous and spread out as ours? I can’t think of a better way to fall back in love – and inspire others to fall in love with our country and each other – than setting out on foot, taking in the experiences and encounters, and sharing them with the world.”

Some gear trekking across Canada with Bonnie:

K2 southeast face: new route attempt

K2 mountain peak, second highest peak in the world, Karakoram range, Pakistan, Asia

MEC member: MEC Ambassador Louis Rousseau

K2, the Savage Mountain, is a massive summit of the Karakoram. At 8611m, it’s the second highest peak in the world. No routes on K2 have been ascended in pure alpine-style. Louis’ team’s proposed route will start from the base of the southeast face and go directly up an untouched buttress: the southeast buttress. “This southeast buttress is an amazing objective,” Louis noted in his expedition application, “The steep and highly technical character of this southeast buttress offer good opportunities for a major new alpine style ascent.” The line would take them on a highly technical mixed ground and a crux section below 7000m. Opening a new route, in a clean single push, will be a significant and bold alpinism achievement. While there’s no Instagram account for this attempt, we’ll be watching for his trip report to come in.

Gear Louis ordered before he left for K2:

Top photo: Travis Foster on the summit of Super Unknown, part of their 2018 climbing expedition to the Big Wall Belt in the Daniels River Valley near Powell River, BC. Photo: Drew Leiterman

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