Again with the blue skies! Let me tell you something about our camp. It had all the fixings of a really great spot: flat ground, access to a little stream for water, a small horse stabling area, a fire ring, some stumps cut at seat height for sitting. Really no room to complain; but then again if we didn’t complain, what would we have to talk about? So here is the thing about this spot: it didn’t get any morning sun. As a matter of fact while the rest of the valley basked in the clear morning light and warmed in the sun’s radiance our spot was left in a dark, cold shadow. Isn’t it always something?

We dressed, and as we were preparing to depart a small contingent of hikers passed through our camp, letting out a whoop before entering. The group was comprised of four men from the First Nations. We exchanged greetings and they continued hiking, stopping a couple hundred yards past our camp at a small rise where they gathered. Our path took us towards them and when we arrived the two youngest (they appeared to be around 13 or 14) quit wrestling and sat back against a group of saplings, smiling while vigorously chewing gum. Of the remaining two hikers one, one was a man in his late thirties writing in his journal and the other was a 79-year-old badass who had, many years back, lived in this valley. Turns out he was the uncle of the middle aged man and was showing their group the traditional trails and campsites of the area. We had arrived at a monument to the people who had died in Graveyard Valley.

If you search the internet, most sources will tell you that Graveyard Valley is named after a bloody battle between two First Nations tribes, the Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin) and the St’at’imc (Lillooet). While we stood there, shooting the breeze about the weather, our fat bikes, and the spectacular natural surroundings, the young man told us about his people’s version of what happened in Graveyard Valley. “We have our own story, not the one you will find in Tate’s book. It was this valley that the tribes of our region retreated to as smallpox decimated our people. This valley was a refuge, then one night a man with the plague came to the valley and wiped out the people living here. That is why we call it Graveyard Valley.

After this, the conversation returned to more mundane matters, like where our day’s route would take us, did they have a sense of if the weather would change, etc. We shook hands and said our goodbyes. They were the only people we would say that day.

We climbed and descended Elbow Pass, ate lunch at Bear Paw camp and then proceeded to climb Deer Pass.

For the first time, we found ourselves ascending in steep timber. The ground was muddy, slick and soft, coupled with the steep pitch you were forced to either punch your toes into the ground as if climbing in hard snow or lay the whole of your footbed on the ground, evenly applying pressure as your searched for traction. Extended periods of foot placement management rapidly depletes spare energy and the crew was pretty tuckered by the time we reached the top of the pass. We took some photos. Checked our rigs. And then let gravity do the work. The descent was INSANE. Guys, friends, pals: if you like bikes and you have the chance, do the descent from Deer Pass to Trigger Lake, DO THE DESCENT FROM DEER PASS TO TRIGGER LAKE. It’s that good, even if you don’t see any deer. Check the photos, see for yourself.

Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Footcare is essential on any type of backcountry excursion. Just to be clear this is because your feet are kind of what all the walking riding and struggling hinges upon.
Foot care is essential on any type of backcountry excursion. Just to be clear, this is because your feet are kind of what all the walking, riding, and struggling hinges upon.

Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
We could see this trail a long way off and from a distance it appeared to be a 45 degree slash that some marvelous being had put in the mountain. As it turned out it was slightly less than 45 degrees and was most likely put into that mountain by a team of marvelous beings who just wanted to get over the pass. What I am trying to get at is that this trail was steep.

We could see this trail a long way off, and from a distance it appeared to be a 45-degree slash that some marvelous being had put in the mountain. As it turned out, it was slightly less than 45-degrees and was most likely put into that mountain by a team of marvelous beings who just wanted to get over the pass. What I am trying to get at is that this trail was steep.

Apparently a few years back there was a rash of Gravity Yocks Gravity Jocks with a Nohlin-ese accent sending it down these hillsides leaving long skidder lines in their wake. This nearly resulted in the park closing to cyclists. Guys gals if you re going to do skidder lines don t do it in a national park.

Apparently a few years back there was a rash of Gravity Yocks ('Gravity Jocks' with a Nohlin-ese accent) sending it down these hillsides, leaving long skidder lines in their wake. This nearly resulted in the park closing to cyclists. Guys/gals, if you're going to do skidder lines, don't do it in a national park.

Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Stunts.

Stunts.

 In these situations speed is almost always your friend. James Wheelie King Crowe

"In these situations, speed is almost always your friend."—James 'Wheelie King' Crowe

Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
This is one of those I knew I shoulda made dat left toin in Albakoikie moments.

This is one of those, "I knew I ‘shoulda’ made ‘dat' left ‘toin’ in ‘Albakoikie’" moments.

Circling the pit before dropping in.

Circling the pit before dropping in.

Erik employing the Jumar technique of bike hiking. You push the bike up clamp down on the brakes and then use the bike as an anchor point to pull yourself a little further up the mountainside.

Erik employing the "Jumar" technique of bike hiking. You push the bike up, clamp down on the brakes, and then use the bike as an anchor point to pull yourself a little further up the mountainside.

Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Sisyphean.

Sisyphean.

Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
The Deer Pass Deer Report Deers spotted - 0. You know what deer We didn t want to see you anyway. It s not like you re a big deal it s not like you re grizzly bears or wolves or anything special. You re like B-grade maybe even C-grade wildlife. We ve all seen you before anyway.

The Deer Pass Deer Report: Deers spotted - 0. You know what deer? We didn't want to see you anyway. It's not like you're a big deal, it's not like you're grizzly bears or wolves or anything special. You're like B-grade, maybe even C-grade wildlife. We've all seen you before anyway.

Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Aldous Huxley gt Jim Morrison gt Deer Pass. The march of concept appropriation carries on.

Aldous Huxley>Jim Morrison>Deer Pass. The march of concept appropriation carries on.

Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images
Dead Reckoning - Iron Pass Day 3 images



About Dead Reckoning
In order to evolve into the thinking, building, producing, consuming, ordering, planning, texting creatures we are today, sometimes we needed to pioneer a mountain. Complex culture depends on the exchange of everything, exchange depends on established connections, established connections depend on travel and movement, but there are always barriers. Mountains being one of the most impressive and iconic of the barrier class. They are fearsome and hazardous, and to tempt their transit can invite dire consequences, but as humans it is in our nature to cross mountains, we are driven to push boundaries, make discoveries, know the unknowable. We’re a risky lot, but any pioneer will tell you there is always something good on the other side of a mountain.

In 2015, Yonder Journal investigated, documented and published the possibilities of Over - Mountain exploration. We call this project Dead Reckoning. We applied the technologies and methodologies of adventure cycling, bike-packing, and ultra-lightweight-touring to multi-day-style expeditions with a focus on crossing mountains using a variety of both ancient and modern trade routes.

For complete coverage of this and other Dead Reckoning adventures visit www.YonderJournal.com.

Yonder Journal's Dead Reckoning is made possible by Specialized.
Major support provided by SRAM, ClifBar, and Mission Workshop.
Additional support provided by Porcelain Rocket, Outlier, Snow Peak, Oakley, Stumptown Coffee, Mountain Hardwear, Salewa, Poler, Causwell, and Mountain House.


MENTIONS: @TyaxAir / @YonderJournal / @Specialized / @SramMedia / @CLIF / @oakley




38 Comments

  • + 27
 I'm going to have to try some of this ultra-lightweight gear next time I'm in the mountains so I can carry more hipster hats and hair gel.
  • - 10
flag pancakeflatted (Oct 9, 2015 at 6:37) (Below Threshold)
 Despite their lightweight...every time I see a so-called bike packer I think "I'll never, ever do that."

Carrying a heavy ass backpack around like that all day would suck balls.

I'll personally stick to road touring where I can pull a proper trailer or stick everything on my bike.
  • + 22
 I think the use of the helmet to protect the back is a great idea.
  • + 12
 Fokkin 'ell!!!!
All the porn I've ever wanted: mudporn, picporn, trailporn, mountainporn, snoporn, campingporn, skyporn!!!!
Epic. Way epic. Who needs them heemalayahs when there's this kind of wilderness out there?
p.s. what about them bloody moskeaters?
  • + 6
 Moskeater porn is bad, trust me...
  • + 7
 Mosquitos are dead this time of the year. Its the best time of the year to do these rides
  • + 3
 @leelau - you guys are lucky. We've got these bl**dy Nile mosquitoes here on the southern side of the alps and the bastards go at you all day (yes, DAY) long.
  • + 12
 This looks like one big ad for Acre bike clothes

the Abercrombie & Fitch of mountain biking.
  • + 7
 Stunning photos and great writing. Despite many trips into this area, I have never seen the mountains covered in snow. wow. And that Deer Pass decent (either direction) is worth any amount of pushing. Great job on this feature. I need to go riding now.
  • + 8
 More of this. Fat biking/bike packing is so rad in my opinion.
  • + 4
 I think I need to ride a fat bike cause looking at them I just don't get it, they look so cumbersome.. and heavy.
Location epic... 'Bikepacking' (as it seems to have been tagged) epic.... The Bikes.. not so sure.
  • + 2
 Call me naive, but what are the advantages of a fat-bike for bike-packing? It looks more cumbersome to me than just having a 29er frame with mounting points for the front/rear gear racks.
  • + 6
 Looking at the Day 1 highlights the reason they choose fat bikes was because the terrain and weather was iffy. They expect to be riding in snow and they are...

Also, the fact that Specialized is sponsoring them and that we are in the run up to winter surely didn't factor into the equation....



Actually, given the terrain and having ridden a 4.8" fat bike and can see that having no mechanical suspension and using the squish of huge tires on soft and rocky terrain an advantage here. I'd love to do this!
  • + 2
 Having ridden the area a number of times including one snowy October trip, fat tires are a waste of effort. Some of the mud is clayey and unrideable. Mostly the trails are firm and smooth. Maybe some ridge top riding would benefit but that's off trail. Fat tires do nothing for you in soft snow. Even the fattest tires need compact firm snow or you're knifing in. Wrong tool if you ask me.
  • + 0
 "Hey guys.. wait here and set up a shot where I jump off my bike into the snow so it looks like I've crashed...... it'll be sooo rad ...... you can use my hipster vintage camera too" "yeah rad" "Yeah totally rad" "I'm going for it.... don't worry about my head, I'll use my back protector"
  • + 4
 Hipster 101: always rock a beanie or snapback at all times.
  • + 4
 the Landscape is breathtaking! bikepacking for the win!!!
  • + 5
 This is stunning
  • + 1
 Come visit!
  • + 2
 Awesome pictures. I also notice the tattoos and tried to find a theme but they're kind of all over the place.
  • + 3
 Looks rubbish............I jest
  • + 1
 Who makes those white (and what look to be waterproof) frame bags? I don't recognize the logo
  • + 1
 also, anyone know the name for the seatpost rear bag holder in this photo? I've never seen that before

www.pinkbike.com/photo/12757890
  • + 2
 The bags are made by Porcelain Rocket. www.porcelainrocket.com
  • + 1
 @Verg thank you!
  • + 3
 SWEET!
  • + 3
 Simply incredible!
  • + 3
 Place looks epic
  • + 2
 Wow! That's all I have to say Smile
  • + 1
 牛!(๑ʘ̅ д ʘ̅๑)!!!
  • + 2
 looks fantastic
  • + 1
 Seriously out there, jealous as.
  • + 1
 Thanks for sharing - Made me Dream - Eyes wide open
  • + 1
 I want to get a fat bike so I can walk up hills too!
  • + 0
 much of hiking mate. Smile
  • + 0
 take that, e-bike!
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