Video: RideWrap Puts The Chill In Chilcotins

Oct 25, 2023 at 12:33
by RideWrap HQ  


Words: Ridewrap

The riding on offer in the sea-to-sky is second to none. Riders from around the world will flock to the region for its glut of exceptionally shreddable trails. For anyone that’s ridden here, it’s clear why the irresistible web of singletrack, bike park, and alpine trails attracts hordes of riders like moths to a flame. Except the flame is not the end. It is the beginning—the beginning of a lifetime of endless shredding. A rider could spend a lifetime here shcralping every corner and tweaking every air. But, after a while, something happens. Riders get a call to a higher place. A place where the ride only begins when the trail ends on the horizon. That place is called the South Chilcotins.

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People have been travelling through and exploring the region since the dawn of time. The days are big, and the chances of getting through them without something going sideways are nil.
So if you’ve heard this story before, I bet you’d like to hear it again. Because every trip to the Chilcotins serves up a big, delicious slice of “I don’t have a spare derailleur hanger” pie.

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That’s why, if it’s your first time, it’s great to have a guide to show you around and inject toxic positivity into your oxygen-deprived blood, which was what we did. We partnered with Tyax Adventures, set ourselves up with a killer guide and went on a two-day heli-assisted ride to try and answer that higher calling.

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The MTB community often looks at the South Chilcotins as a proving ground. A place where they can push their bikes, bodies, and brains to the edge (that is not what we did, by the way). We took a decidedly different approach. Instead, we opted to put the “Chill” in Chilcotins. There are so many epic vistas to take in along the route, and it would be a shame to miss them due to the abundance of black spots that tend to dominate one's vision in the throes of a foolish effort. And why should ginormous rides through this pristine landscape hog all the glory? Don’t get us wrong, we still covered a lot of ground and had our fair share of bonks, mechanicals, and inclement weather. There were highs and lows, but no one ever felt like they were getting sandbagged and couldn’t feel good about completing the ride. Thanks mainly to our guide, Ben, who artfully managed the ride and the vibe.

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The Chilcotin range is as steeped with history as it is with gorgeous landscapes. While we caught our breath at the top of each pass, Ben calmly told us about the nations that travelled the region and pointed out features of the region’s complex geology. He told us how the indigenous people and horse packers carved these trails through meadows, along ridge tops, and across rivers and creeks. He pointed out beautiful mineral deposits in the shale slopes and trailside animal tracks.

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We rode down Tyaughton Creek Trail and made our way past Bear Paw Camp, through creeks and over the crossing, on our way to Spruce lake.

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We spent one night at the Spruce Camp, where a camp host welcomed us with snacks and libations. Not that we needed any assistance falling asleep, but the torrential rain beating on our tents served as the perfect lullaby and a buffer to block out the snoring from even the most ferocious of mouth breathers.

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By the time we woke up, the rain had subsided. The clouds parted for a moment, revealing a sliver of blue sky and snowcapped mountain tops.

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If we thought things looked epic up to this point, we were in for a new level of mind-blowing landscapes, punctuated with a push through High Trail’s snowy, fog ladened Windy Pass.

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Aptly named, we quickly made our way off the pass and into our glorious 1500 m descent to the valley bottom. The singletrack back down to Tyaughton Lake quickly wiped away any memory of broken hangers, dodgy derailleurs, and frozen fingers.

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It’s no surprise everyone who rides here returns year after year. The options for routes in the region are endless. We took a pretty relaxed approach to our journey and had an absolute belter of a time. Whether you’re out there to push the limits or your friends’ buttons while you push your bike up some very big hills, you’re guaranteed to have a trip that everyone will talk about for years.

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Thank you to the Tyax Adventure team and our guide Ben for everything!

We ​​would like to acknowledge that this ride took place in the unceded territory of the Tsilhqot'in, St'at'imc, and Secwepemc First Nations. We are grateful to be able to access these lands, trails, and routes.

Author Info:
RideWrap avatar

Member since Oct 12, 2018
32 articles

31 Comments
  • 38 0
 All the photos came out glossy even though they’re supposed to look matte.
  • 9 2
 Can't wrap my head around how that happened.
  • 1 0
 @mi-bike: I’m guessing it happened because “tequila tonight, tomorrow we riiide!”
  • 8 0
 I had zero expectations when I did the 3 day trip with Tyax. I was thinking I would be fed freeze dried camp food and stuck in a tent but the food was amazing and accommodations like glamping. We flew the beaver, which also added to the adventure. If you're thinking of doing it then don't hesitate, the riding is spectacular.
  • 1 0
 I had the expectations for adventures, but the level of the riding blew my mind! To think that food transport and some of the trail work is done by people on horseback is just crazy. Some of the best days of my life. If you are thinking on it, just do it!
  • 1 0
 Flying the beaver always adds to the adventure.
  • 2 0
 @woofer2609: the Beaver crashed in 2021. Fly in is now bt Blackcomb helo.
  • 8 1
 i'm eating an apple pie
  • 4 0
 One time in similar desperation, I found out that my Park industrial chain tool can also be threaded into the derailleur drop out for alignment.
  • 2 0
 Did this ride 3 yrs ago when I was 64; I wasn't even the oldest of the crew. Tyax Beaver to Alice Lake to Bear Claw to Spruce Lake back to Tyax. About 75km total. Have been riding the area for 20 yrs +. Descent from Deer Pass in black diamond for a one eyed geezer was interesting. Temps were 28C or so; bonked but made it from Deer to Spruce with a bit extra help from my riding buddies. A great and really really hard 3 days in the saddle.
  • 5 1
 Looks stunning. Had to look up where the Chilcotins are, they’re in Canada for anybody else wondering.
  • 5 10
flag mi-bike (Oct 28, 2023 at 1:54) (Below Threshold)
 I would go so far as to say they're in North America.
  • 3 1
 @mi-bike: I’d go so far as to say Rio is somewhere in South America.
  • 1 0
 You're not too familiar with Knolly then?
  • 1 0
 @puukkopedro: I know of the brand but I’ve no knowledge of where they’re from/based etc. They have some awesome testing grounds then being local to these types of trails.
  • 1 0
 I am confused, Tyax Adventure canceled lady only trip for 2023 but this is 2nd article about fly in bike trips on PB in last month? I though there were issues with air access... who is lying? Big Grin
  • 1 0
 If your trip was booked for mid-summer, maybe tyax canceled because of the wildfires around downton lake. Looks like these guys went recently.
  • 1 0
 @BryceBorlick: no they did it cuz the plane issues, I just read their statement. This was short trip and looks like they cancelled 3 night long trips only that probably requires more than a heli
  • 2 0
 @valrock: This was actually filmed last fall. I am certain that the team at Tyax are not gaslighting you, they are always trying to ensure everyone has a great experience.
  • 3 0
 Did the same trip with Ben last year. Defenition of epic.
  • 3 0
 Looks fantastic
  • 2 0
 Heli to Relay col?
I might like that
  • 1 0
 How did they fix a broken hanger with a file (or hacksaw?) and end up with smooth shifting?
  • 1 0
 I think they may have modified someone else's spare hanger?
  • 1 0
 Yep - someone had a spare UDH and it just needed a bit of trailside modification
  • 2 0
 Bartle Dew
  • 1 0
 Aside from the 'dawn of time...'misleading hyperbole , cool article
  • 1 0
 Matt's off-road recovery wants it's music back....
  • 5 6
 no ebikes allowed, only helicopter shuttles. fuck yeah!
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