Rossland, BC: Riding the Seven Summits

Jun 28, 2011 at 10:46
by Tyler Maine  
The Seven Summits is a serious undertaking. So, why would I want to attempt this hurt fest after a four year hiatus from DH racing and, well, riding in general? With a newly earned degree under my belt and perhaps a little spare tire too, my desire to ride was back. Quite simply: I just wanted to. C’mon! We all have that illogical desire to summit a peak... in this case I wanted to summit seven.

So, months in advance, I logged onto my favourite social network site to see what other crazies I could rally up to partake. And surprisingly it was my DH race chicas who were game. I suppose the joke is that DHers don’t know how to move those cranks in circles, but there’s a certain breed of us who love the hurt. A mix of west coast pros and hardcores answered the call: Adrienne Miller, Kat Popma, Karla Stowards, Naoko Fujimaki, Deb McKillop and Rossland locals to act as our guides, Nicola Kuhn and Carolyn Rouselle. I was accountable now; this ride was going to happen whether I was ready or not.

Meeting Rossland...

The day before the ride, we all roll into this dreamy little historical town, tucked away in the Kootenays, in southern BC. The trails here wrap around and through town, and are telling of the outdoor lifestyle lived by its locals. Although skiing and biking are the true passions of this town, its history starts with a gold rush, and as we head to the bike shop to pick up the essentials (tubes!), the buildings show their early 1900’s character; it's almost a beckoning call to investigate what each little shop has to offer. There’s certainly other things to do around town, and checking out the local scene is on my list.

Next, we headed up to our swanky accommodations at the revamped Red Mountain Resort. Our cabin was stunning, and the best part other than the hot tub and vaulted ceilings, was the garage! Who knew a group of women could get so excited over a garage! Admittedly, we’re different than typical ladies.

The Day of The Epic...

Our local aforementioned guides, and shuttle service (care of Adrenaline Adventures), show up at the crack of 9:30am (At our request of course! A girl needs her zzzzz’s). The mood is, well, apprehensive; light comments lined with innocent excuses, followed by jittery giggles float through the group. Our guides, quiet and friendly, listen serenely while we sort our worries out. Is that a knowing smirk I see? In retrospect, it's so very apparent they knew something we obviously didn’t!


Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.


When we arrive at the trail head on Nancy Green Summit, just west of Rossland on Highway 3B, a small pack of runners go in ahead of us (yes, I know what you’re thinking, “runners?”... people do run this thing!). We jokingly say they’ll probably beat us to the finish. However, the joke is on us; within thirty minutes of climbing I realized it was reality... we were going to be beat by people on foot!

The first summit requires the most climbing and starts right away, relentlessly, weaving up through the tress. Originally, this switchback-esque part was a horse trail, and this seems to fit, as the trail is best suited for 4 equestrial legs (yup, just made that word up) and not 2 mere human legs! But, of course, the view, which we saw nearly 2 hours later, was well worth it! This is why we love to summit peaks. These moments are truly magnificent.


Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.
Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.
Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.
Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.
Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.


Okay, break time over ladies... get to it! Six more summits to go. The troop rolls on, passing stunning mountain views, and oceans of wildflowers, both good fodder for a positive state of mind. Highs and lows ensued: elevation wise, and of course, emotionally and energetically. And then finally: descent.

The “pure” descent from a DH’ers perspective, is at the end on the Dewdney Drop Trail. Wicked fun, fast and flowy, we all have ear to ear grins and our legs burn in a new way as we trade torturous pedaling for pumping, to smooth out the natural contours of the trail.


Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.


Like the views, the descents justify the climbs.... until..... pffffff! four flats, and.... oh sh*t!.... one wipeout. Apparently this group of DH savvy riders is no match for all day XC! Just to note: after 6 hours of hard riding, and equipped with an all-mountain bike, one can’t expect to haul balls on a downhill ripper. Humbled and happy we make it down to our trusty shuttle. And thank the lord, or in this case, Lawrence our shuttle guy...for a cold, amazing and well deserved beer.


Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.


All in all it was mad hard, but wickedly satisfying. I can’t say it was pretty, in fact it wasn’t, but I’m proud of our accomplishment. There’s nothing like overcoming a lull in your riding and this trip has done that for me. Kat Popma sums the whole experience up well. A picture being worth a thousand words, please check out her visual summary.


Photos for Seven Summits article by Naoko and Danika.


The After Shock...

The next day, those of us with relenting schedules and a bit of mojo took to the town and tested out the DH trails: Flume, Cherry Poppins, Whopedoo, Whiskey. Not to be missed; these trails are rad. There seems to be a bit of everything; exposed rock lines, steep knarly chutes, mellower fast and smooth sections, natural drops, and built up jumps.

Some people find their groove on a beach, getting massages and facials in some tropical paradise. We found ours by getting our asses handed to us, with some self inflicted pain... go figure! Like I said, we’re a special breed! But I’ll make the assumption that if you’ve read this article you're a sucker for hurt too... so drop your excuses, grab your bike, and head to Rossland, and the infamous Seven Summits!

Happy trails, to you all!

-Danika Schroeter


19 Comments

  • 4 0
 Sometimes I seriously take my 18 years growing up in Rossland for granted. Every time I go back, I realize how lucky I was to grow up riding in that magical town. Great story, awesome trail!
  • 1 0
 Great story!...I assume this story/ride was done last year since I think the 7 summits trail is still got alot of snow this year(?)...


From the KTCS web page
sites.google.com/site/kctswhatsnew

Current news:


June 25, 2011 7 Summits opens late
For those of you expecting to ride the 7 Summits trail on the July 1 long weekend we have bad news. Due to the unusually high snow fall from the winter and cold spring there is still LOTS of snow on the trail. There is vigorous debate about when it should be open but really we don't know. August 1st seems the safest bet though some of us think by July 15. More news posted here when we know it.
  • 1 0
 Hi nelmtnbke, Thanks for the props and posting the link. Yes, this trip was late last July... hope the snow melts so people can get up there this year!
  • 1 0
 I think it's important to note that, along with the name of the trail, the article is misleading in that you don't actually 'summit' any of the peaks along the trail. You come close, and you can access the peaks if you really feel like it... most don't. A good idea of how the trail passes through the north half of the trail can be seen in the aerial photo from this Bike mag article.
www.revolutioncycles.ca/files/7SUM_0.pdf
  • 1 0
 I need to get out of my shell and start to do something freaking awesome like that! But whats happening to the girl with the bronze Giro helmet? Hurling, reoxygenating herself?
  • 3 0
 I'm drinking water out of my water sac... a bit desperately since my nozzle broke!
  • 1 0
 Amazing ! My mates got to ride that last summer and I had to fly back to Australia. I think it's a 'must do' for all BC riders! Git Some
  • 2 0
 Nice article. Makes me want to get to Rossland and ride this trail even more.
  • 1 1
 I've done this ride a bunch of times and I can't believe that all you got was a bunch of pictures of yourselves. Was your heart beating so hard you forgot to look up and enjoy the views.
  • 2 0
 Nice one Danika! Come back soon...
  • 1 0
 Thanks Ryan! And thanks for all the hospitality. Hope you healed up well Smile
  • 1 0
 It is an AMAZING trail....did it a few years ago and want to head back soon...even the downhills have uphills...haha.
  • 1 0
 I'm in Rossland for the first time, absolutely amazing trails here! I'm coming back for sure.
  • 1 0
 here is a video (taken a few years ago) of that trail:

www.pinkbike.com/video/28786
  • 2 0
 Wow, that story is inspiring! Really want to hit that now.
  • 1 0
 did it last summer, stoked to go back and do it again this summer
  • 1 0
 I flipping LOVED this trail, and plan on hitting again ASAP!
  • 1 0
 Ya Schroeter! XC is the new DH.
  • 2 0
 Haha... I don't know about that! But XC does rock!

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