Revelstoke's Mt Cartier Helidrop - Part 3

Sep 3, 2014 at 20:35
by Lee Lau  

Organized by Matt Yaki of Wandering Wheels, we flew with Glacier Helicopters out of Three Valley Gap to ride the Mt Cartier Recreation trail. This heli flight is around 20 minutes round trip; incredibly scenic and saved our lazy asses a 6-8 hour hike up the trail for the 3 hour descent. Cartier is often done self-powered by locals so read this if you want to tackle it without assistance.

Cartier is an old trail - 17km long it loses 2000m elevation. The top part is slightly exposed and meanders through the alpine with switchbacks traversing across a planar avalanche prone face that affords some insane views. The middle section is hilly with steep switchbacks and technical bits with the addition of eroded surprises along the way. The bottom section is fast, rooty and has more than its fair share of pumpable duffy flow. The finishes culminates with a flattish 2.5km back to the trailhead!

All in all it isn't an easy trail and we found mid-travel bikes with aggressive rubber and good brakes to be good, although those with the full-faces and DH bikes seem to have a lot of fun. More info on Mt. Cartier is HERE.





Mt Cartier helidrop
The slope where the Cartier trail is located is here; photo taken from Revelstoke.

Mt Cartier helidrop
Preparing the bikes at Glacier Heli pad.

Mt Cartier helidrop
Matt brought a bunch of extra padding to ensure the bikes were not damaged during transport - he's pretty conscientous.

Mt Cartier helidrop

Mt Cartier helidrop

Mt Cartier helidrop
Incoming bikes!

Mt Cartier helidrop
We hike up to the summit

Mt Cartier helidrop
Here is what remains of an old fire lookout shelter.

Mt Cartier helidrop
Then we hike down as the others come up

Mt Cartier helidrop

Mt Cartier helidrop
Now here comes the 2km+ vertical descent

Mt Cartier helidrop
Trail is not that worn up here and switchbacks across Cartier's broad face with outstanding views looking down to Revelstoke

Mt Cartier helidrop
Matt's enjoying his day.

Mt Cartier helidrop
At treeline the switchbacks are steep and sharp - this is a hiking trail after all.

Mt Cartier helidrop
Bottom of the trail, now we ride back to the helicopter pad where our truck was parked. The road ride is pretty flat but a tad long and you should leave yourself some water for the 13km. It took us less then an hour to get back.


If you missed the rest of the alpine adventure find them here:

Part One

Part Two
Must Read This Week






52 Comments

  • + 28
 Not a huge fan of the music. In fact it made me angry.
  • + 6
 Sorry all. In retrospect the music was pretty bad
  • + 6
 I've actually come to expect that from Lee. He more than makes up for it with the plethora of info in his write-ups.
  • + 1
 they don't call him Angry Lee for nothing!
  • + 2
 For the record, I always enjoy reading about your adventures Lee. A true ambassador of the sport and a big heart for adventure!
  • + 11
 Too much hating on this IMO if you wanting some rampage riding check rampage riding out.this is mountain biking not DH racing.this was an amazing adventure on bikes in wilderness! Nice article
  • + 7
 I still think Revelstoke might be the sickest sounding place on Earth.
  • + 1
 its glorious. the town is rad too
  • + 4
 Now that is what I call trail riding, the adventure, view, and riding with your friends.I love to go fast, but to take a Adventure like this, you remember for a long time. Great Video.
  • + 2
 So many haters and critics! Great article Lee. What a fun event for BikeFest Revelstoke 2014! 16 of the most non-lazy people I know on Cartier that day! I've hike-a-biked it a few times along with many other epics in this area. The heli is a nice change and such a cool experience! Try it one day, you won't be dissapointed! Galcier Helicopters came through for us in a pinch in the middle of a high fire season when other heli's just weren't available. Flight time hangar to LZ was literally one minute more than Arrow would have been and the flight path is much nicer. Paul is a very good pilot and I would definitely recommend using Galcier Heli if you are ever panning to do this ride. This is just one of many amazing big mountian adventure rides in and around Revelstoke. Check out Standard Peak and Joss Mountain for example. Better yet, just quit your job and move here!
  • + 4
 This is a proper heli drop. For us, it was a 7.5hr car to car hike-a-bike.The descent is worth it though. I guess they knew something about trailbuilding back in the day...
  • + 5
 I hope they blared that music down from the helicopter for the whole descent.
  • + 6
 Nice views but thats about it.
  • + 4
 Great article Canada really has some of the best riding scenery in the world
  • + 3
 That trail did not look to fun to ride because it looks like you can't really pick up a whole lot of speed.
  • + 14
 depends on what you call "fun", I mean, check out the scenery, the views!, the absence of other bikers!.
That's mountainbiking, as opposed to riding a man-made trail-centre.
  • + 3
 The top of the trail (first 6K or so) is a slow-and-steady affair because you're biking on a narrow trail with quite a bit of exposure. Afterwords, you can really pick up speed in sections, and the last 2.5K is basically a roller coaster to the road,
  • + 5
 @jimo - "That's Mountainbiking..."... they used a helicopter
  • + 1
 That's "lazy assed" mountainbiking...
  • + 2
 Thanks for the article Lee. Higher proportion of turds in comments than normal too.
  • + 2
 Definitely want to ride this location sometime! I mean, it is in my name, it's meant to be...
  • + 2
 I love this article, thanks Pinkbike ps is there any other way up? maybe make a ridge traverse out of it?
  • + 1
 You can hike-a-bike up the trail if you're up for really big days and a bit of suffering.
  • + 1
 Link in first para - www.pinkbike.com/news/North-Americas-highest-descent-2012.html. Simply reverse the downhill direction
  • + 2
 Gondola uplift at RMR, top out, then ridge traverse. Find helicopter blades and use them as a teeter totter www.strava.com/activities/178495224
  • + 3
 Why so slow? Pedal!
  • + 1
 I could smoke you any day pal
  • + 6
 The folly of youth. Dream on hotshot!
  • + 5
 Why race down a once-in-a-lifetime event? Especially when they're clearly stopping a bunch and documenting the thing.
  • - 4
flag rolandpoland (Sep 28, 2014 at 10:51) (Below Threshold)
 Then walk it, forget the bike.
  • + 3
 It's not a very fast trail. Rather give you the unvarnished experience than hide that fact
  • + 2
 @leelau: Thanks for your honest takes on ALL of the adventure write-ups you do. Your work is hands-down the most complete how-to bike adventure access info available in the ms media. You put a sh*t-tonne to the riding community .
  • + 2
 helicopters are for lazy people
  • + 5
 Y con dinero.
  • + 6
 I'm lazy. Send me a chopper.
  • + 1
 @ torero
claro que si
  • + 1
 Or to access the un-accessable.
  • - 6
flag themountain (Sep 28, 2014 at 10:16) (Below Threshold)
 "Or to access the un-accessable"...its inaccessible and there is a reason why that has to kept that way! Frown Heli biking is completely pointless!!
  • + 3
 @mammal
Everest has not been climbed using an heli
  • + 4
 @Zede, yes it has, Didier Delsalle landed a chopper on the summit of Everest in 2005, two days in a row in fact. Presumably each time he dropped his shades and told the exasperrated climbers to deal with it as he did so.
  • + 1
 Well, sorry Sheldon, i forgot to specify "the first time". My point was just saying that quasi nothing is un-accessable.
Anyway helidrop means fat ass, pollution, laziness and rich
  • + 3
 As admitted - we were lazy. See the linked article to do it self-powered www.pinkbike.com/news/North-Americas-highest-descent-2012.html
  • + 3
 Yeah, now I remember this article, I was admiring and it motivated me to climb my first 1000m ascent/descent after reading it.
I did it and I concluded that I wasnt able to enjoy a so long descend after a so long ascent. I prefer now to divide/fractionate.
  • + 1
 zede. Instead of coming up the trail you can also do a hike around the ridgeline from Mt Mackenzie then to the backside of Carter. Would probably be 2 - 3 days
  • - 1
 Arrow helicopters out of Revelstoke offer the same service with a lot less fly time and more people... 5 riders and 6min hanger to top.
  • + 1
 A net, Lee? Really?
  • - 2
 probably a fun experience, but that video sucked more than the music and the riding was lame. oooooo look at me... i can kick my back wheel out to turn a switch back.....
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