Say hello to our Instagrammer of the week, @pebbleshoo! Born and raised in Ireland, Leigh now calls Canada home. An avid explorer of BC’s Coast Mountains, he shares with us its spectacular scenery, and it wows us every time. Enjoy!
There is a saying among my friends that “A bad day in the Mountains is better than a good day in the Office”. This almost serene picture was captured on a bad weekend in the Mountains. We had hoped to climb the peak pictured, Atwell Peak in Garibaldi Provincial Park, the most prominent mountain visible as you drive North past Squamish on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Conditions where really bad however and we had to pull the plug on our attempt. Had the conditions been ideal we would have been on the summit around the time this picture was taken, meaning I wouldn’t have captured it. We’ve learned that there are always silver linings to our time spent in wild places.
This is a stunning Sun Halo that we witnessed in Joffre Lakes Provincial park as we hiked towards the summit of Mount Tszil. As amazing as it is, most mountaineers or climbers see these Halos as a portent for worsening weather to come later in the day as they can signify that a weather front is approaching. We picked up our pace and reached the summit as the cloud cover above us started to get denser and lower.
Sometimes the stars align in the Mountains, no pun intended. We’ve found that if you want to be in a special place to witness something amazing then you just need to go to the Wilderness as often as possible. For every spectacle witnessed like this one there are countless other occasions when we’ve been turned around by driven snow and low visibility. In this photo we chose to camp on the summit of Iago Peak which sits above the Coquihalla Highway. When we parked off the Highway the visibility was poor. We gambled that we would be able to hike above the fog. A lot of times this gamble doesn’t pay off, on this occasion however, it did. As day turned to night the fog was illuminated from below by the lights at the rest stops along the Highway. Even though the temperatures where well below freezing, it was a very special night to be in that place.
On the East side of Harrison Lake near Vancouver lies Mount Breakenridge. This peak had drawn our attention for some reason so we planned our route and set out to reach its summit. The day before had largely been miserable, we’d spent most of it picking our way through a soupy gloom of low fog and clouds. All hope that we’d be able to get above the clouds had evaporated. Late into that day however, a mere handful of meters below the summit, we broke out of the clouds into sunshine and blue sky. The next morning we left our high camp and hiked to the summit for Sunrise. This was the first time we’d hiked above the clouds in the mountains and it was a very special experience. Knowing that everyone at sea level was under a blanket of cloud while we where here feeling sun on our skin made us feel like we where on another planet.
Ice Climbing with friends near Lillooet. The Rockies are known for their frozen waterfalls but on the coast in Southwest British Columbia you have to search for them. When the conditions are good we drive North for a few hours to the town of Lillooet, nearby there are two popular ice climbing areas known as “Marble Canyon” and the “The Rambles”. On this trip we visited the Rambles for the weekend and then stayed overnight at the always hospitable Hotels in Lillooet to dry our gear and rest somewhere warm for the night.
Most people who live in the Sea to Sky corridor will have seen Mount Tantalus. They might not be able to name it but they have likely stopped at least once at a jaw dropping viewpoint about a 20 minute drive North of Squamish on the highway to Whistler. Mount Tantalus and it’s namesake park, Tantalus Provincial Park have become a fascination for me. It snakes along beside the Sea to Sky Highway yet sees very few visitors per year compared to its neighbor Garibaldi Provincial Park thanks in large part to the lack of easy access into it. This picture was taken on one of our trips into the area. We camped on the shoulder of Pelion Mountain to watch the sun set and the full moon rise. The lights of Vancouver are providing the orange halo behind Mount Tantalus.
Returning from a hike in a North Shore classic, Mount Seymour Provincial Park. At least once a year we visit this park. To have such a beautiful hike, that is so easily accessible in such close proximity to Vancouver City makes us feel really lucky to live in this part of the world. It’s popularity should not diminish this hikes value. I’ve been to many summits in Southwest BC and beyond and the views from the 3 summits of Mount Seymour still rank very high to me.
Born and raised in Ireland, Leigh McClurg loved the patchwork quilt of green farmland and medieval stone Castles of his home but always dreamed, from a young age, of snow capped mountains, hidden log cabins with crackling wood hearths, encounters with Grizzlies and other wildlife. He followed a path paved by others though, into his late 20’s, getting a Bachelors Degree and working in Offices. The economic recession of 2008 hit Ireland hard but was a blessing in disguise, it gave Leigh the motivation, along with his wife Spring, originally from Alberta, to finally start the lives they had been dreaming about. Two years later, in 2010, he moved to Canada and it felt like air had entered his lungs for the first time. After largely teaching himself to hike, camp, climb, mountaineer over the past 3 years, and losing over 100lbs in the process, he felt the need, along with his wife, to start sharing their stories with others in the hopes that others can feel inspired to learn the freedom that moving in the Mountains affords. Leigh and his wife, Spring, now write for their blog pebbleshoo.com where they recount their thoughts and adventures for others.