Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pemberton - Jack The Ripper

You want it long, hard and steep? Meet Pemberton's Jack The Ripper (aka JTR). I knew this was going to be a long hard day with everything mountain biking has to offer. The whole trail, top to bottom, is single track. You start off with the Big Nimby climb all the way up to the paraglide launch. No biggie; just sit, spin and enjoy the valley views, which are all so enjoyable. Once at the paraglide launch, this is a good place to rest, have a bite to eat and if you're lucky, a chat with some paragliders. Enjoy this, because you are about to go into mosquito infested hell.
Million dollar view

The second climb, Middle Earth, is a short ride on the gravel road (maybe one minute or so) to an intersection. The trail head is on the northeast side. The trail is very similar to Nimby and climbs all the way up (most of it anyway) to the cell tower where JTR starts. Not too many places to stop from now on if you're mosquito sensitive like I am - those things are horrible evil little bastards!!! Just keep moving.
Are we there yet?

Middle Earth drops you out on the gravel road. At this point, head northeast, and at the intersection, continue east, stay right, and after 5 minutes or so you're at the cell tower. If you think that all the climbing is behind you, think again.
By this point you'll have lots of elevation gain in your legs and they're most likely starting to get tired. Unfortunately for you, it's still a while before you're truly at the top. JTR starts further in once you start the last leg of the climb. This is actually the trail head that leads you to Tenquille lake; the trail begins north of the cell tower.

Jack The Ripper has a bit of a story. It's named after Jack Hannan who was killed by an avalanche on Mt. Currie. When I ride trails like this I always feel emotional. I have tremendous respect for my fellow riders. I'm not sure why, but I guess it's because even if I never met him, I can relate to him. I feel we are part of the same mountain culture. Anyway, always pay your respects.
Keep your eyes on the trail but what a view!

Finally JTR sign! You're now almost at the top. The lake (not sure of the name) is the actual top, but hopefully you still have gas left in you. Virtually everything from now on is pointing down, but easy it is not. Steep is the name of the game here. If you're too tired, you're going to have a hard time, and it's not going to be fun at all. Even walking the steep lines are hard (sometimes harder). For me, this is what I love. Exposed and steep; it just keeps coming at you relentlessly. Awesome!
I'll be honest, I was a bit worried at first because I wasn't sure if my riding partner was up to the technical challenges. I was wrong. Steve was riding like a champ; I've never seen him ride like that before. He was nailing lines that even I was a bit nervous on. After I saw him clean the first few serious lines, I knew we were in for a sweet run.
Steve ripping the ripper

We're at the bottom now and I'm tired. After 7 hours of hard riding, we are spent with not much left in the tank. After following what felt like a never ending road back to the car and getting rid of our stinky biking gear, we headed to the nearest pub. What a day! This ride will be on my yearly to do list from now on.
One last note, if you need a map or trail info, head to Bikeco in Pemberton and say hi for me, they'll sort you out. Again thanks to all the trail builders, that was one crazy piece of epic single track!

RIP Jack and thank you.

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