Sept. 15 saw the running of the 6th Annual 7 Summits Bike and Hike Challenge in the Cariboo Mountains above Wells and Barkerville.
The 56k event covers seven mountains in seven stages, with more than seven thousand feet of elevation gain in one day. Having started their day on the streets of Barkerville Historic Town, they finally end it in the picturesque town of Wells, to celebrate their accomplishment.
Nearly perfect weather conditions helped 36 participants, from 12 cities across the province and into the United States navigate their way through the Alpine of the Cariboo Mountains. With an average time this year of nearly 9 hours, some may wonder, “Why do it?”
The answer lies in the beauty of the North Cariboo mountains, which, combined with the social aspect created by the organizers and volunteers, keeps participants focused on fun above competition.
Ben Harapat, of North Vancouver exclaimed, “Thanks you for an extraordinary time. I knew it would be special when I signed up, and it was that and more!”
The Seven Summits Bike and Hike Challenge was created at the Bear’s Paw Café in Wells, and is sponsored by a variety of local businesses and supported by a cadre of dedicated volunteers. The entry fee includes the hot lunch, prizes, unique pottery participant awards and more.
This event is the recipient of an ‘Environmental Stewardship Award’ from the Wilderness Tourism Association. All the profits from entry fees go to support the Friends of Barkerville and the Cariboo Goldfields, whose hard work has helped to preserve the many historic trails on which we are privileged to travel.
Event organizer Dave Jorgenson was thrilled by the results.
“Everyone commented on how happy this event makes them feel. Here’s our ultimate goal – to get people to experience the mountains, acknowledge and respect our alpine treasures, connect with the history and have a great day! Clearly it’s working!” he said.
The fastest times were set by Peter Findlay of Kamloops at 5 hours, 13 minutes, followed by Mike Smith of Prince George, at 5 hours and 40 minutes, but the grand prize and the only perennial trophy goes to the most average time, which is given to the individual who exemplifies the spirit of “enjoyment of the mountain environment” felt by the entire group of participants. Chris Wagner of Fort St. John took that prize with 8 hours and 46 minutes.
Noted Prince George mountaineer, Craig Evanoff said, “I just wanted to thank (the organizers) and all the other volunteers for putting on such an amazing event. I really like how (they) have kept it simple and low key. Anywhere else an event such as this would have evolved into a big complicated scene. Your event is special. From the hand made participants numbers to the tin whistle starting gun, it’s got real character. I hope it stays that way! Thanks again. See you next year!”
For more information about the 7 Summits Bike and Hike Challenge visit www.7summitsbikeandhike.org.
For photographs or additional information, contact Dave Jorgenson firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-994-2345.