At the finish Line

At the finish Line

Ascending seven summits

Temperatures and participants soar in Cariboo mountain race.

In record Cariboo Mountain temperatures, last weekend, 60 participants from 16 cities tromped the skyline in the seventh Annual 7 Summits Bike and Hike Challenge.

This 60 km event covers seven mountains in seven stages, with more than seven thousand feet of elevation gain in just one day. The event starts on the streets of Barkerville Historic Town in the North Cariboo Mountains, near Quesnel. Participants finally end their day, as much as 12 self-propelled hours later, in the picturesque town of Wells to celebrate their accomplishment.

This Cariboo Mountain event is notable for the challenging mountain weather conditions of the North Cariboo in Fall. However, the challenge this year was in keeping hydrated in temperatures in the high 20s while hiking or biking uphill.

With more than 40 km of biking and more than 20 km of hiking, this event was accomplished this year with an average time of more than nine hours from start to finish.

Although some may ask, “Why do it?”, this unique event challenges individuals to push their personal limits in a social and non-competitive environment that combines beautiful hikes in the North Cariboo alpine with a festive atmosphere.

With more than 20 women registered, including two women from Prince George who ran the entire distance without bikes, the event has wide appeal. 55 people completed the entire route. Event organizer Dave Jorgenson was thrilled by the results.

“Everyone commented on how happy this event makes them feel,” he said.

“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.”

Peter Findlay, of Kamloops, improved on his first place finish time by another 10 minutes this year, reducing the 60 km event to a 5 hour and 3 minute course. Stephan Widmer, of Prince George followed close, a mere 10 minutes behind.

However, the perpetual trophy for this event goes, not to the fastest, but the ‘Most Average’ Time. At 9 hours and 6 minutes, Matt White of North Vancouver was immortalized on the perpetual trophy for exemplifying the spirit of enjoyment of the mountains. In addition, being the seventh 7 Summits a special pottery piece was commissioned from artist Joan Beck, of Williams Lake, for all seven participants who were closest to the ‘Most Average Time’ this year.

Noted for its quirky style, this event draws some of the top trail athletes from around British Columbia, as well as a variety of participants from every region of the province who are attracted by its raw beauty, inclusive style and relaxed and communal atmosphere.

The7 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 a 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.