Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Canada 2012 Youth Expedition... we are off!

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At the weekend we had a successful first training session in Weymouth and Portland for our 2012 Youth Expedition to Canada. I’m excited to return to Canada with a group of young people as it was the location of my first youth expedition back in 1996 (have I really been running these trips for so long?).

Leading edge As with all Leading Edge Expeditions we will organise and run the trip voluntarily and contribute our own payment to the expedition account. I have been a volunteer expedition leader with Leading Edge since 1996 and shared cost; ownership and accountability remain some of my core philosophies. Over time years I have had the opportunity to lead young people to some of the remotest parts of the world including Mt Rainier, Pyrenees, Alaska, Dolomites and Wyoming. These expeditions have been and continue to be a privilege.

On a personal note I hate the glossy outdoor education brochures that come into schools from commercial companies, talking about chance in a life time opportunities for young people. In my experience these are often little more than adventure package holidays with a massive price tag.

Below is the Trip Description:

The group will fly from the UK to Vancouver in July 2012 for a four-week mountain bike and open canoe expedition in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. The expedition will be self-supported throughout our month away in the Canadian Wilderness.

From Vancouver the group will head north following the Sea-to-Sky Trail to Whistler. From Whistler we will head off-road to the north-east piecing together forestry, reservoir and old mining tracks. We will resupply at Lillooet before heading north to the Quesnel. From Quesnel we will following the Barkerville Highway to the east before heading north again to the Bowron Lake Provincial Park.

Bowron Lakes

The group will spend six days within the Bowron Lake Provincial Park where the main objective will be to canoe the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit. This 116km chain of lakes forms almost a perfect rectangle with the lakes joined by canoe portage trails. We will be ambitious in our aims and after a wilderness briefing from the ranger circuit we will aim to canoe the lakes in five days.


On completion of our canoe objective the real fun begins. Using historic mining trails we will pick, push and attempt to cycle our bikes up through the Goat River Trail, over the watershed and down to Route 16. We estimate slow progress on this section of the expedition due to the extreme nature of the terrain and the navigation challenges involved.


We will then follow Route 16 and Route 93 through Mt Robson, Jasper and Kootenay National Park until we eventually get to Slocan. The final leg of our journey links Slocan to Vancouver. Using a network of disused Kettle Railways (including trestle bridges and tunnels) we will wind our way back to Vancouver roughly following the Spirit of 2010 cycling and hiking route.

Spiret of 2010

A high environmental ethos will be applied throughout the expedition. We will be cycling and canoeing though designated wilderness areas. Expedition members will be expected to show care and respect for this unique environment.

Being safe and caring for the welfare of every individual is essential on any expedition be it a low level trip in the UK or the ascent of a mountain. This has always been a priority for us, and will continue to be so. High media attention on recent incidents has brought safety to the point where even measured, responsible risk taking is expected to be taken out the expedition equation. This sterile attitude only serves to hold back a young person’s personal growth. Life is about taking risks especially for the development of our future leaders. A Wilderness expedition is obviously a ‘risk’ activity but the skill of the leadership team will achieve the balance between safety and challenging experience for the young expeditioner.

As always Initial training will take place before we leave the UK.

This year we will also be using live tracking so you will be able to follow our progress on the Canada 2012 expedition website.


  1. Thanks to the expedition team for your company and enthusiasm on Saturday, I really enjoyed meeting you all and finding out about you. Thanks for your encouragement up Portland hill too!! :)

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