Distance: 6.8 km
Time: 1 – 3 hrs
Elevation Gain: 100 m
Elevation Loss: 1,111 m
Technical Rating: Expert
Physical Rating: Hard
Season: June – October
Permit Required: No
Jack the Ripper is an epic all-mountain trail located high up on the Mackenzie Ridge in the Mackenzie Area. It’s a little rough around the edges and definitely worthy of the double black (expert) technical rating. Access to the trail is no easy feat for most mere mortals and the remoteness of the trail adds to the danger factor; you wouldn’t want to get caught up on this trail with no cell reception and help several hours away. Make sure to ride this with a buddy or two and bring some padding. Knee pads are a good idea. An all-mountain bike with 5-6″ of travel will serve you well and is recommended. A downhill bike is just not practical as there are a few hike-a-bike sections, many of which are up steep rocky and loose terrain that is not conducive to pushing a heavy rig. Although at times the extra travel might be a blessing, the ride would lose most flow and you’ll be left cursing more often than not. If you haven’t read between the lines, let me be blunt, this is a full on trail and not for the inexperienced rider. Extremely technical moves down some gnarly rock faces and challenging slabs will test almost anyone brave enough to ride this trail. Long, steep and loose chutes are everywhere and don’t seem to let up. There are a few sections where the trail nears cliff drops, caution around these is advisable. One in particular, just past the halfway point, includes a steep boardwalk which protrudes from the cliff and is suspended in mid-air. This section can be an extremely challenging drop in for most, walk if you’re not comfortable with the dire consequences. Nearing the end of the trail you will pop out into a clear cut zone. Follow the well laid out markings and arrows along the access road back onto the final section of singletrack trail. Arrows painted on rocks, logs and dirt will help guide the way.
The trail’s route was scratched in by Pemberton’s original trail builders around the same time as most of the area’s classics. It was initially referred to as “Titties and Beer.” At that time it was extremely difficult and too remote to ride regularly. Around 2008 Jack Hannan bought property on Reid Road and took on the restoration of this epic. It wasn’t much more than a game trail at that point. Jack spent the next few summers working on the trail by himself. In the fall of 2009 Jack rounded up a few buddies, about 10 riders, to give this trail a go; leaving out the fact that the entrance/top didn’t really exist. During the spring of 2010 Jack was killed in an avalanche on Mt. Currie and that summer the same 10 riders went up and finished the trail to commemorate Jack, calling it Jack the Ripper (JTR).
TRAILHEAD | N50 21.859 W122 46.803
Access to Jack the Ripper is via Skelula7 trail, also referred to as Owl Connector. Ride up Skelula7 from the cell tower located at the top of the Mackenzie FSR; accessible via Middle Earth climbing trail. Climb 1.9 km up Skelula7 to the well-marked trailhead for Jack the Ripper, it veers east (right) at the fork. Left at the fork is the continuation of Skelula7, which will take you all the way to Owl Creek Trail and Owl Lake.
If shuttling: For those shuttling the trail, please park at Mosquito Lake or all the way down at Mackenzie parking area near the gravel pit. Please do not park on Reid Road. The trail ends skirting private property and the new landowner has granted bikers access for now. Please RESPECT his privacy, do not litter or park adjacent to the exit if you are shuttling. It’s a short ride back to Mosquito Lake, a great place for a swim after the gruelling ride. By respecting the land owner, hopefully the PVTA can keep this trail open for years to come.
bikepirate rating: 3 Skulls
Jack the Ripper is accessed via the south end of Skelula7 (an advanced singletrack climb) from the Cell Tower. For a truly epic ride you can ride up Happy >Waco Connector >Nimby >Let it Go >Middle Earth >Skelula7 for a 5 – 8 hour epic ride. Or shuttle to the start of Middle Earth and ride Middle Earth >Skelula7 > JTR. Finally, you could shuttle to the cell tower and ride the Skelula7 to JTR. Although shuttling up to the cell tower is extremely rough and only doable in trucks or large clearance vehicles. If shuttling, remember that you’ll need to leave a retrieval vehicle on Reid Road for this point-to-point ride.