Stuart on Panorama Ridge:
“It is amazing the difference 9 days makes, most of the alpine flowers in Taylor Meadows have wilted since our last visit. They are however abundant as you head closer towards Panorama Ridge. There is still plenty of snow on the back of the ridge so I would recommend taking hiking poles to assist in the climb. The snow provides a benefit later on as you can bum slide down between the two peaks to avoid the steep descent back down the trail. Just try to stay in the chute created by earlier sliders to avoid the snow speed bumps but be warned it does take a little while before feelings return again. You need to hit the brakes (heels) before passing over the second ridge to control your speed and you probably want to come to a complete stop before deciding to go further as this is the fastest section. The six of us returned via Taylor Meadows 9½ hours later with 1½ hours on top of the ridge. The rest certainly helps recharge the batteries for the return trip. Again, we had perfect weather and amazing views.”
Stuart at Garibaldi Lake:
“Four of us set off heading up the 6+ km of switchbacks in 1½ hours. After a brief rest at the junction the group headed left and 20 minutes later arrived at Taylor Meadows. The sides of the trails are covered with alpine flowers and definitely worth adding the additional 2 km. Shortly later you have your first glimpse of Black Tusk, don’t forget to check the view behind you once in a while. Continuing along the path you eventually come to the junction for Garibaldi Lake, take a right heading down the switchbacks until you cross the bridge. The trail becomes fun and interesting as at some points you tip toe across rocks breaking the water’s surface to continue around the lake. You should explore the entire trail around the lake as besides the views of the glacier there are some interesting points. Firstly there is a small island accessible from the trail where there are some Indian Paintbrush plants. At the trail end by the ranger’s dock is not the best place to have lunch. The Whisky Jacks create a scene reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, it was quite bizarre. We headed back the direct route returning 9 hours later.”
Irina on Empetrum Peak:
“After breakfast at Galileo, our group of four started the hike from the Cheakamus Lake parking lot. A 2 km trip to the turn-off for the bridge across Cheakamus River, and the trail starts climbing up. Consistent snow started at 1080 m, near the end of switchbacks. Most of the snow was firm enough to walk on in boots as some older footprints suggested, but after each of us postholed all the way to the thigh, putting on the snowshoes was a unanimous decision.
It was a long but pleasant hike following the markers where we could find them. In 3 hours, we were at the meadows with first glimpses of mountain ranges around us. Heading west, we chose our ascent route which climbed to the saddle between two of the subsummits. Good snow quality due to lack of sunshine certainly helped, and after another uphill, we were on the ridge. Claudio and Malin chose to stay there, and handing them one of our radios, Evgeny and I continued to the Empetrum peak. It was only another 30 min to the summit, where we were treated to the close-up views of Black Tusk from this rarely visited vantage point.
After rejoining, we tried another route on the southern side of the ridge for the way back. Would have been doable with crampons and ice axes but not all in a group had them, so we retraced our steps and descended an even gentler grade along the ridge. Stayed too far west in the meadows though, and ended up crossing the creeks hiking down and up steep-ish embankments.
A good hike and fun conversations along the way made it an excellent outing. Thanks to Claudio for offering to rent a car and drive. See trip report with geotagged pictures on Live Trails.”
Rob M. at Elfin Lakes:
“We made it to the unploughed upper parking lot. One car had slid off the road into the forest – a bit of bumper and windshield visible – driver frantic on the cell phone. We seemed to be the first, breaking a snowshoe trail out to the hut. Progress was slow and draining. From the high stilted outhouse at Red Heather I could see that the poled winter route hadn’t been set. The narrow trail followed the summer route without any avi risk. We arrived quite late at the Elfin Lakes Hut feeling a little trashed. Sadly there were no tracks leading up Columnar Peak/Gargoyles saddle. Time worked against our intent of tenting out on the saddle, Columnar Peaks or ideally up on Little Diamond Head. The trump card was yet to be played.
With less than two hours of daylight a couple of skiers headed out towards the saddle but gave up breaking trail 1 km beyond the shelter. At the shelter I saw three grommets had broken loose from the metal frame of my MSR snowshoes. That and the oversized winter pack were probably the cause of some shooting pains in my hip. Three steps in 1.5 metre snow from the hut there was a collective feeling that we didn’t consume enough power gels to get us to the saddle.
A half hour later Glen tells us that his bivy setup probably wouldn’t work. The temperature was -15 and dropping – colder with the wind chill and worse at higher exposed elevations. We quickly found a spot in the meadows at the base of Columnar Peaks and began digging out a campsite and talked about what to do if the temperature went south of -20. Two of us ended up sharing a 4 season Hilleberg tent and with a bit of tweaking, everyone survived the night – woken once by the sound of snow drilling our tents; and once by the unmistakable sound of a woomph and a slide coming down the Gargoyles.
We took a mellow, get lost and smell the flowers pace back to the parking lot passing more than 50 skiers/snowboarders on Paul Ridge near Round Mountain. The trail was now a super highway. A pint and burger in town and we were home.”
Marisa on Panorama Ridge:
“After the Wanderung party, I had to go to the infamous Panorama Ridge to see what the hype was. Unfortunately, Robert got sick and plans changed. Scott reorganized the trip and we opted for a “late” morning meeting time of 6 am. At 7:30 am, Scott, Vince, Paul and I were at Rubble Creek parking lot making our way to Panorama Ridge. The snow began at 2.5 km but we didn’t strap on snowshoes until Taylor Meadows. We followed existing snowshoe tracks but as our blue skies had changed to snow and low visibility, we meandered to the Black Tusk viewpoint. The snow and wind on the way back down made goggles a valuable essential. We took the long way back via the lake. By the time we got back to the parking lot, it was raining. It was a great day…. We had many moments of silence. Maybe another day we’ll make it to Panorama Ridge with Robert himself!!”
Ben on Mt Weart:
“I have had a recent urge to do something really challenging before the days begin to grow short and weather too uncertain. This trip to Mt. Weart delivered that challenge in full. The abundance of loose rock and lack of snow made this a demanding route. These difficulties were compounded by the sun toasting us at nearly 30 degrees. The route was composed of four distinct segments. The initial portion skirts right along the toe of the Wedgemount glacier and then climbs up the slope on the left side of a creek that is flowing down from a basin above. The route then crosses this basin along a second glacier and ascends a loose slope on the opposite side. It would have been great to see more snow here, but we made do by picking our way up through snow and scree. This slope tops out at another higher and smaller basin/bench where at last the base of the final ridge is in sight. The third part of the route, that is reportedly marked with cairns, is up through the cliffs to the lowest part of the ridge. If there were cairns in the cliffs, they were not obvious. We all picked slightly different lines up and found the top with no problems. There seemed to be plenty of ways to go that were only moderately exposed, but this section would prove to be a bit tricky on the way down. Upon gaining the ridge, we were rewarded with phenomenal views out across the immense Weart Glacier. From here we walked the ridge to the base of the summit and then scrambled our way up the final slope, which consisted mostly of large, semi-stable rocks. It was hard work in the heat of midday, but reaching the summit was a glorious moment and made it all worth while. We had views of…. pretty much everything. A big thanks to Peter, Beau, and Tim for joining me on this very memorable day!”
Dan on Black Tusk:
“Technical scrambles should ideally be attempted by experienced hikers; but not if you witness the woefully underequipped throngs that storm Black Tusk every summer. Thinking I would tread a middle ground, I took a mixture of seasoned scramblers & a few adept hikers who are otherwise new to scrambling to try to safely tackle this SWBC landmark.
Saturday morning found 10 joyful Wanderungers hiking up to the subalpine that are Taylor and Black Tusk Meadows – the flowers are now nearing full bloom and the mosquitoes minimal. We made good time, finding ourselves having lunch at the 1805 m mark looking at Garibaldi Lake and the surrounding high peaks at noon. One hour later and we were at Black Tusk base, awaiting our turns to have a go at the chimney.
Putting a lead, a middle, and a sweep in the climbing procession, all ten of us gave it a try in going up the chimney. After waiting out interminable streams of hikers both up- and down- climbing the chimney – and with me trying on the role of `traffic controller’ in the initial portion – the eight of us who cleared the chimney finally completed the 10-minute scramble to the top 1:15 after starting.
With a blue sky panorama at the top, we marvelled at the surrounding cirques, and at Cinder Cone below and other wondrous geological formations & glaciated peaks all around, all the while tirelessly clicking away at our cameras.
After lending assistance to an injured party (kudos to John K. for his advanced first-aid kit and training) we made our way down, mindful that storm clouds had started to move in. At around Black Tusk Junction, the sky emphatically opened up, with big bolts of lightning and thunder and torrential downpours making us sprint down to treeline.
In this well-matched group of blithe and seasoned hikers, a jovial and funtastic time was had by all and we carried the jolly-making to the Shady Tree Pub after. Out of that came an alluring idea for our next Black Tusk adventure: the Helm Creek Meadows approach. Can’t wait!”
Andrew R. on Mt Price:
“Mike, Dan, Ellie, Ivana and myself left Park Royal at 8:30 am on our way to the Rubble Creek trailhead. We were met at the trailhead at 10:20 by Sharon. The six of us made our way up to the lake on an absolutely perfect blue-sky day. The Rubble Creek trail is now dry and almost completely snow-free all the way to the lake. We made our way past the Garibaldi Lake campground towards the Ranger Station where we would pick up the route to Mount Price. There is still a metre or two of snow on the ground beyond the lake, but it was very soft and melting quickly. The route to Price is tricky to follow (especially with snow on the ground) but fortunately the treed ridge is just open enough that we could see our objective and keep our bearing the whole way. On our ascent we found and lost the flagged trail repeatedly, but the group did a great job of route-finding as we slowly progressed up the ridge. A little before 4:00 pm we popped out of the trees on the ridge leading up to Clinker Peak and were greeted with seemingly endless views in all directions. Some of the group decided to make this their final destination and had lunch and soaked in the gorgeous views for the next hour. The others continued the ascent up the snow slopes with two of us reaching the peak of Clinker and one making the summit of Mount Price. We started down from the ridge at 5:00 pm. After a wet, post-holey slog back to the lake and a very long 9 km down the Rubble Creek trail, we made it back to the cars a little after 9:00 pm. The route described in Matt Gunn’s Scrambles guide is accurate and is the one we used. All in all, a fantastic, adventurous day with a great group!”
Chris M. on Panorama Ridge:
“Starting out, the clouds (and rain!) didn’t look promising. But having an Alex sunshine guarantee, we didn’t worry. The first 5 km of the Rubble Creek trail are snow free. The meadows, lake & mountains are still covered. With help from Evgeny’s GPS we made our way to the west end of Panorama Ridge. It was a little steep but the snow was good. Valerie used her micro spikes, while the rest of us used an ice axe. Snowshoes were not needed all day. About 2/3 of the way up the clouds and wind increased. We couldn’t see anything. However, Irina said the weather report called for sun in the afternoon so we continued. Sure enough, around 12:15 the clouds started to break and view opened up. Everyone was happier! We took the standard route down with some shortcut-fun downhill glissading. Then made our way across the meadow and back down the trail. Finished up with dinner at the Watershed Grill in Squamish.”
Ben on Mt Price:
“Four hikers began from the parking area at 8:30 am. The lower lakes were beginning to thaw but we still managed to make use of the winter route by staying along the shores. Three hours from the car we arrived at the lake and took a short break to snap some pictures, eat some lunch, and trade crampons for snowshoes. Beyond the lake the snow was in good condition and the GPS kept us right on track. The final 300+ metres were gained on a steep snow slope leading up a rib between Price and Clinker. Once atop, the grand views south to Garibaldi opened up before us. We paused here before crossing a small col and to reach the summit of Mount Price at 3:00 pm. With great weather and views in all directions, the group spent nearly an hour enjoying the broad summit. The return trip to the lake took only half the time, but then we had the long descent back to the car.”