On Thursday, August 25th, 2011 Doug and Graham hiked the Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park. For Doug (56 years old), it had been 25 years since his last hike of the tusk. Graham (22 years old) had never done it.
This web page contains notes and pictures from a hike filled with physical challenges, spectacular views, and some scary parts.
Most of the pictures (not all) are just thumbnails, which you can click on to get a higher resolution version (still not full, original, resolution).
We left our house in Coquitlam at 5:48 A.M. (We had intended to leave at 5:00 A.M., and should have, as it gets busier at the tusk access chimney the later you get there.)
We began the hike from the parking lot at Rubble Creek Road at 7:31 A.M.
Our initial pace probably had some excitement and just starting out factor, as we hit the 3 km marker after just 1/2 an hour, or 10 minutes per km.
The weather was good, but this switch back part of the trail was still in complete shade.The trees were majestic and the terrain between switchbacks was incredibly steep.
Then our pace slowed to about 12 minutes per km, perhaps a little steeper combined with the initial excitment wearing off. We took the Talyor Meadows camground route. opting to not go via Garibaldi Lake.
Thus we entered the Taylor Meadows area sometime around 9:00, and none too soon as I was desperate to use the outhouse:
As we exited the meadows campground area, we came across a trail marker where we could also see our final objective, still a considerable distance away:
The Talyor Meadows areas was just as beautiful as ever. There were still some very mucky parts of the trail as the snow melt was so very late this year (we actually had delayed this hike from August 4th, due to snow conditions).
You can see where people have gone outside of the trail to avoid the muck (the picture is actually from the decent, see others of this area later):
At 10:11, we stopped for one of our two sandwhiches. We had met up with some other hikers, Alex and Steve, and they went on ahead. We saw them several more times during the day. They were doing the camp overnight at Garibaldi Lake and then do the Tusk, return and break camp and out method.
We didn't know it, but this break was just prior to things getting really steep as we exited the tree line. There were a couple of snow fields to cross and sometimes it was hard to know where the trail was. The snow was getting pretty thin and there was a danger of falling through where there was water flow under. As things got really steep, there was a large snow feild to climb, but we were early enough that it was not overly slushy yet, but loose enough to create good toe steps. Where there was no snow the terrain was that very loose stuff. Doug is a long distance runner, and not so used to this type of high output per unit time type climbing. We fell into the pattern of high output for a period, then rest. My time references get a little vague here, but we were on the last part of the scree, before the very final chimney accent at 11:35 and the first picture from the very top has a time stamp of 11:46.
The view from the top was absolutley breathtaking. It was clear and warm. Doug was very tired and needed considerable time to recover. We ate our second sandwhich and such. We ramained on the top for about 45 minutes.
Notice how far away and how much lower the highway appears to be. We climbed roughly 1 mile vertical from the parking lot, already substainially higher than the highway, to get here:
A few pictures of the final shoot before the summit. This is between the main chimney and the top.
The camera does not capture the steepness well.
Now we are back around the corner from the chimney in a realtively safe area. It is only 12:47, but it felt as if it took much longer to get down from the top to here.
Here are two perpectives of the same feature:
Just heading back into the tree line, most of the really steep stuff is behind us.
Getting well down into the meadows area now. Time: 14:03
Yoou might not be able to tell from the below pictures, but we had about 1/2 an hour of cloud as we came through the area. It would have been stifling hot in direct sun.
And here we are back at the trail sign near the Taylor Meadow campground at 14:20:
Switch backs on the final 6 km trail out to the parking lot. Our pace mirrored our pace from the start of the day.
We were about 12 mintes per km for the first few couple of km and we covered the last 5 km in exactly 1 hour, probably with a bit of "the end is in site" speed up factor at the very end. We got to the parking lot at 16:07:
Notice the cliffs in the distance. There is a spectaular view of that area, but somehow we missed the lookout;
Notice the delux switch back retaining wall in this picture (15:31, still over 3 km to go):
Number of young super hot, super fit, women followed by out of shape guys struggling: 2
Number of fit young men followed by out of shape young woman: 5
Number of well balanced pairs and groups: Lots
Percentage of people doing the final Black Tusk acent, verses turning back: About 1/3 or even less.
Number of calories burned lifting body and backpack 1 mile vertical: Approximately 277 (I guess the ~32km horizontal part burns way more).
Notes for next time:
I (Doug) have always worn runners for this hike. I prefer them for the early stages and for the hand rock climbing in the chimney. Better boots would be preferred on the steep slag and muddy areas, and this year for the steep snow areas. Even though my feet got really wet and it was quite muddy in some of the meadow spots, I would still just wear runners next time.
Recommend rock helmets or some head protection (which we did not have) for the very final acent. There is a high danger of falling rocks, as everything is so loose.
Be sure to go up and down the correct chimney, the 3rd one. From the bottom, it might seem to be the second one. From the top, remember to turn right at the first chimney, unlike me as I started to climb down the wrong one (and I'm pretty sure I the same thing 25 years ago also).
Check and double check all hand holds and foot holds during the rock climbing phase in the chimney. It is scary how loose everything is.
People don't seem to get it for staying clear of the chimney. Stay well to the side of the chimney when it is occupied, as there is only one place for falling rock to go.
Doug consumed 2X591ml G2s and 1 litre of water, always with a water/G2 mix. Extra G2 and water was in the truck.
Doug only had one 591 ml bottle accessable in his external pack pouch at any one time, and found he needed to stop and mix a new bottle often. Graham had two external bottle pouches, which seemed preferable, one for water and one for mix.
Graham consumed ??? G2 and his two big water bottles (Doug find capactiy).
We missed the view point somewhere near the top of the switchback trails. It is a great view of the slide area, which there are glimpes of on the switchback pictures. Where is it? Is it a bit along after the branch to Garibaldi Lake? (Doug: Ask Bill if he remembers).