Sunday, August 22, 2010

Climbing Black Tusk

30km north of Squamish in the Garibaldi Ranges sits Black Tusk (2319m) - a squat, black pinnacle that vibrates with prehistoric energy and sticks out sorely like rotting teeth in a mouth of pearly whites. To the indigenous people of the area, it is known as "Landing place of the Thunderbird" because it is believed that its unique shape and charred appearance was caused by the lightning of the Thunderbird. Geologically, it is believed to be the lava core of a cinder-rich volcano. 

The trail to the peak of Black Tusk starts at the Rubble Creek carpark, off highway 99, and climbs through a range of amazingly different landscapes. From the carpark it is all ascent via a series of switchbacks that climb through alpine forest. The trail emerges in the Taylor Meadows (below), flattening out and leading through the blooming alpine flowers.

Below Black Tusk can been seen sitting in the saddle: 

The Glacial lake, Garibaldi Lake, located south of Black Tusk:

The sign cautions hikers that the trail has finished and that the way to Black Tusk is treacherous due to the rocky debris that form the slope. There was also still snow covering some of the flank, making for an interesting ascent and descent:

Hikers can be seen in the top left of the picture, tiny in comparison the the black rock behind them:

Looking East towards Cinder Cone and its 9km long flow of lava. The flow can be seen in the way the earth seems to spill into the valley:

Completely alone on the South summit:

Freestyle descending down the southern rock chimney:

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