October 19-21, 2012:
We hiked 7.5 kms. (3,500 ft. elevation gain) up into the alpine region of Garibaldi Provincial Park (Taylor Meadows Campground, 5,250 ft.) on Friday in the late autumn sunshine.
Just as we were getting ready to go to bed on Friday night the first snow flakes of the year began to fall.
We woke up to discover that over four inches of powder snow had accumulated on our tents.
Here’s the story of our weekend attempt to climb Black Tusk and practice glacial travel on Helm Glacier.
Note: Click on any picture below to start a full-screen carousel view with captions:
Ready to go! Everyone’s got their packs on and we are ready to head up the trail to Taylor Meadows Campground.
The Scouts stop for a short rest break before continuing up the 7.5 km. trail (3,500 ft. elevation gain) to our base camp for the weekend.
Nice cold mountain runoff water was plentiful along the trail.
Only 2.5 kms. left to go before we can drop our packs and rest!
With darkness falling (we had a late start to the day) we grab our headlamps and continue the hike to the campsite passing Garibaldi Provincial Park’s famous “Barrier” in the background.
We wake up on Saturday morning to discover over four inches of snow had fallen overnight. The snow continued through the morning and by mid-day we had over eight inches accumulated.
We were snowed in until mid-day (venturing out into the mountains in near whiteout conditions would have been highly imprudent). After watching another 4 or so inches of snow fall, the weather finally broke and we set out for Black Tusk or Helm Glacier. It was highly doubtful that we could achieve either objective with the snow conditions and such a late start in the day but we gave it a try.
With the heavy snowfall and late start we quickly abandoned our primary objective, Black Tusk (we only had a few glimpses of the Tusk during the weekend through the storm clouds high above our camp), and turned, instead, to try to reach our secondary objective, Helm Glacier.
A Scout and a Rover look out to the horizon and see the sun setting in the west and a storm coming in from the south. We’re 5 kms. out from our base camp at 5,250 feet. Mother nature is always in charge out here. To paraphrase Ed Viesturs: Achieving your objective is optional; Getting home is mandatory. The mountains aren’t going anywhere….we’ll come back another day. Time to head home…
As we head back to base camp we get a good view of a wintery Garibaldi Lake.
The last burst of the sun setting glows over Scout Simon as we hike back to base camp and a hot meal before another storm rolls over us Saturday night.
The Scouts’ tent early Sunday morning after the second snow storm of the weekend deposited about four inches more fresh pow in upper Garibaldi Provincial Park.
We’re all packed up and ready to head down the mountain. This time the 7.5 km. trail will be snow covered all the way back to the parking lot.
These are some seriously tough Scouts! Ages 11, 12 and 13. Here they are (along with Scouter Alan) taking a brief rest as they descend back down the mountain 7.5 kms. (3,500 ft. elevation change) Sunday morning with overflowing packs after a sub-zero weekend. In all, they logged over 25 kms. in the mountains in seriously difficult conditions. Unfortunately, due to those conditions, none of them got to bust out their ice axes and crampons and have a go at the glacier. Oh well, next time… I couldn’t be prouder of these young guys!