Posts Tagged ‘BC Hikes’

Location: Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia

Elevation: 2,319 metres

Range: Garibaldi Ranges, The Coast Ranges

Candidate #60

The Black Tusk from Clinker Peak

The Black Tusk from Clinker Peak

From Highway 99 it looks like a black shark’s fin carving the sky far in the distance, high above the tree tops. From Blackcomb Mountain it appears to be a sliver of rock pricking the summit of a local nondescript peak. From the Black Tusk meadows it looks more like a gigantic loaf of blackened bread, and from Mt. Price it stands like a black rotten tooth. No matter the direction though, the Black Tusk’s English name is quickly understood for its aptness. The black stub of volcanic rock protruding from the crumbling grey volcanic cone is indeed very much like a tusk.

The native Squamish people had a different interpretation. This was “The Seat of the Thunderbird”, blackened by the mythological creature’s lightning sparks, an image that is also easily conjured in the imagination.

The Garibaldi Volcanic Belt was an active region of volcanism from around 1.3 million years ago until the early Holocene Period. During the Pleistocene Period, the region was heavily glaciated and many of the volcanic features formed in a glacial environment. Mt. Garibaldi actually formed on top of an ice sheet; the Barrier formed when a lava flow was dammed by glacial ice; and the Table is a volcanic mountain that formed beneath the ice sheet. The Black Tusk is believed to be the andesite lava that hardened in the conduit of a cinder-rich volcano. Over the millennia, the outer rock has been eroding away, exposing the darker lava plug of the volcano’s neck.

The Black Tusk is one of the best-known mountains in the local mountain ranges and is popular among hikers and artists. Though the rock is friable and loose, there is a route to the summit up through a chimney which is accessible from the Black Tusk Meadows. From the summit one can see twin peaks of The Lions which stand watch over Vancouver. While it is possible to climb the mountain as a day trip from the Garibaldi Lake parking lot, it does make for a very long day. Most prefer to camp at Garibaldi Lake or Taylor Meadows and take a more leisurely time.

This was the first mountain I ever climbed. When I was 17 years old, a high school friend and I spent two nights camping at Garibaldi Lake and climbed to the summit of The Tusk on the second day. While climbing the chimney, my friend called down to me and as I looked up I struck my right knee against a sharp piece of lava rock, puncturing the skin in two places. I still bear two faint scars from that incident and I proudly think of them as my Black Tusk scars.



Further reading:



Vancouver Trails

Whistler Hiking Trails


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Location: Manning Provincial Park, British Columbia
Elevation: 2,408 metres (east summit and officially named summit)
Range: North Cascades
Candidate: #49

When I was growing up, Manning Park was a popular place to camp with my family. Only three hours away by car, the Lightning Lake campsite was our usual spot because we had a canoe and always included a paddle on the lake in our outdoor experience. Forested mountains surround the lake and from certain viewpoints Frosty Mountain’s bare rocky peak can be seen above all others.

Though I have regrettably never climbed it, there is a good trail from Lightning Lake leading to Camp Frosty where tents can be pitched. There’s a very nice family hike account of the climb to the camp and the summit here. As with many hikes in Canada, there are a number of switchbacks up the steeper parts and near the rocky summit the path becomes somewhat dangerous due to the amount of loose rock. The course goes through forest, sub-alpine, and alpine to the summit. The length is 22.2 km from Lightning Lakes and is said to take 9 hours round trip for those who don’t camp on the mountain. Worthy of mention is a stand of larch trees that are said to be among the oldest in Canada, dating back some 2,000 years!

An interesting note about the summit elevation: Frosty Mountain has actually two summits and the lower east summit is the one labelled “Frosty Mountain” on the map, according to bivouac.com. The west summit is slightly higher, reaching 2,426 metres (or 2,423 metres depending on the web site) and it is labelled “7950” on the map. The family account mentioned above shows a photo on the summit with the marker in the photo reading “2,408 m”. Frosty Mountain is the highest peak within Manning Provincial Park.

The mountain is composed of up-thrust sedimentary rock from the ancient Methow Ocean. On a train near Lightning Lake, there is a sign mentioning fossils on the area. I happened to once find a good sized chunk of rock full of black seashell fossils there.


Frosty Mountain hike

E.C. Manning Provincial Park

Club Tread

Hike Chilliwack



Flickr 100 Mountains of Canada

Next: Mount Cheam

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