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Conquering Black Tusk Mountain

Black Tusk Mountain is an ominous peak that can be seen from all around Whistler, BC. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful hikes near Vancouver, British Columbia for the breathtaking views of Garibaldi Lake and the surrounding mountains, as well as the fun scramble to the top.


Some hikers like the challenge of completing this 29km hike in just one day, but in my opinion, is much more enjoyable if you split the journey up into two days. Many people – myself included – end up hiking to Taylor Meadows on the first day to set up camp. Some people choose to hike to Garibaldi Lake to camp instead. That way, you have the option to summit Black Tusk that day, or save it for the next morning.

However, if you do decide to attempt this hike in just one day, remember to start early, and leave plenty of time to get back to the parking lot before it gets dark.

Starting the hike at Rubble Creek

This hike is about 1.5 to 2 hours drive from Vancouver.

Take the Sea to Sky Highway towards Squamish. Keep going northbound towards Whistler for 32km. You will start to see Garibaldi Provincial Park signs. The actual turnoff is a small, easy-to-miss road, so keep an eye out for it. This is Rubble Creek Road. Continue on the road until you reach the parking lot a few kilometres later.

It was raining for the start of our hike, but it quickly cleared up and became a beautiful day.
It was raining for the start of our hike, but it quickly cleared up and became a beautiful day.

The trail starts off extremely easy. It is an easy, well-maintained trail. After 6 km, you will come across a fork in the road. The trail on the right will take you to Garibaldi Lake. We took the trail to the left, which will lead you to Taylor Meadows, and later on – Black Tusk.

The trail will keep climbing pleasantly, until you end up emerging from the forest and into Taylor Meadows camping area.

Once we arrived at Taylor Meadows, we immediately set up camp. Our intention was to bag the peak the same day we arrived, and we knew we wouldn’t want to set everything up in the dark, when we’d probably be hungry and exhausted.

Setting up the tent on one of the wooden platforms. Convenient for keeping your tent out of the mud when it starts to rain!
Setting up the tent on one of the wooden platforms. Convenient for keeping your tent out of the mud when it starts to rain!

About 30 minutes later, relieved of our backpacks, we started our trek to the summit. The path wanders through the meadows beautifully.

Looking at my final destination in the distance.
Looking at my final destination in the distance.
The mountains surrounding the area are the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen.
The mountains surrounding the area are the most breathtaking I’ve ever seen.

Soon you will come across a sign and a trail on your left that will point up towards Black Tusk. This is where the trail goes up, up, up. :) The landscape will get rockier, and you will pass over small streams, some snow (depending on when you come during the season), and don’t forget to look back to see breathtaking views of Garibaldi Lake.

The turquoise waters of Garibaldi Lake.
The turquoise waters of Garibaldi Lake.

Eventually, you will come across a BC Parks sign. From this point on, it is not a maintained trail. But, you can make out a faint path from the hikers who trek to the summit every year. The terrain becomes rockier, and loose rocks will slow your journey upward towards the chimney.

Make sure that you’re confident in your climbing abilities if you decide to proceed any further.
Make sure that you’re confident in your climbing abilities if you decide to proceed any further.

 

Once we got on the ridge and started to approach to the chimney of Black Tusk, we realized it was going to be a lot tougher to climb than I anticipated.

Loose, crumbly rock.
Loose, crumbly rock.

Most hikers end their hike to Black Tusk once they reach the base of the chimney. It is dangerous, and the rocks are extremely loose and will literally crumble in your hands. The person I was with is an experienced mountain climber, having climbed some of the most difficult mountains in the world. So I felt safe in my own rock climbing abilities, and his guidance to keep going to the summit.

A helmet is highly recommended if you plan on climbing the chimney.
A helmet is highly recommended if you plan on climbing the chimney.

The view from the top is spectacular – it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. And it’s completely worth the long, hard hike from the Rubble Creek.

The summit is 7,608 ft / 2,319 m.
The summit is 7,608 ft / 2,319 m.

Remember to exercise extreme caution as you climb down the chimney! In my opinion, it’s a lot more dangerous to climb down, than it was to go up.

This is one of the best hikes I have ever done, and each year I try to do it again. Have you everĀ  hiked Black Tusk Mountain before? Or better yet, does anybody want to do it with me next summer? :)

Krystal Yee

Krystal Yee is a travel blogger and personal finance expert with substantial media credits to her name. Lover of off-beat travel, hiking, French macarons, barefoot shoes, and her iPhone. Excel spreadsheet addict. She is currently living in Vancouver, plotting her next adventure.

Comments

eemusings

Wow, that looks seriously epic!

Mike

Spectacular shot! Do you use any climbing gear?

Krystal Yee

No, I just had a helmet. The hike is classified as a scramble, where no gear is required. But I believe to get to the very, very top you climbing gear.

Mike

Thanks Krystal. I’ll have to give it a shot the next time I’m in the area

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Where did you end your hike?