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2005 Backcountry Trip Reports => July-August 2005 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: Telemon on 08/08/05, 04:06 PM

Title: August 6-7,2005, Black Tusk
Post by: Telemon on 08/08/05, 04:06 PM
  There is still hope for those of you in the market for easily accessible August turns in a spectacular setting. You will need that much maligned SUV to get you to the trailhead, though. The destination is the Black Tusk and its surrounding snowfields. A high clearance vehicle allows you to climb 4,000' up the 10 mile-long gravel road that leaves the Sea to Sky Highway about 10 miles south of Whistler.

  My son and I arrived at the microwave parking lot (elevation 6,060') around 10:30 Saturday morning. 2 of our telefriends, Nick and Paul, were already skiing below the black volcanic plug. They had left Vancouver an hour before us, but they had only a short time to play as they had evening commitments at home. Gabe and I were in a position to watch them complete their last run (about 600' of vertical) less than 20 minutes from the car.

  After a short visit and snack, Gabe and I climbed in our ski boots to a point about 1,000' below the Tusk's 7,598' northern flank. A large boulder provided a platform to get into our skis. The fall line from there was relatively free of volcanic debris and it had decent corn snow. I wasn't content with that line, so I travered on skinless skis to the east until I reached a small crevasse (the only one visible). Hopefully you will be able to see our turns by checking out our photo gallery http://gallery.telemen.ca/main.php?g2_view=core:ShowItem&g2_itemId=2830  Gabe took videos of my runs, but I do not have the capacity to share those files.

  One of the reasons that I am eager to suggest this area for summer skiing is that the skiing isn't the only reward. The snowfields are linked by interesting trails or routes, not unpleasant slogs. There is the option of a scramble up the Tusk with its dramatic views and environs. So after hiking over to the East Knob and its million dollar (Canadian or American) view of the Tusk's climbing route, Garibaldi Lake, Mt. Garibaldi and its world famous neve, we were in position to ski several snowfields on our way to the West Knob. One of the snowfields had an exciting pitch that I estimated to be around 50-60 degrees.

  We had come equipped to car camp, so we were able to play until after 6:00. By 7:00 were setting up our tent, cooking a deluxe supper and enjoying a few cold ones. Whatever the parking lot lacked in aesthetics, it made up in easy access to the playground and unlimited views. We watched the sunset on the Tantelus Range, and our vision extended from the mountains north of Whistler to the Howe Sound. For those who would not like to camp next to a micowave tower, more pleasant spots are available a few hundred feet below.

  With a breakfast of sausages, eggs, bagels and fresh perked coffee in us, we returned to the snowfields to tag everything that had more than 200' of vertical. We took turns shooting videos and stills that describe the scene and conditions much better than I can with words. It was very difficult to limit my photo gallery to 28 pictures.

  By 1:30 we were back at the Explorer and loading it up for the 75 minute drive down the microwave road in four-wheel low. A little more than 3 hours after leaving the parking lot I was crossing the Fraser River on Highway 1. With the month only a week old, Gabe and I had already 3 days of teleturns "in the book". For a photo Trip Report of our August 1st Ptarmigan Ridge outing, go to http://gallery.telemen.ca/main.php?g2_view=core:ShowItem&g2_itemId=2724




Title: Re: August 6-7,2005, Black Tusk
Post by: Matt C on 08/09/05, 09:29 AM
Nice Job Bob,

Looks like I missed out on some nice turns and a SWEET breakfast!!! I find it surprising to see how much snow is left up there this year...especially at such a relatively low elevation. I was hiking up there last year around this time and if I remember correctly, there appeared to be fewer and smaller snowpatches. Thanks for posting...I'm sure the info will come in handy in the future.

Title: Re: August 6-7,2005, Black Tusk
Post by: Boot on 08/09/05, 03:54 PM
Bob, Did you mean 75 or 25 mins back down to the highway?  If 75, is it that long or that bad of a FR?  It doesn't look all that long.  I'm going to be up at Whistler for 4 days and it looks like a nice, short high mtn approach.  Thanks,

Title: Re: August 6-7,2005, Black Tusk
Post by: Telemon on 08/09/05, 04:31 PM
  75 is the correct answer, Boot. We listened to one full length blues CD coming down the hill. I don't think that we went up much faster. However, I am sure that there will be those who drive these kind of roads with more skill and aggressiveness than I.

Title: Re: August 6-7,2005, Black Tusk
Post by: kam on 08/10/05, 02:10 AM
Telemon: nice report, and i enjoyed viewing the photos.  it didn't look like the cups were much of a problem.  and it's nice too see there's still a considerable amount of snow left...  how long do you think it will last?  can't beat a 20-minute approach!  i'd hike for days to ski that...

Title: Re: August 6-7,2005, Black Tusk
Post by: Telemon on 08/10/05, 01:34 PM
  Last weekend was my first August trip to the Black Tusk area. I have skied up to it in the spring following the traditional hiking route from Rubble Creek (a 6 hour hike now if you wish to take that approach) and I have spent several September weekends using the microwave access.

  To ensure some accurracy in my answer to Matt and Kam's questions regarding snow volume, I pulled out a 10 year old video of mine. I can not recall whether 1995 was a low or normal snowpack year, but the video revealed a very similiar looking scene to what we experienced last weekend. I am not sure why there is as much snow as there is, considering the fact that Whistler's peaks are now bare after our low snow year. My topo does not show the snowfields as mountain glaciers.

  I neglected to mention that the largest snowfield/glacier in the area is to the east of the Tusk. We did not ski it because we had been cautioned about some potentially dangerous crevasses near the bottom. I witnessed a teleskier doing his thing on it from the top of the Tusk during that September, 1995 trip.

Title: Re: August 6-7,2005, Black Tuskhttp://www.telemark
Post by: Telemon on 10/13/05, 04:55 PM
 My photogallery has become corupted with something that prevents viewing, so I 've thrown a couple pictures onto Teletip's gallery. Enjoy if you wish.


(http://www.telemarktips.com/Photopost/showphoto.php?photo=494&limit=recent )

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