After four kilometres skinning across Garibaldi Lake I remembered that almost exactly one week ago (to the hour) I swore to myself that I wouldn’t skin this lake and ski down the Garibaldi Lake Trail again this season if not longer but there I was.
To explain, I have to back up. We had a big storm during the week and conditions were just coming back into shape for the weekend. My day to get out was Sunday and the weather was looking beautiful. I wanted to put in a big day and ski something steep so I texted Tyler who was also keen. We decided on a 6:00 start time to ski Mt. Garibaldi from the Elfin Lakes Trailhead.
I have been looking up at Mt. Garibaldi from Squamish ever since coming to BC in 2009 and have always want to make it to the top. I have even skied right past it several times while skiing the Garibaldi Neve Traverse. Unfortunately, bigger projects, further away have always taken priority so until yesterday I had never made an attempt. It’s one of those things in your backyard that you never quite get around to doing but always want to.
We set a strong pace across Paul’s Ridge and up Ring Creek. We slowed down a bit as we hit the high point of the Garibaldi Neve Traverse but worked our way up the glacier through some icefalls to the base of the route. There was heavy wind and definitely some stiff windslab on the NE Face of Garibaldi (See Kevin McLane Alpine Select pp. 184) but we found a nice gully with stiff almost ice that made for a fast bootpack up to the summit. The bergshrund was almost completely filled in across the face and presented no problems.
From the top we had nice views of Atwell, Dalton Dome and peaks further away in the Tantalus, Spearhead, McBride, and Cascade Ranges. Mt. Baker dominated the view to the south beyond Mamquam and Sky Pilot.
The run down was fantastic skiing dodging seracs and skirting around big sagging crevasses. We skied from the summit, past the sharks fin and down to the transition point to climb to the Warren Glacier. From there, a nice run down the glacier took us to the unending flat skin across the lake. Low on energy we opted for the hopefully shorter ski down the Barrier which worked well except for a short bootpack to avoid a creek at the bottom.
- Time: 11 Hrs 23 min
- Distance: 46.15 kilometers
- Total Ascent: 2,428 meters
- Dynafit Skinsuit, Patagonia Houdini Windjacket, Patagonia Nanopuff Jacket
- Dynafit TLT5 Mtn Boots, BD Drift skis w/ TLT Speed Radical Bindings, Leki Carbon Poles, CAMP Race 290 Crampons & Corsa Nanotech Axe
- Nutrition: 2 Packs GU Chomps, 2 GU Gels, 1 slice Banana Bread, 1 Sandwich