David had wanted to take me on a hike to Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park in BC, Canada for a couple of years. It is accessed from the Sea to Sky highway close to Whistler.

2008_black_tusk0 We did it as a day hike, arriving at the trailhead about 8:30 AM.

2008_black_tusk1 The trail is wide and very well maintained.

2008_black_tusk2 We stopped by Garibaldi Lake. It is fairly big (3.5mi, 5km long) and is fed by several glaciers.

2008_black_tusk3 At this outflow point, it makes a pretty good river.

2008_black_tusk4 The color of the water was a beautiful milky aqua blue from suspended glacial flour (rock dust).

2008_black_tusk5 The lake was like glass because the water was very calm and transparent.

2008_black_tusk6 We climbed above the lake. Notice the flat-topped Table Mountain behind the trees on the right?

2008_black_tusk7 It actually has a tea-cup handle hole through it, so that you can see the glacier of the mountain behind it!

2008_black_tusk8 Our climb went through alpine meadows.

2008_black_tusk9 The wild flowers were waning, but there were a few good ones yet.

2008_black_tusk10 And glacier-fed streams crossed our path.

2008_black_tusk11 Finally we could see Black Tusk. It is the hard lava core of an ancient volcano. The cone eroded, exposing the black rock core.

Although it looks flat on top, that is only a trick of this perspective. It actually slopes from the left up to its peak at the right.

We climbed the gravel to its base at its right side, and going along the edge went to its back at the left.

2008_black_tusk12 The Tusk rock is actually somewhat crumbly because it has many fractures related to how it cooled. The patterns can be seen in the wall just below the peak.

2008_black_tusk13 And that wall is very vertical!

2008_black_tusk14 This looks back the way we came up. At the left, we are about to scramble up a chimney.

2008_black_tusk15 The texture in the rock made this climb be pretty easy. Lots of foot-holds; lots of hand-holds. The trick is to be sure each hold is not portable.

2008_black_tusk16 It was as steep here as a ladder.

2008_black_tusk17 After that, the slope was pretty ordinary to the top (going to the left).

Although the rock is black, it is more like a matte-finish glass material than sooty charcoal.

2008_black_tusk18 From the top over that vertical wall, the drop-offs were tremendous.

2008_black_tusk19 We ate lunch on top.

2008_black_tusk20 There were glaciers all the way around you.

2008_black_tusk21 Coming down this slope, I was able to ski through the gravel. It was an easy, quick descent and was fun!

2008_black_tusk22 We went out a slightly different route to get a different view. This looks back on where we climbed up the chimneys. We had climbed the crack on the left and followed the zig-zag trail on the left up to the top.

2008_black_tusk23 A final view from the meadow.

2008_black_tusk24 Fall colors were starting to show.

2008_black_tusk25 The trail out was also beautiful, but it was long and we were tired when we got to the car.

The round trip was 20 miles on foot, but it was well worth it.