A Lazy Hazy Crazy Day (TR)


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Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 16, 2008 - 01:03am PT
Wherein Mightyus Hikerus SuperTopoensis™ ® © goes for a stroll in a park and experiences a Modest Alpine Adventure™ ® ©, including:
 The attainment of a fine peak.
 Wide, and Very Wide™ ® ©, Cracks.
 Confrontations with Fauna and Flora, including the Attack of the Ladybugs!
 The Vorpal Sword™ ® © - Use and Design.
 A great deal of exercise.
 Numerous ellipsis and digressions.
 Frequent and portentous use of Capital Letters™ ® ©, not to mention ™ ® and ©, but noble restraint with respect to use of the return key, italics, and bold.
 Photographs of Flowers, by Space Aliens!
 And many other quaint activities.

You may decide for yourself if laziness, craziness, or haziness were factors. Here is a humble report, for your edification and amusement.


High summer was upon us. The late snows had finally melted, and our all too brief alpine season had arrived. One golden day succeeded the next, but all too soon the never-ending Monsoonal Rains™ ® © would return. Several years of well-nigh unremitting family and work responsibilities made clear that it was time for Shock Treatment™ ® ©, so as to begin a return to a semblance of fitness, and train for the FaceLift™ ® ©. The Sports Plan™ ® © clearly needed to be kick started, and perhaps also the trainee.

Vigorous exercise and fresh air were the prescription. Fortunately one need not seek far. Despite the monomania of most rock climbers, there are many opportunities for fun in the mountains near to Vancouver. We are, not to coin a phrase, surrounded.

Indeed, an area just north of Squamish, Garibaldi Park, offers many fine opportunities for fresh air, Blueberry Crop Assessment™ ® ©, and geological observation. There are fine trails, lovely meadows, lakes, peaks of all kinds, and some bits of history. The park is very large and was established in 1920, although it has been somewhat encroached on by development from Whistler. Still, it is more accessible than many of our mountains, and need not involve untoward intimacy with devil’s club.

So it was that I set out early one fine midweek August morning, en route to Garibaldi Lake and the Black Tusk. The entire area is a fine example of the interaction of volcanism and glaciation, and the BT itself is a volcanic plug. It is visible from many places nearby, including the W place, and is over 2,300 metres high – treeline being at about 1,700.

To put it all in a way more familiar to you, dear reader, the BT is much like Bears Lodge, although the former was brought to earth by glaciation, and the latter apparently by a cowboy’s lariat. The BT, and the neat things in the vicinity (only 30 minutes drive from ‘downtown’ Squamish) are part of the Ring of Fire. Every 100 km or so along the Pacific coast of North America, there is an E-W suture in the Earth’s crust. Starting from the north at Meager Mountain, the areas of volcanism are Garibaldi Lake and the Black Tusk, then Mt. Baker, then Glacier Peak, then Rainier, then Adams and St. Helens, then Hood, and so forth – ending up at Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen (more SuperTopo relevancy!).

The expedition is comparable to hiking/scrambling up Half Dome, but in a much different setting, with very few people. Yet more SuperTopish references!


Evading highway construction closures, I stopped in Squamish. The BT is not visible from there, but Mount Garibaldi, halfway between, is, peeping out through a mall.

I manfully evaded the temptations of the fleshpots, having neglected to bring climbing equipment, and knowing the forecast high was 32 – a bit warm for Squamish rock.

Refreshed, I proceeded to the BT parking lot, and paid $3 for leaving my car – although the lot is unchanged from when I first visited it with my father and brother in about 1969, en route to fishing in Garibaldi Lake. I believe this is the “fee enterprise” system.

Those who think that the name-givers could have been more imaginative should realize that we have dozens of Glacier Lakes and Bear Rivers in B.C. It’s a BIG place.


The trail is a very good one, suitable to large numbers of hikers – a common thing on weekends. It switchbacks steeply up the side of the formerly glaciated and so U-shaped valley, starting at about 600 metres. Luckily it faces west, and so is a cool place on a warm morning. I had brought a Secret Weapon™ ® © for just that reason – a trick learned from doing long races in hot places. I’d filled and frozen my water bottles the night before, so that throughout the day I had cool refreshing drink, instead of lukewarm Sludgeorade™ ® ©. As the high in the W place was 34, a good idea.

The trail is something that a Side-Hill Gouger™ ® © would like. There is more about these curious creatures at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidehill_gouger There is also a poem, at http://personal.nbnet.nb.ca/steldon/gouge.html

Sadly, no blueberries were seen during the entire day. Nor were any bears in evidence – they kind of go together.


You need not be a paranoid to know that there are many nasties in the woods, waiting to devour us. Not just Side-Hill Gougers and Bears, but also Ferocious Bloodthirsty Rampaging Giant Canadian Wolves™ ® ©. An encounter with a Frumious Bandersnatch or even a Jabberwock was not out of the question – not for nothing is the area known fondly as the Magic Kingdom. I was ill-prepared for such encounters, and had even forgotten my Vorpal Sword™ ® ©, but nonetheless was ready to sell my life dearly. In such an event, I would whip out my genuine boy scout staff (pre-metric), attach to it my knife, and use it to fend off the attacker.

In the event of a real emergency, I would don my genuine Mini-Superhero Hat™ ® ©, which was sure to deter any threat - mineral, solar, animal, or vegetable.

Hopefully the results would not be iron-ic.


After about two hours, I arrived at a junction, not far below timberline, which is also where it gets less steep. One fork goes to Garibaldi Lake, the other to the BT. (A loop is possible, and other excursions.) This gave me a chance to start on my FaceLift Training Plan™ ® ©, as there were bits of garbage lying about that needed picking up. (The training program did not go well – I only found 100 g or so of trifles all day.) In another half hour I was at Taylor Meadows – the club I belong to had summer camps there in the 1920s, when many of the peaks were first climbed, and Taylor was one of the first presidents.
In the back of the picture, you can see the BT itself, shyly peeping out.

This is quite a boggy area, and so there are some boardwalks. Not being a Drifter, I didn’t go Under a Boardwalk, but I thought Wannabe Pirates™ ® © might get some ideas about walking planks from this.

Many Moskreechers™ ® © can be found here, which makes it a fine campsite for the scouts.


Several hours later I came to myself, much higher on the flanks of the mountain. The time in between is a blank. However, later forensic examination of my camera retrieved many pictures of local flowers. Apparently I was kidnapped by space aliens, who did a mind-meld, guided me up the mountain, and in return took pictures. They must be from Planet Flora™ ® ©, and so are mostly harmless.
The glaciated massif in the second-last photo is the Tantalus Range, only 15 km northwest of Squamish – evidently the Florans have some appreciation for mountains.


The end was nigh. The summit was visible.
The route traverses from right to left under the face, then up the left side.

Looking south, here’s the glaciated north side of Mt. Garibaldi.
The formation in front of Garibaldi is poetically known as the Table, another volcanic plug. There is an arch on its right side, through which you can see the glacier. Not something you see every day.

Before going on, one must confront one’s deepest fears and forebodings, take one’s life into one’s hands, and disregard the forces of Eevil.

And now another plug for our sponsor, the star of the show.

And yet another. Note the tremendous “undeveloped” potential.

Right beside the tooth, with its northern outlier peaks – unclimbed. I wonder why?


Here is the route itself, which involves about 100 vertical metres of cobbles. Technically it is a low fifth class gully/chimney, with much of the challenge (for hikers) the descent, especially choosing the correct gully.

Here’s the upper part, from above. Most definitely a Wide Crack™ ® ©, which should please Russ, Ed, JayBro, and other fetishists, although no ropes, knee bars, or other trickery were required.

You pop out onto an airy ridge, and scramble to the top. I had it all to myself, except for a few visitors, including a pair of ravens.


I confess that it is not every day that I am attacked by swarms of ladies. I sat on the summit, and ate and drank. Sadly, Kendal Mint Cake was not on the menu. Several Moskreechers had accompanied me to the top, as had some other insects to which I had paid little attention. They landed all over me, by the dozens, and proceeded to nibble.
They were some sort of miniature ladybug. I can’t imagine what they were doing there, as from family gardeners I understand that their main diet is aphids and mites. In any event, they seemed happy browsing on my skin, perhaps for salt, and I believe are considered to be a GOOD THING, so I let them be.

Several ladybugs snuck into my pack and got a free ride to Vancouver, where they now inhabit the backyard.


Castle Towers

The W Place from the South – a harmless dull bump.

The Sphinx etc
We once did a nice climb on its left ridge.

Mt. Garibaldi & Garibaldi Lake
Colour not photoshopped. On my annual climb of the BT, I usually take a side trip to Panorama Ridge (snowy ridge in lower left), to round out the day. I then detour to the lake for a swim before hiking down – there are some nice coves on the outlet side, although the lake is entirely glacier fed. Alas! With highway construction closures, there wasn’t enough time for a Daisy Moment™ ® ©.

Howe Sound
The fjord in the far distance.

Note ladybug under chin.


I left the car at about 9:20, and got to the top about 1:50. It’s 14 – 15 km one way, and 1,700 – 1,800 vertical metres. (Which in American is “knit two, purl one”.) The trip down was uneventful, although baking hot. Here’s another shot of volcanism in action, a feature called the Barrier.
It is essentially a big lava flow off a peak beside Garibaldi, and the dam that holds in Garibaldi Lake. And Crimpie thought that Courtright looked iffy! The lake is about 7 km long and 3 wide, and several hundred metres deep, so that’s a lot of water. There was a big slide off the Barrier in the 1850s, which pretty much obliterated everything in the valley below, including where the highway is now – in fact, 10 or 15 km of the highway. In winter and spring, we ski across the lake to get to the peaks on the other side.

On the last part of the hike, I met someone named Paul (?), a meteorologist from Nederland, Colarado. He’s also a photographer, but said he didn’t know tarbuster or pewf. He did take my picture, including pathetic trash bag.

So I hopped into my luxurious air-conditioned chariot, stopped in Squamish for a big gulp (reused cup) that disappeared in moments, and was soon home. Loki was happy to see me.

Thank you for coming on my little trip, a la Tarbuster. No serious climbing occurred, but it was fun. While acknowledging Nat King Cole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nat_King_Cole, and his fine summer song: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/n/nat+king+cole/those+lazy+hazy+crazy+days+of+summer_20098114.html

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Aug 16, 2008 - 01:18am PT
Anders, you kick ass!!! keep this alive, my canadian brother...keep kicking ass!

See you at the Facelift.

The Outer Limits of my Inner Sanity
Aug 16, 2008 - 01:20am PT
Very Niiiiiiiiice, Mighty Hiker!

Great flower photos on top of great scenics...and ladybugs all over your legs--pretty funny!

Thanks for taking us along for the trip...now my feet hurt...;-)

Trad climber
the south
Aug 16, 2008 - 01:30am PT
Well, your cat has gotten a lot bigger.

I never understand trip reports, or actually, the motivation to make a trip report.

Since it's you, I'll be nice.

OK I'll TRY to be nice.

WHY does anyone care about what other people have climbed??? WHY does anyone think their climb is worth reading about?

Isn't climbing supposed to be about climbing? Isn't it your own personal experience at that moment that makes climbing good?

Trip reports are just self indulgent chatter, or worse, a loud "Look at meeee!".

Well I tried, and failed.

I normally love your writing Anders. Sorry to piss on your parade.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2008 - 01:37am PT
Story telling.

Either that, or truth in advertising: lazy, hazy and/or crazy.

You do have a point about motives and ego and TRs, though I think most here like to read them, especially if there's decent writing or photos.

Trad climber
the south
Aug 16, 2008 - 02:01am PT
I guess that back when I really could climb, and had a few good times, it just didn't often come to mind to turn that into a vicarious experience for other people.

I'm still a Mighty Hiker fan though.


Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Aug 16, 2008 - 02:47am PT
wow, that is some stellar choss!

that chimney looks to be a bit sketch. solid?

Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Aug 16, 2008 - 11:27am PT
Jeez, Dirtineye, take a happy pill or something.

One reason that I enjoy the TRs are the intimate glimpses of places I don’t know. The Vancouver vicinity is on my short list of places to get to and MH provided a beautiful, vicarious visit on this rainy Saturday morning.

Thanks, Anders.

PS. When seeing photos of Whistler, I always wondered why I had never heard about technical climbing on the Black Tusk. Thanks for clearing that up.

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Aug 16, 2008 - 11:38am PT
Nice TR - thanks for sharing pics of beautiful BC!

For those unhappy folks who think TR's are a waste of space, just don't read 'em! There are plenty of us that really enjoy them!

right here, right now
Aug 16, 2008 - 11:58am PT
Nice Blueberry Crop Assessment™ ® ©, and geological observation...
My sort of excercise detail to be sure; 'love taking a peek at that glacier draped terrain.

Thanks for bringing us along Anders!!!
You must soon do it again.

Social climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Aug 16, 2008 - 12:00pm PT
Awesome Mighty Hiker. Great photos - really beautiful flowers. Thanks for taking the time to share it. TRs are among the best things on Supertopo!

In search of the Perfect Lie...I mean..Life
Aug 16, 2008 - 12:45pm PT
"WHY does anyone care about what other people have climbed??? WHY does anyone think their climb is worth reading about?"

Well Curt,

You did try to understand--which is a good start. Part of your lack of understanding of the beauty of TRs might be exactly what you said--you used to do all this sort of stuff just for your own experience. That made it a private ecstasy that didn't want or need an audience.

Part of your dislike of TRs might also be the conscious (or unconscious) realization that you really can no longer participate in the outdoors like you once did--and that's a very frustrating feeling. It could almost border on jealousy for those that can still get out and tramp the peaks. And trust me, anyone who's experienced even a short-term injury can relate to that, much less the lengthy and painful ordeal you've been going through.

Well, you have a right to your feelings, as we all do. However...and I know you're going to think this an absolutely abysmally stupid request, but I've always been curious about the stuff you did back in the day. From what I've gleaned on ST, you were a climbing pioneer in your own right. Do you happen to have any old photos? Do you have any good epics to share that might go along with the photos? You can laugh at your own bumbling ineptitude in your stories--which hindsight can always make funny somehow--or if you were perfect, then you can laugh at the goobers you epicted with.

This might sound like tooting your own horn to you--to the rest of us (some of whom get outside so rarely these days), experiencing the wilderness and/or hideously painful climbing epics vicariously is the best game in town, and keeps us sane.

If you want to humor me and post up a story, I'd really be interested in reading it. If not, that's fine, too. Keep your damned old adventures to yourself...;-)
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2008 - 05:08pm PT
The BT is very fractured rock, but surprisingly few hikers get in trouble in the gully/chimney. The difficulties are short, and there are lots of (semi-permanent) holds. Most of the loose holds have been pried off, but there are more every spring, due to freeze-thaw. We don't get a lot of thunderstorms, but if it got wet, it would be even more exciting. It's not a trivial place, and I imagine more than a few have their moments there.

There may be climbers who see potential routes - lots of holds, steep, must somehow be ok - but I'm not one of them. If it was 100 km from Los Angeles, maybe another matter.

I still haven't figured out the ladybugs. I've never seen them in the mountains before, let alone in swarms at a peak. Perhaps a good omen. Is there is a resident entomologist who could help, or one of the SuperTopo Know-It-Alls™ ® ©?

My adventure is hardly in the same league as many TRs on SuperTopo, and certainly not anything very exciting or innovative. The report was meant as a bit of whimsy, on a hot afternoon. Perhaps later I will look for some old pictures from the area, or winter shots.

Social climber
My Inner Nut
Aug 16, 2008 - 06:05pm PT
Excellent, Anders. Garabaldi is such a beautiful mountain - always been intrigued by it when climbing at Squamish. Thanks for the note on the arch! That is way cool. Hows the highway project coming along? That wasn't part of the TR, so I presume that it wasn't epic.

The picture of the field of flowers with the mountains in the background was particularly nice!

I find myself pining for the fjords this time of year...

"Pining for the fjords?!? What kind of talk is that? This parrot has ceased to be! It is no more!" Etc...

Thanks, Erik


Social climber
Jtree, now in Alaska
Aug 16, 2008 - 06:54pm PT
AWsome TR, thanks!!

Social climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Aug 16, 2008 - 07:03pm PT
I completely disagree with you Anders.

Your TR is absolutely in the league with the others posted here on the Taco. It was exciting, creative and left me giggling at the subtle and hilarious Anders-humor. Top-notch.

Hurry out and do another adventure so you can tell us about it!


Social climber
Aug 16, 2008 - 11:45pm PT
I enjoyed the TR
It's probably a place to which I'll only get in my minds eye.
Or a Taco TR.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 17, 2008 - 12:26am PT
I was at MEC today, and got a new hiking map for the Garibaldi Lake area. It says that the Coast Salish name for the Black Tusk is NQ'IL'QTENS KU SKENKNAP. It means "seat of thunder", for the rock on which the thunder bird lived. The rock was burnt black by lightning. Learn something new every day. But I still don't know how it's pronounced.

There is tons on the Garibaldi area on the Geological Survey of Canada website, at http://gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/volcanoes/cat/feature_garibaldi_e.php

The last eruption in the Mt. Meager area (100 km northwest) was about 2,350 years ago. There are 13 vents in an area 30 km x 15 km, on the west side of Garibaldi Park. The area first became active several hundred thousand years ago, and the last lava flows were as the main glaciers receded, about 10,000 years ago.

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
Aug 17, 2008 - 01:23am PT
A mighty fine TR from MH. Always wanted to get up there.....someday. Beautiful country with a fun twist of humor.
Great job, thanks.

{tip for dirt}
If the thread title has a (TR) in it, don't read it.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Aug 17, 2008 - 12:13pm PT
Great report--you say you've done an annual 'tour de black tusk'. . . have you noticed, or can you look at previous
photos of the glaciers on the peaks and see their retreat over
the years? Garibaldi looks like a sweet one. Ooooo--glacier
travel & play.
Wonderful report!
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