Climbing in Squamish on the weekends is often not a good idea. All of the city folk swoop in from Vancouver and the whole place becomes a mad house. So weekends are good for rest days. This weekend the rain provided an additional assentive to not climb. So I went up by Whistler to hike the Black Tusk.
I read that there were two starting points both about the same distance (16 miles round trip). I picked one and set out early in the morning to do it in a day.
The forests here are amazing. The thick canopy provides little sun to the floor, so there is little undergrowth. But plenty of moss. It was inches thick in some places, like a miniature forest.
The rock is volcanic, and made for interesting terrain. The rain, wind, and elevation combined forces to make it rather cold.
Once I got close to the Tusk, I found aa trail sign with distances and I realized it was 11 miles (not 8) for going one way. A little further than I had planned.
Getting up the slope of the Tusk was rather strenuous. With plenty of loose scree, it was almost literally two steps forward and one step back. Eventually I dropped my pack so I could make better time.
To reach the summit there is a chimney scramble that must be climbed. Just getting to the start of it was interesting. Every step sent a shower of loose rocks tumbling down and out of sight. Once you entered the chimney, the wind funneled through carrying plenty of cold rain with it.
I got about half way up the chimney when I hit my “sketch limit.” The rock was wet and slick, holds were loose and coming out, and my fingers were numb from the cold so I couldn’t tell what was good or bad. So I down climbed and started the return hike. Going down the scree was much faster (and fun) than going up. I retrieved my pack and made the 11 miles back to my car with daylight to spare.