Level: Difficult

Distance: 18 km r/t

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Time: 8½ h r/t

Elevation Change: 1189 m

Topographical Map: Whistler 92J/2

Season: July to Sept

Access: See Getting to Whistler

Get off the bus where a blue BC Parks sign indicates Wedgemount Lake. If the bus driver doesn't know where that is tell him to look for a turnout just 11 km north of Whistler Village. From Highway 99 cross the BC Rail tracks and the Green River before turning left onto the abandoned logging road that will serve as a trail for the first 3 km. After the first two kilometres the trail becomes very steep, an attribute it will retain for the rest of the hike.

Soon after crossing the log bridge over Wedgemount Creek you'll be engulfed by a forest of old-growth conifers marking the boundary of Garibaldi Provincial Park. This is what the surrounding countryside used to look like. The forest gradually begins to thin out as altitude is gained eventually giving way to scrub and talus. This last pitch, known as the "Stairmaster," is the steepest of all but those who persevere will be richly rewarded.

Turquoise Wedgemount Lake lies at the foot of a nest of stupendous glacier-clad peaks. Garibaldi Park's highest, 2686 metre Wedge Mountain, dominates the picture. A single arm of Wedgemount Glacier reaches down to gently touch the lakeshore at its far end. Perched above the near end is the beehive-shaped shelter erected by the B.C. Mountaineering Club. For those willing to grunt up the trail with a full backpack there is also a wilderness campsite. Whether on an overnighter or an extended day trip be sure to leave enough time to explore the glacier close up. Never, of course, cross an icefield without the proper training and equipment. Extra caution should also be taken when making the return descent, especially when laden with gear.

Glacial-fed streams and lakes contain an inordinate amount of clay suspended in the water, hence the lovely bluish-green colour. Look for water trickling down from the melting snow pack for drinking instead. Due to the elevation you should even be able to find patches of the white stuff well into September.

The End


Nodding Onion

Nodding Onion

Packing fresh veggies along on the trail may be impractical due to weight or time considerations. Widely-available nodding onion imparts a welcomed taste of green to almost any dish except granola perhaps. Both white bulb and green stalk can be used like green onions or chives. Rubbing the crushed bulbs on exposed skin is said to keep mosquitoes, black flies and maybe even your traveling companions away. Nodding onion is commonly available throughout the province though toxic death camas looks deceptively similar to nodding onion to the uninitiated. To verify, crush a bit of the plant. Only the edible species gives off an unmistakable onion smell.

Illustration by Manami Kimura