Garibaldi NE Face and The Tent

Garibaldi NE Face Trip – Quick Stats

  • Range – Coast Mountains
  • Alpine Rating (IFAS) – AD-
  • Summit Elevation – 2,678m
  • Difficulty Notes – easy hike to Brohm Ridge and continuing to the glacier, easy glacier travel, ascent from ice field to summit is steep with multiple crevasses to navigate and a significant bergschrund.
  • Park – turn off highway 99 at the Cat Lake Provincial Park sign outside of Squamish.  Continue along the dirt road, at the Cat Lake sign 1.3km from the highway, go left and stay on this road.  4WD recommended.
  • Nessessities – Ice axe, crampons

Garibaldi Trip in Photos

Travelling on Brohm Ridge, snowmobiler’s paradise.
The Sharkfin with the Garibaldi Lake Peaks and Gray Pass.

Garibaldi Trip in Detail

Anthony and I camped under the stars at a little viewpoint on the road up to Brohm Ridge, and were met the next morning by Dan, Mike, and Mel.  We set off up the road, after only making it approximately 5km from the highway before being stopped by the snow and having to park our vehicles.  We made good time to the old ski lodge and cabin, now leased by the Black Tusk Snowmobile Club, who maintain the buildings and post signs warning that hikers are not allowed inside.  After learning about the lodge and peering through the windows filled with curiosity on a previous recon hike, we ended up getting to check it out after making conversation with a couple of snowmobilers who were preparing for a club party that evening.

We continued towards the ridge, passing the remnants of the old gondola – never once operated, or even completed.  We saw our first bear print on the way to the ridge, and made good time climbing to the little pass near Barry’s peak – a small peak named in memory of a founder of the snowmobile club.

The ridge to Brohm Pinnacle was gentle and rolling, though foreshortened and seemed to stretch on.  We finally made it to the pinnacle, feeling a bit drained by the hot sun, and rested and ate our lunch, letting our boots and socks dry in the sun.  A group of snowmobilers enjoyed a viewpoint nearby, complete with camp chairs and beer, before joining us on the pinnacle saying we had inspired them.

The next section was tricky, climbing down through thick brush and deep, melting snow, to reach the glacial moraine that led alongside the Warren Glacier.  Once reaching the glacier, we made easy travel across, passing some striking but intimidating icefall at the base of the peak.  Again, this distance was foreshortened.  Rather than heading straight to the dip in the glacier and climbing up, we side traversed trying to make a short cut of it.  Ankles and feet hurting, we ended up taking much longer than expected to reach our camp spot on the upper North Pitt Glacier at the base of the final ascent of the peak (see photo above of our camp).  We had dinner and enjoyed a beautiful sunset, getting into bed early.

The next morning we woke at 3:45.  Anthony, Dan, Mike and I prepared for the summit, but Mel elected to stay behind; a smart decision as it was her first winter camping trip and she was not confident about the climb ahead.

In pitch black, we set off.  The bergschrund was fully covered, offering no difficulty and we simply cut right up the north east face of the peak, Dan leading with perfect switchbacks until the final push.  We made it to the summit just before sunrise, and enjoyed watching the faint pink horizon glow turn into a spectacular show of colours as we rested.

After multiple photos and taking turns traipsing around the summit to check out alternate routes, we made our way back down as intended, the way we came.  In the fairly deep snow it was easy to walk down feeling secure.

At this point the boys made their way to Tent.  As Garibaldi was my first big peak, I felt accomplished enough for the day and knew that if I hurried back I would be able to take my mat and sleeping bag out of the tent and nap on the glacier in the early morning sun.  I volunteered to pick up Dan’s pole, which he had abandoned for his ice axe earlier on that morning as the ascent steepened.  It was a perfect opportunity to practice self arresting, and I did so multiple times much to my satisfaction.  Now I felt accomplished and extra prepared, safe, and even a bit experienced.

As I had hoped, I made it back with time to enjoy a warm, relaxing nap on the glacier.  Mel had been able to sleep well after we had left her, and she lounged on our little bench nearby.  When the boys returned, we packed up and made good time back to the vehicles.  We found the snow to have melted considerably on the road, however, it still wasn’t passable in a vehicle.

We all got changed out of our wet clothes quickly and cracked a few ciders and cokes, satisfied by a great trip.  We had planned to stop at one of our usual favourites, Mag’s 99, but they had a new menu and were super busy, a combination that meant it would be a long time for food.  Instead, we hit the road and enjoyed a great snack at Mel’s house, prepared by her awesome parents, who were thankful we had brought her home safe!

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