S2S = Sea to Sky Not Just another Black Tusk Trip Sep. 16th - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2017, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Default Not Just another Black Tusk Trip Sep. 16th

My daughter planned a family Black Tusk trip comprising of her spouse, her brother (my son), her mother (my wife) and her Aunt. As she likes to do stuff legitimately, she could only book overnight camping at Helm Creek. Fair enough I thought, she knows what she's doing. Plan was to pick Aunt up from Horseshoe Bay ferry at 7am and we get to trailhead and hike up to Black Tusk and overnight at Helm Creek on the way back. Some kind of feeling made my look up the distances from Helm to the Tusk. Nowhere could I find a straightforward estimate. The BC Parks website broke it out from Helm Creek to Helm Pass and Helm Pass to trail instersection with Taylor Meadows and from there to Black Tusk look out. In my dismay, I saw that this all added up to approx. 11.5 km's one way. As 3 of us are in our 50's and my wife's abhorence of physical discomfort, we tried to come to grips with doing 23 km's in addition to the slog up to Helm Creek of 8.5 km's. As I've been doing alot of hiking this summer, I thought it would be a bit of a sufferfest towards the end, but I could do it by pre-Aleve'ing myself. My sister in law runs almost 10 miles a day but has never overnight back packed and my wife - the survivor of many car accidents in her late teens was iffy. We could arm her with a can of bear spray and leave her at the side of the trail when she couldn't go on. I was curious when I looked at Park's maps why there wasn't a more direct route from Helm to the Tusk as it appeared pretty close. It seemed ridiculous to go almost to the Taylor Meadows trail to go onto the right path. Naturally with this back drop in mind, I was purusing the horizon as we set forth from Helm Creek after ditching the heavy camping stuff. So, as we hit Helm Lake I looked across and saw some sweet looking meadows in amongst some dead trees. I imagined a path through this to attain a ridge on the horizon before the Tusk (see picture 1). From our vantage point at the end of Helm Lake, I saw a smaller pointy objective that I imagined could lead to the summit, but I didn't know for sure (picture 2 below the left side non snow bumps). I polled our group and every one was surprisingly game to give my scheme a try. So off we went around to the right of the lake where amazingly there was a natural footbridge of boulders that crossed the lake drainage. So as we made our way up the meadows and scree (that was surprisingly consolidated and didn't lead to much back sliding) we attained a ridge that made its way up to the bumps in the aforementioned picture. At this point a fairly steep scree shoulder revealed a faint footpath. Once we attained to top, it yielded a spectacular cirque above the snow with a definite trail on the ridge (see pictures 3 and 4). This led to the shoulder below the peak. The rest is fairly well described. Next a shot of the infamous chimney (first 15 meters that also functions as a choke point and a divider of the brave and the faint of heart). And the obligatory vanity shot of your's truly. The denouement of this tale is that our little bushwack/trail imagining where there was none was a round trip of 13 km's vs the estimated 23 - a not insignificant saving of 10 km's. This allowed all pre-geezers to make it to the summit (or just below) plus the additional adulation of those that saw us coming across the knife ridge. Made it back to camp before we lost the sun.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 10:29 AM
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Hard as heck to read, but thanks for posting. Pretty sweet you saved 10km of hiking from the normal route.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 12:57 PM
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It's a great area, can always use a few more Tusk reports, especially from the other other side! Way to get out there with the fam.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-20-2017, 07:28 PM
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Loved the pics, thx for the TR!

"our little bushwack/trail imagining where there was none was a round trip of 13 km's vs the estimated 23 - a not insignificant saving of 10 km's. This allowed all pre-geezers to make it to the summit"

Speaking as a genuine pre-geezer, with a decreasing capacity for spine bruising treks, I'm wondering if you GPS plotted your body saving route? It would be a treat to view it in Google Earth or on some mapping app ... heck it'd be great if you just draw it on map as best you can. My last trip up the chimney was in 1976, after an obligatory crushingly long day and well before buggered knees, arthritis and general cowardice set in
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-21-2017, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hah. In true pre-geezer fashion, I have a hard time with my Garmin etrex 30. I'm almost ready to invoke the MEC rock solid guarantee to get something more intuitive. So short answer, I did have it on, but deleted it all so I could have the thing unimpeded by prior stuff on the way back to the parking lot on day 2. I would be happy to describe my route based on the pictures (see attached). Once on the skyline of the second picture, trend south west to reach saddle leading to the tusk.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2017, 10:08 PM
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I've done the same route in reverse. When coming down off of Black Tusk I have followed the ridge down towards Empetrum and then eventually followed meadows down to the shore of Helm Lake. Then countoured around the lake to the trail. Yeah, no official trail through there but it gets a bit of traffic.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-24-2017, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinman610 View Post
I've done the same route in reverse. When coming down off of Black Tusk I have followed the ridge down towards Empetrum and then eventually followed meadows down to the shore of Helm Lake. Then countoured around the lake to the trail. Yeah, no official trail through there but it gets a bit of traffic.
Yes. Saw the odd bit of human traffic footprints. My only hesitation on advertising this is that if everyone started tramping through the meadows willy-nilly, it may have a negative impact on vegetation etc. On the other hand a saving of almost 10km's was hard to resist...
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 01:06 PM
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Good info on this alternative route, many thanks. Next season I shall load up on Ibuprofen and give it a go
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-25-2017, 08:52 PM
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Congrats on the trip up to Black Tusk. I did this a few weeks back and it was an absolute slog going up the pea-gravel like section from the main sign to the lookout point. Climbing to the top of Black Tusk was easier than doing a hand stand. I understand your challenges, I face the same situation as numerous injuries and age settle into these creaky bones. Great to see another trip report with Helm Creek in it.
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