Panorama Ridge... almost
Switchbacks of Doom. One of these days I really have to try it from Cheakamus. Hit the trail at 7:15, made it to the Taylor Meadows Hut (7.5km) in under 2 hours. Kept up the pace across the meadows and by the time I began to ascend the Ridge, The Winds From Hell came in. Blisteringly cold, felt like a sandblaster on my face. Eroded my tracks in less than a minute. I kept pushing, hoping it would die down, but it got even worse. I was less than a km away from the top, when I decided to call it. I had also lost one of my micro spikes and my water tube froze. Would have been my first ascent of the Ridge. I wasn’t the only one that made the same call either. The hike down off the ridge was brutal, I was walking into the wind, hood would barely stay on my face.
I was very surprised by the lack of preparedness of many hikers. It is full on winter conditions... microspikes are non negotiable... tons of ice on the trail and people were in running shoes as if it was summer. It was so cold that taking my gloves off to take a picture hurt. The amount of people with no gloves or toque astounded me. Hands crammed into pockets.
The worst of it was when I finally made it to the switchbacks there was maybe 3 hours of daylight left... and that’s if you’re on the coast, and there were still day trippers headed up! I passed my last person at around the 2km mark and it was almost 3pm. The sun had already gone behind the mountains! have no idea what their plans were. Some looked prepared for conditions, many did not. I suspect many did not even have a headlamp.
Before I even started, I had a hard turnaround time. No matter where I was at 5 hours in I would turnaround. I kept watch on my pace and was constantly doing math in my head to keep on target. It was a great day out. 27km in under 8 hours, averaged about 17min/km. Can’t wait to go back to tag the elusive view!
Early November is time to go for Pano Ridge IMHO because of snowy landscape with lake still blue color. I've done it 5 or 6 times this time of year, but never with such bad wind. Timing to watch sunset from the ridge is great because except for maybe last 45min whole thing can easily be hiked back with headlamp. Do come back by all means, this is what awaits:
Did you have to register with BC Parks? There was some talk earlier that one has now to get a permit for Garibaldi Park
Try it from the Cheakamus side. Only slightly longer but the extra distance is across Cinder Flats so no big deal. Much fewer people come in from that side.
Problem with Cheakamus, if you are coming from South, is longer drive time. Also access road used to be quite rough, don't know if it improved now.
But yes, hike is quite lovely once above treeline. With enough energy one can even do a loop, up to Gentian ridge from Helm Campground, traverse all the way to Gentian Peak, then down to Pano ridge and loopback to main artery and out. August/Sep timeframe trip, not now. I traversed Gentian ridge from Helm on approach to Castle Towers, and to this day it stands as probably best ridgewalk on BC Coast
[Black Tusk from Start of Gentian Ridge. Helm Campground would be lower extreme right]
[Further along Gentian Ridge; Gentian Peak in center left, Pano ridge right]
Great trip and most beautiful pictures. Two of us did a traverse from Cheakamus Lake TH to Rubble Creek TH, including ascent to top of the ridge in summer conditions.
Great area, and thank you for that report. I too suffered painful hands trying to take photos this last sunday (Nov.08) in the Coquihalla area..
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