September 26, 2021
At some point in your life, but not likely in your 20's, 30's, or even 40's, you start to consider that it might be the last time you get to experience a place like Panorama Ridge. Well the last time I climbed to the top of Panorama Ridge I had just turned 50 and it was pretty exhausting to make it that time. What would it be like at 56?
The first 8 or so km are uneventful and are just a 2 hour slog to reach the meadows. Unless of course you were one of the dozen or so trail Runners that day which probably did it in half that. First time out of the old growth it starts to open up at Taylor Meadows.
Surprisingly for a late September hike and with the parking restrictions in place it was one of the busier days I have seen on the way to Panorama and the most I have ever seen on the top of it. Next, Black Tusk came into view across the meadows.
Hard to get lost with the number of people around, the signs, and the maps. This one at the upper junction of the trail back down to Garibaldi Lake very near the junction with Black Tusk trail and the last outhouse if you need it. Map was not on the signboard but instead on the ground. Group members asked if we can go to the lake. And I replied that the first objective was to reach Panorama Ridge and after that we will see how much time and energy is left for side trips.
You start to get some peek a boo views of Garibaldi Lake looking back.
Upon reaching the saddle with Helm Creek/Lake the volcanic nature of the area becomes apparent with Cinder Cone and the flats made out of fine grained volcanic cinder material.
From the saddle you can start to look up at the objective. Trail goes through the sparse trees which offers a small amount of protection but not for long.
Looking back down on Cinder Flats and the beaten trail going across it.
Looking up the ridge line at right center that you now ascend. Mostly simple scrambling but pretty slippery talus at times. Also to left is a pocket glacier that is slowly disappearing.
View looking across valley to Black Tusk which I went up about 4 years ago.
A couple of Garibaldi Lake shots from the top. I love the "Table" which is the flat topped dark coloured feature just in front of Mount Garibaldi. Formed by volcanic activity under the glaciation that covered the area at the time.
Looking back towards first subpeak which had dozens of people on it. Also the pocket glacier which this late in the year has little snow on it and so you can see the ice and crevasses. To think I have butt slided down that a few times when it was covered in snow. That was before I had ever seen it exposed. Wouldnt try it anymore.
Looking down into upper Helm Creek and Cinder Cone.
And finally some shots on the way back. First from the shore of Garibaldi Lake where we did take that side trip which only added a couple km.
And a nice shot of the "Barrier" that holds back Garibaldi Lake from emptying into the valley below. Very unstable rock as it is very friable and continually eroding.
So the trip was accomplished. But it may be the last time reaching these heights. What was once an 8 hour hike for me and would often have many side trips to Cinder Cone, Gentian, even doubling Black Tusk and Panorama .. is now 10 hours and thoroughly exhausting. But never say never again.