Headed for the Mountains
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Squamish, BC, Canada.
1) That's a very reasonable trip and could likely be easily completed in 3 days instead of 4. Garibaldi Lake/Taylor Meadows campground will be busy and does fill up. Helm Creek, less so. Lots of additional trips in the area (Price and Clinker give good views of Mount Garibaldi and the lake). Expect some snow to remain on the ground in July.
2) Russet isn't nicer, just different. Much less busy. By approaching from Whistler Gondola via the bumps, you will avoid having to approach from the valley bottom (and the high note trail on Whistler is quite nice). Approaching via the Singing Pass Trail, same elevation gain as Garibaldi Lake Trail, slightly rougher trail, but much more peaceful. You could very likely do three days at Garibaldi Lake/Black Tusk, followed by one day at Russet.
Alternatively, spending more time at Russet, you could explore Whirlwind, Fissile, and Overlord all without glacier travel and have the place entirely to yourself.
3) If an established trail exists for the route you are travelling, stay on it (for example en route to Black Tusk). Don't braid trails. If there is no established trail where you want to go, for example from the cinder flats towards Gentian Peak or Castle Towers, you will have to go off trail and be respectful of the alpine flora.
4) Mountain Lakes Hut above Britannia Beach, Tricouni/Cypress area between Sq and Whistler, Downton Creek area on the Duffy Lake Road, Tenquile Lake area near Pemberton, Railroad Pass Group on the Hurley.