Black Tusk

Climb to one of the most striking features in the Sea to Sky mountains

Hiking Extreme

Distance
26 km
Ascent
1.8 km
Descent
1.8 km
Duration
7-8 hrs
Low Point
571 m
High Point
2.3 km
Gradient
24˚
VIEW ON MAP
Black Tusk Map

Description

Due to its prominence and spectacular appearance, Black Tusk is one of the most popular scrambles in the Whistler/Vancouver area. The ascent is strenuous, but earns you terrific views over the glaciated Garibaldi mountains. Be warned that whilst initially on a trail, the last part of the route involves difficult scrambling, and a helmet is recommended.

Most hikers choose to end just before the true summit, which is separated by a steep notch and is a Class 5 mountaineering objective. The map shown here runs all the way to the top of the mountain, but be sure to only attempt the final pitch if you're adequately prepared.

This route runs concurrently with the Garibaldi Lake Hike. The Black Tusk trail heads up through meadows. Creeks here provide the last water source. You then hit scree slopes and follow them to the ridge at 2150m. The views are great even from here, making it a good place for non-scramblers to stop.

Once you reach the chimney/ascent gulley it’s best to climb one at a time to avoid being hit by falling rocks. Keep right to find and follow a narrow gully which leads to a well-worn path finishing at the south summit. Be sure to return the same way!

Make sure you access the weather conditions throughout the day and be prepared to turn back if needed.

Sources: Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia by Matt Gunn; 4th Edition, 2017; Cairn Publishing

Difficulty

Extreme

Scrambling up mountains and along technical trails with moderate fall exposure. Handholds are necessary to navigate the trail in its entirety, although they are not necessary at all times. Some obstacles can be very large and difficult to navigate, and the grades can often be near-vertical. The challenge of the trail and the steepness of the grade results in very strenuous hiking. Hikes of this difficulty blur the lines between "hiking" and "climbing".

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area