Garibaldi Neve and The Barrier
A classical glacial traverse in the Sea to Sky
Ski Touring Moderate
- 37 km
- 1.7 km
- 2.1 km
- 1 day +
- Low Point
- 572 m
- High Point
- 2.1 km
Start from the Elfin Lakes Parking Area and pass Elfin Hut. The descent to Ring Creek is the first crux. It's tempting to leave skins on but, especially for less confident skiers, it's much more pleasant to take skins off and ski down to the creek. Be cautious of the big south facing slide paths off the Gargoyles that you have to cross to reach the creek - these get sun early in the day!
From here, start the long climb up towards the Garibaldi Neve and eventually the Warren Glacier. As you reach the head of the creek and gain the flat glacier, it's time to rope up. This track follows the "low route". At it's high point, you avoid a large cornice/crevasse by staying just south of it with a rock outcrop as a landmark. Then you traverse the North Pitt Glacier towards the Sharkfin. Alternatively, you can climb higher up towards Mt. Garibaldi and get a longer ski run down to the Sharkfin.
The climb up to Sentinal Glacier is short in comparison and then you have a long descent to Garibaldi Lake. If it's icy, you can quickly skate to the other side. If it's snowy, it's a long skin. From the ranger cabins at the top of Rubble Creek, gain the summer trail down to Lesser Garibaldi Lake and then follow the creek to Barrier Lake. At the outflow, you have the choice to make a short climb back up to regain the summer trail and descend the switchbacks OR follow this track down The Barrier. This is a shortcut on a very steep slope that's very sun exposed. It's not advised unless you're confident in conditions and your legs are feeling good for steep skiing (harder with a big pack!).
When you drop low on the barrier, make sure to cross to the North side (skier's right) of rubble creek as you're leaving the big avalanche debris paths. If you ski too far down on the left side, you'll get stuck on that side of the creek. Basically, as early as possible, cross the creek to avoid difficulty! Then ski nice glades down the right side to hit a short bootpack up to the first switchback on the Rubble Creek Summer Trail (at the 2.5km marker). From here, cruise (or walk) the trail to the carpark! Be sure to only commit to the Barrier descent if you're confident in snow coverage down low and the avalanche conditions up high! The Summer trail is a slower but safer alternative.
An easy addition to the classic Neve Traverse is a summit of the NE Face of Mt. Garibaldi. From the high point on the route, head straight up the Warren Glacier to the broad NE Face and boot it directly to the summit. This is a steep ski line and often firm and icy near the summit. Be cautious of crevasses lower down and a big bergshrund on the face. Well worth it when conditions are good!
Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.
Best time to visit
- Ski Mountaineering
- Ice axe
- Glacier kit