Friday, October 9, 2009

Part I - Black Tusk

Three Iconic Hikes - One Day.... Part I - Black Tusk
  • Black Tusk - 7,608 ft
  • Distance Covered: ~30km
  • Elevation Gain: approx. 5,000 ft
  • Our Time: 5:13:00

Keith and I arrived in the Rubble Creek parking lot at about 6:15am... it was pitch black while we loaded our packs and got our headlamps adjusted. It was cold so we both opted for a light jackets/layers... (those stayed on for about 15 minutes then became extra, unnecessary weight... awesome.)

The hike starts out with a heavily forested section with switchbacks... the pitch doesn't look that steep but it all depends on your pace and ours felt fast to begin. (Thanks Keith!)

5 minutes in I was hurting... heart pounding, breathing heavy. I was worried that this "three peaks" idea was one of the worst I had ever come up with. Fortunately, my body settled in to the work and I started to feel much better before long... maybe just needed to wake up.

The sun was up at about the same time as we emerged from the forest onto a beautiful alpine meadow... things got flatter for a few kms and we were making great time. It was at about that time that we started to encounter snow and ice on the trail. It wasn't a big deal but we still had a long way to go and the presence of the white stuff was bound to slow us down a lot.

The snow was not part of our plan, but we handled it. It got a lot deeper as we climbed and became very challenging at times with my running leg which is the exact opposite of a snowshoe - it dives deep in the snow. It also has little to offer in the way of surface area so traction is sketchy on snow and ice.

For a while I was concerned the snow would make it impossible to reach the top, but once I realized we would get there I began to enjoy it... sure it was tough, but it made the last few sections so much more exciting. Looking back on the day and all three peaks, this was one of my very favourite parts.

Some video to give you an idea of the last few sections....

Our pace was WAY slower with the snow and therefore it felt pretty cold up near the top... by the time we got there we only wanted to stay long enough to snap a picture or two and head right back down.

The view of the lake and the surrounding mountains is pretty incredible. The pictures do a better job of depicting the alpine drama than my words.

Coming down was a blast! We started by snow running/skiing/slipping/falling down the top section. Then we ran the flat meadow section and almost all of the forest section. I'm not sure but we probably ran 12km or so on the way down to the parking lot.

This is an awesome day hike and I definitely want to go back and take it a little slower... enjoy the scenery and spend some time. I think allowing 7 or 8 hours would make a pretty great day with time to explore... we were rushing, and with the snow it took us 5:13. That put us ahead of our schedule by 45 minutes... that advantage would come in very handy by the time we found ourselves on The Lions watching the sun set!

Highlights: The peak in the snow - probably -3°c but sunny. Using Sharman's shirt to protect my bare leg and cut through the snow. Running down... we were fresh, feeling great and making good time.

More Photos:

Keith - and the other side of the Tusk

Myself - Tusk right behind me...

Keith - and the side we came up...

Video of us completing the Tusk...

TOMORROW: Part II - The Chief

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RunningLaur said...

Wow, Meyrick, VERY impressive! What fantastic scenery too!

Jill Costantino said...

So beautiful! I can't believe you guys did all of that in one day CRAZY!!!

Ryan Denner said...