The Wedgemount Lake hike is located on the northern area of Garibaldi. We
decided to make our trek out to this one as it had been something that we
have looked at for some time in our hiking books. Wedge is actually featured
in several books including the two of the latest and popular books 103 Hikes
and Best Hikes and Walks of Southwestern British Columbia. The latter of the
two featured Wedge as one of the more difficult hikes in the book.
From looking over the hike on the park map, it looks like Wedge is one of
the highest peaks in the park - although you don't actually climb to the
peak in this particular hike - just to the lake. The hike in itself gains
just under 1200m of elevation. Given that the trail is basically 7km each
way, the grade is not extreme, but does gain quite steeply for most of the
hike averaging nearly a 17% grade.
Wedge was basically the hike of our own self made long weekend that we did
while staying at Whistler late summer. We went up Friday, stayed the night
and were up fairly early Saturday so we could be out on the trail. By the
time we got everything together, we left the hotel at around 7am and made it
to the trailhead, got geared up, and were ready to roll by 8am.
The trail started out pretty tame only with modest elevation gain. As we
progressed up the trail we could start to hear rushing water. This was the
sound of the approach to Wedgemount Creek. Upon arriving to the crossover
point to the creek we were presented with a narrow wood footbridge in which
to cross. We took a few moments there to relax for a few moments before
continuing our journey. The sound of the water was quite loud almost
sounding like a chopper.
Once we crossed the creek, we made our way east up the mountain. For most of
the way up we could see the creek - however it was far below the trail (one
of the many reasons the books I have read say bring enough water, you can't
fill up). From this point on, the trail is fairly steep - most of the
elevation gain of the hike (at least 1100m of it) is over the next 6km.
Most of the hike is through forest, with the exception of a few interesting
places such as a boulder field and meadows. A few km up the trail you get
glimpses of the falls where Wedgemount Creek drops. It is quite spectacular.
However, enjoy the distance glimpses - you don't actually get to the falls
(unless you try to make your way over to them.)
A little further along and
you cross through a small meadow. At the time we went there were a few
flowers, but I would imagine that there are times when the flowers are in
full bloom. We made our way around a small creek (not really even on the
map) to the foot of a steep section.
At this time we essentially ascended out of the trees. This was by far the
steepest part of the hike. There were few switchbacks - it essentially was
straight up. At the time we went, it had rained previous days so the trail
was quite wet still - and quite slippery. We made it to the top by shortly
after 11, just over 3hrs after we left.
Upon cresting the top you get the first glimpses of the glacier for Wedge
Mountain and Mount Weart. Upon levelling, you are presented with semi
panoramic views of the the mountains that surround you. We could see a hut
in the distance. We continued along the trail towards the hut and from the
hut we could see the lake below. It was truly magestic. The lake was a
beautiful turquoise set in the bowl of the mountains and glaciers. Towards
the east you could see the Wedge Glacier resting at the edge of the lake.
We were essentially the first ones up that morning. There were a few campers
that stayed the night in the hut. We had our lunch and socialized with them
for a few minutes, but then others started to arrive. We stayed at the top
for very little time considering the effort we made to get there. In
hindsight, we somewhat wish we had walked along the whole lake to the
glacier. Oh well, some other time.
We made our way back down the trail. The rocky climb through the meadows was
more unpleasant going down but once we made it past that point it was clear
sailing for the way home. The switchbacks are quite good to get a clipping
It was quite funny, we thought that the hike might be quieter considering
the fact that the weather hadn't been good up till that day. We ran into
quite a number of hikers making their way up. I can't remember exactly, but
I think the count was 47 (including the campers at the top when we got
there). I think we ended up making it back down by about 3pm. All in all we
spent about 7hrs including an hour we spent for lunch and photo ops. It was
a truly fabulous hike - I'm looking forward to exploring more of Garibaldi.