Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Black Tusk via Microwave Towers

The Black Tusk is one of the more prominent peaks in the Sea to Sky Corridor.  We attempted this scramble two years ago via the traditional route, which is a very well maintained track up from Rubble Creek.  The path is 7.5 or so kilometers to Taylor Meadows, and then an additional 7 from the there to the Tusk.  This makes for a 29 kilometer day (about 20 of which are in the trees).

We didn't get the earliest start, the hike is a little boring/grueling, and when we got to the lake it looked like this:

Black Tusk 2009

That was about as close as we got.  You can see the tusk in the background.  It's the thing that looks like a big, black...tusk.

But our appetites were whetted.  And then last year we acquired some mountain bikes. And learned that there is in fact a microwave tower station located close to the tusk.  And that this station is in fact accessed by a service road.  So a plan was laid.

This route is also described in our favourite scrambling guidebook (although he assumes you will be driving up the access road instead of riding).  The description also mentions a locked gate at 14.8km up the road from the highway. 

Well, it turns out that they installed a new gate.  At about 1.0 km in from the highway (and ~1300m below the old gate).  So the route still works, but only as a cycling approach route.  And only if you are a little depraved. 

Anyways, the plan worked out fairly well.  It turns out they also built an Olympic Village where the old access road used to start, but a few minutes driving had us at the right entrance.  After that, we rode up.  And up some more.  Then there was a little bit of flat:

Black Tusk

And then up some more.

Black Tusk

Finally, we got to the Microwave towers.  At which point it started snowing.  We were also hitting our turnaround time on the day, so decided on a short ridgewalk towards the tusk for some pictures.  Not so climbable today.  Maybe next season.

Black Tusk

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