I think I have mentioned before and I am sure many people are aware that Whistler and the surrounding area has an incredible amount of awesome hikes and treks. I did one a couple of summers ago with some friends that was arduous but extremely rewarding. Wedge Lake. A beautiful glacier lake nestled in the mountains between Wedge Mountain and the Armchair Glacier. In my post ‘Reminiscing’ I have a couple of photos of both these peaks from afar.
The trek starts of at the Wedgemont trail-head car park about a 10 minute drive north of Whistler. You can leave your car there overnight, get dropped off or take a taxi (about $30 one way) to the start. It begins with a fairly mellow trail into the forest past some nice views and a small but fast flowing river/waterfalls. The gradient then begins to change quite rapidly and pretty soon we were climbing fast. It almost felt as though it was vertical. We weren’t rushing, so we took our time, had a bit of lunch and if I remember correctly it took us about 4 hours to get to the hut at Wedge Lake.
Getting close to the campsite
The hut is very basic, there was 7 of us and we fit in the hut snugly. There are a few tent sites around the place if you’re worried there won’t be room in the hut or you have an obsession with tents.
It was an incredible afternoon and we had made good time so there was plenty of time to relax and soak in the surroundings. The views were nothing less than stunning.
It was a hot day, so dipping in the glacier lake was refreshing. Definitely didn’t need long in there though.
Pretty amazing spot to relax for the afternoon
Armchair and Wedgmont peak
We managed to see a pretty amazing cloud show as the mist crept up the valley towards us. I only had my old point and shoot so the pictures aren’t the greatest, however you can get the idea. It was almost as though we were watching a cloud river into a crazy waterfall. It was an eerie feeling watching the mist creep up towards us until it came by in wisps. It was a beautiful clear night, and the glacier lake looked amazing with its misty green colour.
Early the next day we arose early as we had brought some glacier travel gear and wanted to get out on the glacier and climb the peak to watch the sunrise over the ‘Weart Glacier’. We had some experience in the group, we also had some inexperience, so it was interesting traveling at first. We had a fairly steep pitch to conquer early and with one half of our group ascending first, the second half had a moment of breathlessness when a head torch from the frontrunners slipped off and slid 15o metres straight down the slope. We realised pretty quickly there was no one attached to it and relieved we carried on.
We didn’t end up making the summit as the route we had chosen turned out to be pretty hectic and beyond the groups level of skill, so we decided to let that one go. We did, however, get to watch and absolutely magnificent sunrise. Looking across the glacier that seemed to go on indefinitely the sun sent out amazing colours across the snow and ice. Definitely something I will do again, hopefully soon.
The trickier path to the peak. Beyond some of our capabilities. For now.
Once the sun had risen, it was a gorgeous day.
On the way back to the hut, we passed a couple of crevices which was cool to see, it did also remind us where we were and not to get to complacent.
Melting Glacier. Flowing quickly underneath
Once back at the lake, we were able to have a look at an ice formation where the glacier meets the lake. It formed a sort of ice cave and the colour of the ice was sensational. A beautiful deep blue that was captivating.
Glacier meeting the lake
Glacier meeting the lake
Upon exiting the glacier and starting down on the hiking trail back to the hut, we were treated to some more creeping mist. This time over the green of the lake.
Back to the lake
The trek down was suitably difficult. It always seems like a massive chore coming down. Fatigue, stiffness, hunger, thirst and heading towards home always gets me thinking of a shower and a beer or two. It was challenging coming down the steep path but it is incredible being amongst that forest.
It is possible to hike to the lake and back in a day, just make sure you leave early and take lots of water. A trip that wasn’t a walk in the park, but certainly well worth it. The sun and the rain we have had recently should enable us to get up hiking into the alpine very very soon.