Tag Archives: Gargoyles

Elfin Lakes 06/04/12

Carollyne at Elfin Lakes and beyond:
“Nima and Amir joined me for this snowshoe trip that didn’t go entirely as originally planned, but was still very rewarding. The drive up was uneventful – much of the snow had melted from the chain up area onwards and as the chain up area was empty of cars, we decided to try the rest of the drive and we made it easily with snow tires. The upper parking lot was a little jammed and the ranger doubled as a parking attendant, asking people to move their vehicles to make more room.

Along the winter route, the weather was better than the forecast, resulting in great views of big dark clouds looming over the mountains along with sunny breaks as we made our way to Elfin Shelter. The snow was a lot softer than two weeks before, requiring snowshoes while still in the trees. A very peculiar sight was a perfectly rectangular black cloud. Snow is deep enough at Elfin Shelter that the entrance is on the second floor and the main floor is more like a cave. We had a choice of bunks when we arrived, though by sunset the floor was covered with thermarests and by morning there were a few people sleeping downstairs as well. After dinner, a gorgeous sunset and orange moonrise made it hard to stay inside. Earplugs provided me a restful sleep eventually.

The next day, in brilliant sunshine, we set out for the Gargoyles and Little Diamond Head joined by a skier we met at the hut. My backcountry skier envy temporarily ceased when I saw the difficulty of negotiating tight switchbacks on the way up. However, following the route already set was still easier than breaking trail up the soft and somewhat sticky snow. Along the way, we saw recent avalanche run-outs from Columnar Peak that were within a metre of our route. Up on the saddle between Columnar and the Gargoyles we enjoyed the view, felt the amazingly cold wind from the glacier and watched another skier cut a a knee-deep track down to the pass between where we were and Little Diamond Head. Mini avalanches were falling from the north facing cornices on Columnar and we started wondering about the avalanche risk, our lack of avi equipment and tried to estimate how many hours it would take us to go down to the bottom, go back up and do the same on the return. We could see the route through the pass but could not see any tracks on the south face of Little Diamond Head. We decided to go up toward the peak of the Gargoyles to see if we could get a better view, and after being blasted with blowing snow and ice granules, ultimately decided the original plan was a bit too risky and might take too long, so we opted for a return.

We might have just psyched ourselves out, but next time I do this I’ll bring avi gear. So, our two-nighter ended up as a one-nighter with a return trip to the car with under bluebird skies. Still a great day, just not entirely as planned.”


Elfin Lakes 10/09/11

Stuart at Elfin Lakes:
“The Gran Fondo bike event worked in our favour with the exception of an over enthusiastic volunteer who closed off the Sea to Sky Hwy at Horseshoe Bay at 5am instead of 6.30am. After a short detour through Horseshoe Bay and breakfast in Squamish four diehards set of at the trailhead at 6.50am. We had the whole trail to ourselves in the morning and hiked the ridge in the shade as the sun was still low in the sky. We arrived at Elfin Lakes at 9.30am and lucked out as the water was like glass providing amazing reflections of the backdrops. The cabin was fairly empty with just a few hikers who came in the night before. After 1 ½ hours at the Lakes the group decided to take in the Gargoyles as it was still morning and we thought we would be able to get away from the persistent black flies to eat lunch but no such luck. Heading up the Saddle Trail and the additional 6km hike/scramble to the Gargoyles is rewarded with amazing vistas of Columnar Peak, and back towards Elfin Lakes. Watch out for the small blue frozen lake to the North, but even cooler was the hiker at the summit reading a Kindle. We returned to Elfin Lakes for a dip to cool off in the refreshing glacial waters before heading back to the parking lot. Parts of the ridge and Saddle Trails are still covered in snow providing a means to cool off.”


Elfin Lakes 18/09/10

Malin at Elfin Lakes:
“Six adventurous Wanderung members braved wet weather and vehicle problems on Saturday morning and headed up to Elfin Lakes for the weekend. Light rain fell continuously on our way up to the Red Heather hut, but the showers got less frequent after that. By the time we arrived at Elfin Lakes the sun actually poked through the clouds and we had lunch by the lake. After lunch we left our heavy bags in the hut and headed towards the saddle between the Gargoyles and Columnar Peak. The trail was incredibly slippery, but the hike well worth it as the clouds started burning off when we reached the saddle. From the saddle we headed up to the Gargoyles, where we enjoyed great views of the Diamond Head, Diamond Glacier, Opal Cone and Elfin Lakes. Despite the wet weather the hut filled up completely and it was nice to retreat to the quiet tents. In the morning we headed towards the Opal Cone. Surprisingly we made it all the
way, despite some heavy rain and the washed out trail. We even had some nice views! The bridge over Ring Creek was in place, but people should always check: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/garibaldi/trail_report.pdf for the most current information. Thanks to Rob for the directions to the
Cone and to everyone else who joined me on this great adventure.”