Wedgemount Lake

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Wedgemount Lake is a beautiful alpine lake just North of Whistler, located in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The area is best known for it's spectacular scenary and excellent mountaineering. The most popular routes are the snow and ice climbs on the north side of Wedge Mountain.


Directions

Drive

Follow highway 99 North to Squamish and Whistler. Past Whistler (11.5km), take the Wedgemount Lake Road turnoff. See google maps for description untill here. This turnoff is on the right side of the road, after passing Green Lake. At present (summer 2007) the Wedgemount Lake Road can be driven with a normal 2WD (no low-riders though). Turn left after crossing the railroad and Green River, at the next fork go right (up a hill, a sign indicates the route to Wedgemount Lake). Just a bit further up, ignore the overgrown Rethel Creek Spur that branches off to the right. Road's end is about 2km from Hwy 99 turnoff (parking and outhouse).

Approach

From the trailhead, follow the Wedgemount Lake Trail (1150m elevation gain in ~7km) which is steep but easy to follow. It is a 2.5-4 hour hike to the lake, depending on your fitness and your load.

The Hut

There is a small cabin at 1900m on a rocky knoll above Wedgemount Lake. The hut is dark, only sleeps about 8 people, and is minimally equipped. There are many good camp sites around the hut, and it is a popular social gathering place for mountaineers in the summer.

There is plenty of camping space around the hut, as well as about 10 minutes further along the north shore of Wedgemount lake (outhouse in summer).

Activities

Hiking

Most people just hike up to the lake for the day, then go back down, but there is much more to do. The area around the lake is barren, so there is not much use for trails. At the far end of the lake is the toe of the Wedgemount Glacier. Also, an ascent of Mt. Cook can be made without encountering any difficult terrain. Just start going uphill from the cabin through meadows, then trend left along a bench to meet the mountain's west ridge, and then follow the ridge to the summit. Climbing Cook would be an ambitous daytrip from the road with a vertical gain of nearly 2000m.

Scrambling and mountaineering routes

The scrambling and mountaineering routes around the lake are excellent, with a good selection of easy to moderate rock, snow and ice climbs. The must do classic mountaineering route is the North Arete of Wedge Mountain.

Around Wedgemount Lake

Left to right: Wedge, Parkhurst and Rethel Mountain (mid July '07)
The North side of Wedge Mountain (mid July '07)


Wedge Mountain (2892m)

  • West ridge, moderate scramble (*) from Wedgemount lake (can avoid glacier travel if needed)
  • North ridge, glacier travel, up to 45˚ snow/ice ridge (AD-)
  • Various couloirs on NE, N, NW side (might be snow or ice)

Weart Mountain (2822m)

  • Southeast ridge: moderate scramble (***) from Wedgemount lake (no glacier)
  • NW Ridge: Class 3-4 climb traversing all 3 summits of Mt. Weart from the Weart - Cook col.
  • North face: glacier travel, steep snow/ice face, possibly mixed (AD+)

Mount Cook (2676m)

  • Scramble from Cook-Weart col.
  • Easy scramble (*) from the west ridge (no glacier).

Mount Moe (2664m)

  • South ridge: scramble, glacier travel

Parkhurst Mountain (2494m)

  • Moderate scramble (**) from Wedgemount lake (no glacier)

Rethel Mountain (2408m)

  • Moderate scramble (**) from Rethel-Parkhurst col (no glacier)

East of Wedge-Weart col

Lesser Wedge Mountain (2738m)

  • From the west: 4th class scramble from Wedge-Lesser Wedge col, glacier travel
  • Couloir on North side (might be snow, ice or mixed)

The Owls (2720m)

  • From the south: apparently easy, steep and loose
  • Snowy Owl Couloir on North side (might be snow, ice or mixed)

Mount James Turner (2703m)

  • Scramble from the southwest face and upper south ridge, glacier travel
  • Scramble from the northwest ridge, glacier travel
  • Couloir on North side (TD; snow ice, or mixed)

Peggy Peak (2623m)
Unnamed "Peak 8600ft" NNE of Peggy Lake

  • Apparently an easy glacier walk from the North

Oasis Mountain (2561m)

  • Easy from Eureka-Oasis col, involves glacier travel

Eureka Mountain (2523m)

  • Easy from Eureka-Oasis col, involves glacier travel

Skiing

Not a lot of people go skiing in this area, due to the steep approach up the trail. The area can also be approached from Blackcomb Mountain via the Spearhead Glacier and Wedge pass.

Wedge Mountain NW Couloir

The NW couloir of wedge mountain is probably the most popular ski mountaineering objective. The couloir is about 1500ft. It is mostly about 45 degrees with a couple steeper sections approaching 50 degrees. Unlike the couloirs on the north face of wedge, this one has no bergschrund issues.

More information

Note that all books are available from the VOC library.

  • Alpine Select: Climbs in SW BC & N WA, Kevin McLane, 2001, Elaho publishing corporation.
  • Scrambles in SW BC, Matt Gunn, 2005, Cairn publishing. Difficulty (easy, moderate, difficult, very difficult) and quality (* to ***) ratings are given for scrambles in this area (see above).
  • A guide to climbing and hiking in SW BC, Bruce Fairley, 1986, Gordon Soules Book Publishers Ltd.