Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park
Due to lingering snow, the Wedgemount Lake trail will be very difficult to hike until mid June(2016). Large sections of snow on the trail will persist until late June(2016). Wedgemount Lake is one of the most spectacular hikes in Garibaldi Park. Though it is a relentlessly exhausting, steep hike, it is mercifully short at only 7 kilometres (one way). The elevation gain in that short distance is over 1200 metres which makes it a much steeper hike than most other Whistler hiking trails. Compared with other Whistler hikes, Wedgemount Lake is half the roundtrip distance of either Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, for example, at 13.5k and 15k respectively (one way).
If you were to search your whole life for an absolutely amazing, astoundingly perfect, alpine hiking paradise, you'd have trouble finding a place as great as Wedgemount Lake. To start with, the lake is breathtaking.
Every angle you look at it and every hour of the day it alters its appearance dramatically. From its wonderful turquoise, marble-like appearance reflecting bronze mountains at sunrise and sunset. To its startlingly vivid appearance in the darkness of night. Reflecting stars are as clear looking down on the lake as they are looking up at the sky.
The massive valley that contains Wedgemount Lake is ringed by impressive mountains and the ever-present Wedgemount Glacier that continuously pulls your attention to it. The trail that leads around the lake to the glacier takes only 20-30 minutes and is quite amazing to explore.
Wedgemount Glacier, at its edge, has what is called a glacier window. A huge ice cave, created out of the melting underneath this huge, crushing mass of ice. You can get right up close to this impressive ice cave and have a drink of what was just moments before ice left thousands of years ago before Wedgemount Lake was called Wedgemount Lake.
Though glaciers can never really be considered safe to hike on, the Wedgemount Glacier is relatively safe. Hiking up the glacier by bearing left, close to the rocky edge will lead you after about an hours, very strenuous hiking to the top of the glacier into the Wedge-Weart Col. Wedge Mountain is the highest mountain in all of Garibaldi Park at 2891 metres, and Weart is the massive mountain to the left of Wedge if looking from the lake. The col in between them is amazing. The views all around are incredible. But the further you explore around Wedgemount Lake, the more you come to conclude that the entire place is wonderful. Just wonderful. From the Wedge-Weart Col you can see the distant, very distant, Matterhorn looking, Mount James Turner. Wedge is the setting off point for this spectacular, multi-glacier, three day hike. Of course, seen from the col, your eyes tracing the probable route along the Lord of the Rings sized glacier valleys below. The feasibility of how anyone can find a way to its summit leaves you wide eyed.
Then you turn your eyes to Wedge Mountain right next to you. Nearly anyway. You climbed, breathless for hours to get where you stand at the Wedge Weart Col, and you look at the route (one of many routes) to the summit of Wedge, and your eyes get wider. From the col it is mystifying how the summit could be reached. But it can. Stand here long enough and a couple of determined hikers will trudge past you. Crampons punching into the snow, ice axe fastened to their packs, and more often than not, a leathery complexion that proclaims that Wedge is not their first big summit. Turning your back on Wedge now you look gradually upward as the snowy col gives way to scree and boulders that lead up to Weart Mountain.
This is probably the most climbed mountain in the area. It doesn't require special equipment, ropes, helmets, crampons, etc. Not usually in July anyway. And can be reached via the Wedge-Weart Col or more often down the glacier near the glacier window. About 300 metres past the glacier window, on the way to the col, Weart can be reached by hiking left up the steep scree and boulders along one of the many small, yet very tall waterfalls cascading down the rocks. Weart gives you the best vantage point for photographing Wedgemount Lake as it stretches out, elongated below you until it disappears over the edge via Wedgemount Falls. Wedgemount Falls is 296 metres tall and can be seen at a distance from the Wedgemount Lake trail about 30 minutes from the end or top of the trail.