Hike to Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC

After our recent failed attempt to Rohr Lake, Ryan and I decided we needed some spectacular views; we headed up Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial park this past weekend.

There are a few route options to the ridge including: the Cheakamus Lake trailhead or the Rubble Creek parking lot. We started from the Rubble Creek parking lot and ascended the western ridge via the ‘old’ route (instead of the standard trail up the northern ridge on the eastern side).

Rubble Creek to Taylor Meadows

We had an early start at the parking lot and made our way up. We carried microspikes, snowshoes, and an ice axe each. The switchbacks were very slow going due to heavy packs – to the point where I thought we may have to settle for a trip to Helm Lake.

Rubble Creek Trail

Rubble Creek Trail

Our first trace of snow was around 5km and the trail did not get very icy until 5.5km, at which point, we put on our microspikes and left them on for the rest of the day. The snow conditions were fantastic. Since there hadn’t been any new snow for a few weeks, the trail itself was a hard-packed highway. Off-trail, the snow was hard and crusty; it fully supported our weight without postholing. This made for fast travel through the switchbacks and beyond.

After a short break at the junction, we made our way to Taylor Meadows.

Taylor Meadows Campground

Taylor Meadows Campground

Crossing Taylor Creek

Taylor Creek Crossing

Taylor Meadows to Black Tusk Meadows to Panorama Ridge

We passed through Taylor meadows and continued into Black Tusk meadows. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where one ends and the other begins; I assume somewhere around the Outhouse Junction. As we gained sight of the ridge, I shook the thought of making Helm Lake our destination. We decided to push for the ridge to gain views of the frozen Garibaldi Lake.

Entering Black Tusk Meadows

Entering Black Tusk Meadows

Looking Back in Black Tusk Meadows

Given the excellent and supportive snow conditions, Ryan decided to take us up Panorama Ridge via the Western ridge. (The current standard trail heads ~2km east from the Outhouse Junction to Helm Flats, where it swings south and climbs the north ridge on the eastern end of Panorama.) Just after the Outhouse Junction, we made a b-line through the trees, aiming for the nearest slopes of Panorama. We found a good open line and started our ascent.

Approaching Panorama Ridge

Approaching Panorama Ridge

Shadows in Black Tusk Meadows

Shadows in Black Tusk Meadows

The snow here, again, was excellent. Though it was hard-packed (no postholing), the surface was soft enough to kick in good steps as the slope steepened. The secure footing helped us decide the ice axes were not needed; they stayed on the pack the whole day. The wind picked up and we found small, isolated pockets of wind slab formations on the surface. The top ~1 inch of the snow was not bound to the snow underneath; when we stepped on it, little slabs broke off. (The avalanche.ca forecast rated the danger as low/low/low for the day and we had not seen any natural releases either; we were confident the conditions were quite stable.)

Looking Back at Black Tusk

Short Break, Black Tusk in the Background

Steep Ascent on Panorama Ridge

Steep Ascent on Panorama Ridge

Ryan set a line, switchbacking up the steep slope; I sometimes followed and sometimes cut straight up for the workout.

Climbing Panorama Ridge

Ryan Ascending Panorama Ridge

We soon crested the first rise and were rewarded with views of Garibaldi lake below.

Ryan and I

Ryan and I

Ryan and I (2)

Ryan and I, Garibaldi Lake in the Background

We knew the views would only improve the higher we went; we continued higher up the ridge, switchbacking between various wind features and steeper slopes.

Garibaldi Lake

Ryan and I Taking a Break

Eastern End of Garibaldi Lake

Eastern End of Garibaldi Lake

Views Across the Lake:

Sentinel Bay

View of Sentinal Bay

Sphinx Bay

View fo Sphinx Bay


Panorama - Garibaldi Lake from Panorama Ridge

Panorama of Garibaldi Lake from Panorama Ridge

Views of Helm & Our Turnaround Point:

Ryan and Helm

Ryan with Black Tusk in the Background

Looking Over Helm Valley

Overlooking Helm Valley

On our way back, we followed tracks and took a slight shortcut back to the main trail.We caught sight of a beautiful sunset. It may have been the long and tiring day we had, but this was one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen:

Sunset in Black Tusk Meadows

Sunset in Black Tusk Meadows

Twilight in Black Tusk Meadows

Twilight in Black Tusk Meadows

Past the 5km marker, on our way back, we ran into a few of these guys between switchbacks:

Snowshoe Hare by Headlamp

Snowshoe Hare by Headlamp

Stats for the Day:

Google Earth Birdseye View of Route with Blood Sugar Check Waypoints

Google Earth 3D View of Route with Blood Sugar Check Waypoints

2015-02-21 - Panorama Ridge - Google Earth 3d Rubble switchbacks with BG waypoints

Google Earth 3D View of Rubble Creek Switchbacks with Blood Sugar Check Waypoints

2015-02-21 - Panorama Ridge - Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile

Diabetes Management


  • Woke up with a bg of 4.3mmol.
    • Bolused my first meal by fewer units of insulin in fear of trending low in the morning – I could have taken more insulin.
    • Decided to reduce my basal rate by 50% (instead of 60%) closer to the Rubble Creek parking lot.
  • Ate shotbloks, chomps, and gel consistently and when needed throughout the day.
  • Hammer Gels left me feeling quite dehydrated.
    • I was consistently drinking water to offset the feeling of dehydration.
    • I seemed to burn through the hammer gels within 30-40 mins of hiking.
    • Though they did not cause a ‘spike’, they did not elevate my blood sugars by very much. I find Hammer Gels are great for energy maintenance, but I would not use them in the case of a ‘hypo’.
  • I slowly brought down my ‘high’ in the morning.
    • This was to ensure I did not crash by the afternoon.
  • Blood sugar levels were fairly steady with no alarming lows and/or highs.
    • My last ‘high’ of the day at 15.5mmol was likely caused by a combination of adrenaline and not bolusing previous snacks.
  • Drank 2L of water.
  • Waypointed every blood sugar check, bolus, and carb load.

Happy Springter!


– Ash

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