Sunday, 28 August 2011

Black Tusk Sunday Run

The Black Tusk Pinnacle

   Although I have run past it before in the excellent Rubble Creek Classic race, I have never been to the top.  This icon volcanic landmark is in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Squamish and since I had a 3 hour run today I estimated that from the trail head to the top and back would take about this time.  I was up at 5 and running at 7 trying to beat the crowds of hikers that love this trail and although I was pretty much alone on the way up, coming down was a game of dodge-em.

Garibaldi Lake

The trail winds clockwise to the crux

Garibaldi Lake from the base of Black Tusk
About 10km of non-technical runnable switchbacks takes you up to the alpine and amazing 360 degree views.  After a few km through the alpine, a steep rocky ascent is necessary to get to the base of the pinnacle and some careful scrambling on the fragmented rock leads you up a chimney to the south summit. 

Alien landscapes

  Nearing the top, I passed one fellow on his way down from the summit. He had started his trek at 2:30am from the parking lot at the trail-head! It would have been perfect conditions for a night hike - clear and mild.

   The last scramble to the top was pretty interesting in my Hokas (see next post for shoe review).  Pretty much the polar opposite of climbing shoes...
The first pair of Hokas to the top of Black Tusk?

View from 7600'
Obligatory self-photo
This one took so long to set up I had to include it.
   The mad run down the mountain was where I got to put my Hokas to a real test.  Most of the praise heaped on these spongy shoes was regarding their ability to descend with little or no impact on your feet or legs and I have to admit I was able to bomb down the talus and rocky trail sections faster than I should have done!  This was until my toes started punching into the ends and before the hotspots started on my big toes... More on that in the review post.

Goat trail leading to the gap
Crazy skinny gap I could barely get my too-large-for-running body through.


   As I was bombing down the talus slope I encountered a trio of hikers on their way up.  One of the women asked me if I had run up this mountain and upon hearing my reply, responded in a thick accent, "ARE YOU MAD!"  Hmmm. Just the opposite really.


slowrunner said...

'mad' is good !!!
love the pics and am sensing another road trip in the future . . .

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