The Tent (Garibaldi)

April 28, 2019


Squamish / Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC

The Tent is one of the several sub-summits on Mt. Garibaldi massif and often overlooked as a distinct objective. The ascent is a fairly short diversion from Mt. Garibaldi’s standard route or the classic Garibaldi Neve Traverse on skis, but very few skiers would give it a bother. Those who put in effort to tag this summit are by no doubt the stubborn peak-baggers and even so, this peak is still rarely ascended in the tiny peak-bagging community. About three years ago when Alex, Al and I day-tripped Mt. Garibaldi we didn’t bother to ascend The Tent due to exhaustion from the deep trail-breaking. At the time I thought I would never come back to do this approach again, but three years had since past and I must have forgotten the amount of suffering required to plod that far.

There’s still very little chance that I would come all the way back there for The Tent but I changed my mind when Jake and Fletcher threw out the idea that they’d come to Squamish to ski Mt. Garibaldi. None of them had done a major summit in B.C. and I thought this would be a perfect weekend for that. Too lazy to come up with a more appealing idea I decided to tag along. Once the plan was finalized I successfully convinced Mel to join and Tyler S. from Washington would also join the team. I would still have to do the summit push on The Tent alone though as none of them was keen on this side product. This would also be a mix of ski and snowshoe ascent as Mel didn’t have ski gears and I hated skiing. After a sleepless night all of us grouped in the McDonald’s of Squamish and then drove up Brohm River FSR in two vehicles. The recent beta given by Jeff Han’s group indicated that they had driven to around 1020 m elevation but we had to park at 900 m elevation because our vehicles failed to power up a snowy corner. In addition to the 100 m elevation gain we also had to deal with about 1 km of extra distance each way.

The Tent via Brohm Ridge. GPX DL

The headlamps were only required in the initial 20 minutes or so. The stretch of road beyond that snowy corner all the way to where Jeff’s group parked was next to bone dry, but soon after that we had to put snowshoes and skis on. The next couple kilometers was a mundane plod to a high point near 1400 m elevation, and then close to 100 m of hardwon elevation must be lost on a stretch of downhill. A team-of-two who I later recognized out as Eric Carter going after some mixed routes on Dalton Dome passed us along this stage. The next point-of-interest was the snowmobiler’s cabin but we didn’t bother to check it out. Getting onto the stretch of Brohm Ridge we slowly plodding into sunshine and took a lengthy break near the first highpoint. The whole morning had been a racing game and I think we all skined and snowshoed faster than normal in order to keep up with each other.

Morning alpenglow on Mt. Tantalus

Alpenglow on Alpha Mountain

Morning glow on Mt. Niobe, Mt. Pelops and Omega Mtn.

Fletcher, Jake and Tyler skinning up the snowmobile road beyond the cabin

Skinning onto Brohm Ridge

Another shot of the rugged Tantalus Range

It’s apparent that I forgot about the amount of up-and-downs along Brohm Ridge, but despite that the views were very inspiring so our spirits were high. The peak looked to be close but actually still very far away. There were several major descents while traversing Brohm Ridge and we had to constantly make route-finding decisions. For the initial few dips we opted for the “down and up” option but upon reaching the biggest dip we opted for climbing up and over “Brohm Pinnacle” for some variation. The traverse over the pinnacle was more difficult than what I remembered from three years ago, probably due to the lack of snow in this year. We all had to take the snowshoes and skis off and Mel and I even strapped crampons on. The exposure was pretty real. The snowpack leading up onto Warren Glacier was crusty and icy so after a while the skiers all transitioned into boot-packing (on crampons), but halfway up the foreshortened slope they all went back into skinning. For Mel and I the game was simply “putting one foot in front of another” as snowshoeing required much fewer transition.

Starting the broad but undulating traverse across Brohm Ridge

A few steeper rolls required boot-packing

Tyler skinning on the typical terrain.

There are several major dips along the way.

Looking back down at Fletcher and Tyler making a transition

Near the pinnacle. It’s a bit more involved than I thought

A group of snowshoeers hiking out that I later found out to be Jeff Han’s group

Mel snowshoeing onto thin ridge

Jake boot-packing over the pinnacle on some exposed terrain

Mel and Tyler making their way over the pinnacle

Fletcher boot-packing up the slope leading onto Warren Glacier

Due to the snow condition the skiers all decided to boot-pack here

Back to skinning now. The pinnacle’s getting smaller and smaller

The next stage was plodding across the flat, but very scenic Warren Glacier with minor elevation loss in order to access North Pitt Glacier. On the last trip we picked a steeper line ascending onto North Pitt Glacier and this time we found an easier route by simply following the hordes’ traffic. The area around Mt. Garibaldi was uber busy with at least 30 people gunning for the summit. In addition to skiers and snowshoe traffics we also observed some deep holes made by climbers boot-packing. Given the powdery snow it made absolutely no sense why would anyone opt for boot travel instead of snowshoes or skis, but it mattered nothing to us. The post-holes created by those guys had made Mel and I’s snowshoeing easier. The plod onto the main flow of North Pitt Glacier all the way to near Garibaldi/Tent saddle was very foreshortening. Near the saddle I parted away from the group breaking trail towards Garibaldi/Tent col while the others all went up the standard route on Mt. Garibaldi. It was amazing to me that among the 30-50 folks climbing Mt. Garibaldi, no one else bothered to give The Tent a shot… There’s one open crevasse near the col to be aware of.

Mel snowshoeing down onto the flat Warren Glacier

That huge NE Face of Dalton Dome…

Jake and Fletcher skinning up North Pitt Glacier

Fletcher skinning up.

One of the few open crevasses along the way

The standard route of Mt. Garibaldi was crowded with ants

Our first glimpse of The Tent

Guys plodding up towards the distant Garibaldi/Tent col

The route up The Tent wasn’t too trivial from Garibaldi/Tent col. The direct attack would require some steep snow climbing over 45 degrees and after briefly giving it a try I turned around to search for some easier option. On this trip I decided to just wear winter hiking shoes along with aluminum crampons which was useless on the hardpacked 45 degree snow. Thankfully I found a slightly mellower line on the south ridge that only involved a short 40-45 degree section. The snow on the south side was also more friendly for kicking in. The summit offered some neat view of the east face of Dalton Dome and north-east side of Atwell Peak and because the others all went up the taller neighbour I earned myself some extra time to soak in the views.

Summit Panorama from The Tent. Click to view large size.

A zoomed-in shot of the summit block of Mt. Garibaldi

Looking down at The Gargoyles and Columnar Peak

The NE Face of Atwell Peak

A zoomed-in shot of Sky Pilot Group

Spire Peaks and the Super Couloir

Pyramid Mountain near Mamquam Lake

Mt. Pitt in the distance – the most remote giant in Garibaldi P. Park

Isosceles Peak and Parapet Peak

Castle Towers Mtn. that I ascended in one long day a few years ago

The Table, The Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake all in one shot

A closer look at The Black Tusk

Skiers making their way up Mt. Garibaldi’s NE Face

Viking Ridge in the foreground

The E. Face of Dalton Dome

Me on the summit of The Tent

Another shot of me on the summit of The Tent, with Mt. Garibaldi behind

After carefully down-climbed the south ridge I strapped snowshoes back on and leisurely walked back to where we parted from each other. The others had just made the summit of Mt. Garibaldi and I pulled the stove out to melt some snow. This was part of the game’s plan because we could save some weight this way as a group. After a short while I watched Jake, Fletcher and Tyler flying down the NE Face of Garibaldi on their skis and snowboards and continuing down North Pitt Glacier. We decided to descend separately so that we wouldn’t hold each other back. About 15 minutes later Mel joined me and after a short break we had to focus on the long return hike. The plunge down and around onto Warren Glacier was fast and fun but soon we had to face that never-ending undulating game. Instead of traversing back over the pinnacle we opted for the bypass option. After that we decided to stick to the ridge and if for nothing, we could see more from the ridge… Further down along Brohm Ridge we stuck on skier’s left side-hilling a long stretch to join the main snowmobile’s road/track heading down for the cabin. Had we been there 10 minutes earlier we probably could have caught a ride down by snowmobilers but we got there too late. We saw nobody else on the descent, but that also meant we could soak the whole experience in. Mel led a blistering pace on the whole descent and I had to give everything I had in order to keep up the pace. I think we took only 1 short break and a few gear transitions.

Jake R. skiing down the NE Face of Mt. Garibaldi

A review shot of The Tent. My route goes up behind to the right

We bumped into Maria M. on the descent.

Mel plodding down North Pitt Glacier onto the flat Warren Glacier

The NE Face of Mt. Garibaldi from Warren Glacier

North Face of Dalton Dome. Eric Carter did a route on this face on this day…

On the descent we opted to bypass the pinnacle to save some brain work

Alice Ridge in the distance.

Looking back at Dalton Dome (L) and Atwell Peak (R)

As exciting as the road plod went

Running out of snow at the end.

Our round trip time was under 11.5 hours on snowshoes while the skiers’ round trip was 10 hours and needless to say we absolutely crushed it, especially considering the size of our group. In March 2016 we parked at 700 m elevation and the ascent of Mt. Garibaldi had taken us 16.5 hours on skis. I wasn’t even exhausted after this trip and I felt that I still had a ton of energy left and this also explained why I hated skiing so much. I remembered that after my 2016’s trip I couldn’t even walk like a normal person for several days… Later in the afternoon we had a dinner together in Squamish. Jake, Fletcher and Tyler would stay there for another day rock climbing but Mel and I had to drive back for work, and that concluded another awesome trip in our local backyards.