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Empetrum via Cheakamus Parking Lot
Timestamp Free: 2018.11.12 - 21:00:28
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Coast Mountains / Pacific Ranges / Garibaldi Ranges
  (1 days)
Participants: 7 BC Peaks Trails members.
Difficulty: 2: Moderate due to distance and unsupportive snow along the flats
Cheakamus Parking lot to Help Creek Campground. Cinder Flats to a snow crossing of Helm Creek west of the Empetrum & Black Tusk col. Easy natural ramps to gain Empetrum.
Seven of us out for the day on the quieter side of Garibaldi Park to tackle Empetrum from the col between itself and Black Tusk.

We left the parking lot at 8:30am and quickly made it to the Helm Creek junction where you head down towards the Cheakamus River bridge crossing. From here you start gaining some elevation via switchbacks passing close to the Helm Creek a few times. The trail is clear and well marked all the way to the Helm Creek campground area. We had about an hour of annoying 1-1.5m deep unsupportive snow staggered with bare dirt and pure ice sections before we broke out of the forest at the campground area... we were all in snowshoes for the duration of that... it was not ideal nor quiet, but most efficient imho. [photo]150510_Emp09.jpg[caption]Black Tusk (left) and Empetrum Ridge (right) from Cinder Flats[/photo]

Once we hit the campground area it is a gradual rise to the Helm Lake area, but the snow here was the worst of the entire trip... I was post holing with snowshoes randomly every 3 or 4 steps which just drains the energy out of you... we lucked out a couple km's later as the snow was more supportive and I was only sinking 10cm instead of 25-30. [photo]150510_Emp_11.jpg[caption]Cinder Flats heading for Black Tusk / Empetrum col[/photo]

We made our way up the flats and curved towards the col between Empetrum and Black Tusk hoping there would be an easy creek crossing. To my surprise we crested a little ridge about 30m from where the creek would be and it was totally snow covered. Bonus!! We did not have to add another 2km heading further south to cross at a shallower point. [photo]150510_Emp19.jpg[caption]Empetrum Peak from the South[/photo]

Getting up to the peak from here was a snap... a couple natural ramps brought us to the top...

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