Wedged Between a Mountain and a High Place: Wedgemount Lake
As you climb up the rock face, over the edge and onto flat, sturdy land, you’ll find yourself wedged between a mountain and a high place, saying, is this what heaven’s like?
Lately, friends, and even strangers have been saying to me: “You literally go on so many hikes, can you tell me about ______? I really want to go!” First off, I can’t tell you enough how happy this makes me. I never intended to be this into hiking; it just happened over time. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, gee, I really want to be a mountain guide one day—which I definitely do not. I just started to realize that being outside and challenging myself physically through hiking is something I actually enjoy (despite the cuts, blisters, sweat, and bruises). It’s no longer something I dread.
I’m by no means a hiking expert, or even an outdoor guru, I’m just a girl who loves to get outside on the weekends and sweat a little bit. And if I can inform and inspire my friends to do the same, then I can feel accomplished.
This past weekend, Corbin and I decided to conquer Wedgemount Lake—a 14km round trip, 1100 meter climb to one of the most aqua coloured, and breathtaking glacial lakes I’ve ever seen. We were limited to doing the hike in one day, since we went out to a friend’s party on Friday, and were in no shape to be hiking on Saturday. Even though my original plan was to hike up Saturday morning, sleep over, and climb down on Sunday to make it back in time for work on Monday, spending the day up there on Sunday was a privilege in itself.
Many people spend the night up there, and if you have the time, I highly recommend you do. This is such a beautiful hike and camping spot, and if you’re lucky enough to get one of the camping platforms, you will have a stunning morning view of the snow-capped mountain tops to wake up to.
In terms of the hike, I have to say, all the guides online do not lie about the steep elevation. This hike isn’t for the faint of heart, or beginners. It is quite the climb, but if you are an avid hiker, this will be very do-able for you in 2-2.5 hours on the way up, which is how long it took Corbin and I (the descend will take about 1 & 3/4 to 2 hours)
When I compare this hike to Lake Lovely Water, however, Lake Lovely Water still takes the cake in terms of steepness, elevation gain, and potential cliff drops.
As they mention online, when you reach the large rock slide area on the hike (there are two, but the second one is massive, so don’t be mistaken by the first), this is roughly the halfway point of the hike. And when you reach the final 20-30 minute stretch before the lake, you should prepare yourself, as this is the steepest part of the entire hike. I promise your legs will get over it quickly once you manage to make it to the top.
When you reach Wedgemount Lake, take the time to have lunch, walk around, and if you can, avoid the bugs! There are tons of them up there, so DO NOT forget your bug spray at home.
If you look straight ahead to the end of the lake, you will see a large glacier. Along the left side of the lake, there is a narrow path that leads all the way up to this glacier, and directly below it, there is another, small glacial lake that you will definitely want to check out. Just be mindful that you will have to cross a river to get there, and it can be a bit sketchy if the river is high.
Once you’ve had your fill, and even taken a dip or a float in the lake (if you’re brave enough), make your way down the steep climb the same way you came up.
Things to Bring:
- Bug spray (I cannot stress this one enough)
- Water purifying water bottle (like the “Pristine” Water Bottle)
- Snacks and a lunch
- Beer! (Nothing tastes better than a beer on the top of a mountain)
- Bathing suit and towel (I double doggy dare you)
- Floaty (just for fun if you plan on embracing the icy water)
- Layers (it can be really cold up there)
- Proper hiking boots (although you can do this hike in runners, as proven by my boyfriend)
Things to note:
This hike requires you to drive 1.5 km on a dirt road before you reach the trailhead.
The trailhead is located about 20 minutes past Whistler.
Allow for plenty of time at the top for exploring.
Hiking overnight costs money. Ensure you pay for your camp site beforehand.
There are two outhouses at the top.
There is a very small hut at the top with a loft you can sleep in, but space is very limited, and it is first come first serve.
NO DOGS are allowed on this trail (as per the rules for the entire Garibaldi Provincial Park).