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Retreation Glacier - Clayoquot Hiking Terms

Vargas Island Aerial ViewWedgemount Lake Aerial VideoAdit Lake Aerial Video

Retreation Glacier - Clayoquot Hiking Terms


Retreation Glacier: a deteriorating glacier; annual melt of entire glacier exceeds the flow of the ice.  Glaciers around Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park are retreation glaciers owing to the past few decades of warming temperatures.

Overlord Glacier is a Retreation Glacier

Wedge Glacier at Wedgemount Lake(pictured above and below) is a retreation glacier.  As recent as two decades ago, the Wedge Glacier terminated at Wedgemount Lake, however, now the glacier ends several hundred metres above the lake.

Aerial View of a Retreation Glacier

Overlord Glacier pictured below is another retreation glacier in Garibaldi Park.  Overlord is easily viewed from Russet Lake which sits between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains in Garibaldi Park.  Click the image below for an aerial video of this amazing glacier as well as Adit Lakes, the Fissile and Russet Lake.

Aerial View of Overlord Glacier

This viewpoint to see Overlord Glacier is reached by hiking from Whistler Village up the Singing Pass trail or by riding the Whistler Gondola and the Peak Express up to the summit of Whistler Mountain and hiking in.

Glossary of Hiking Terms


Highpointing: the sport of hiking to as many high points(mountain peaks) as possible in a given area.  For example, highpointing the Highpointing - Clayoquot Hiking Termslower 48 states in the United states.  This was first achieved in 1936 by A.H. Marshall.  In 1966 Vin Hoeman highpointed all 50 states.  It is estimated that over 250 people have highpointed all of the US states.  Highpointing is similar peakbagging, however peakbagging is the sport of climbing several peaks in a given area above a certain elevation.  For example, a highpointer may climb the summit of Wedge Mountain, the highest peak in the Garibaldi Ranges, then move to another mountain range.  Whereas a peakbagger may summit Wedge Mountain, then Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge, Mount Garibaldi and many more high summits in the region.

Panorama Ridge Aerial Video

Hoary Marmot: the cute, invariably pudgy, twenty plus pound ground squirrels that have evolved to live quite happily in the hostile alpine areas of much of the world. In the northwest of North America, marmots have a distinct grey in their hair, a hoary colour, so have been named hoary marmots. They manage to survive quite happily in the alpine, largely by hibernating for 8 months of the year and largely for having a surprisingly varied array of food in such an inhospitable environment. Hoary Marmot - Clayoquot Hiking TermsThey live off of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, and roots and flowers. And live quite well it seems, as they always look chubby, which has one great drawback. They are sought after by bears and wolves. They have a wonderful defense system though. They are constantly on watch and whistle loudly at the first sign of danger, alerting the colony. The prevalence of these "whistlers" as they came to be locally called, in the early days of London Mountain resulted in it's name being changed to Whistler Mountain in the 60's. Hiking on Whistler, Blackcomb or Wedgemount Lake in the summer will almost guarantee an encounter with a chubby, jolly little whistler marmot.

Nunatuk: a rock projection protruding through permanent ice or snow.  Their distinct appearance inOld Man's Beard - Clayoquot Hiking Terms an otherwise barren landscape often makes them identifiable landmarks.  Nunatuks are usually crumbling masses of angular rock as they are subject to severe freeze/thaw periods.  There is a very prominent nunatuk near the glacier window of the Wedge Glacier.  The glacier has been retreating in the past few years, so this massive nunatuk marks the terminus of the glacier now.

Old Man's Beard(Usnea): The lichen seen hanging from tree branches in much of British Columbia.  It hangs from tree bark and tree branches looking like greenish-grey hair.  A form of lichen, usnea can be found world-wide.  There are currently over 85 known species of usnea.

Rethel Mountain Aerial Video

Pressure Ridges - Clayoquot Hiking TermsPressure Ridges: wavelike ridges that form on a glacier normally after a glacier has flowed over icefalls.  Pressure ridges are a beautiful and hostile looking feature of glaciers that, when approached, become menacingly huge and dangerous.

Pyramidal Peak: a mountaintop that has been carved by glaciation into a distinct, sharp horn-like shape. The Matterhorn in the Alps is a well know example of this striking phenomenon.

Retreation Glacier: a deteriorating glacier; annual melt of entire glacier exceeds the flow of the ice.  Glaciers around Whistler andRetreation Glacier - Clayoquot Hiking Terms Garibaldi Provincial Park are retreation glaciers owing to the past few decades of warming temperatures.

Scree: from the Norse “skridha”, landslide.  The small, loose stones covering a slope. Also called talus, the French word for slope. Scree is mainly formed from the annual freeze/thaw periods of spring and fall, where water seeps into cracks in the rock and expands when freezing.

Seracs: large pinnacles or columns of ice that are normally found in icefalls or on hanging glaciers.

Tarn - Clayoquot Hiking TermsTarn: a small alpine lake.  The word tarn originates from the Norse word tjorn which translates to English as pond.  In the United Kingdom, tarn is widely used to refer to any small lake or pond.  In British Columbia however, tarn is used specifically for small mountain lakes.  Around Whistler tarns number in the hundreds and many are so small and/or hidden as to remain unnamed.  Russet Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park could be called a tarn, however its relatively large size dominates the area and the term lake seems more appropriate.  The nearby Adit Lakes are more accurately called tarns as they are small, shallow and sit in an alpine zone, buried in snow most of the year.

Aerial Video of Adit Lakes - Tarns

Transverse Crevasses: form perpendicular to the flow of a glacier.  These are normally found where a glacier flows over a slope with a gradient change of 30 degrees or more.Valley Glacier - Clayoquot Hiking Terms

Traverse: crossing a slope at the same elevation.

Valley Glacier: A glacier that resides and flows in a valley.  Many glaciers around Whistler and in Garibaldi Provincial Park are valley glaciers.  The Wedge Glacier above Wedgemount Lake flows down the valley from Wedge Mountain.  When you reach Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park, valley glaciers dominate the view along with the unnaturally brilliant Garibaldi Lake below.

Waterbar: a ditch that carries water from one side of a road to the other.

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