Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Accumulation ZoneAccumulation Zone: the area where snow accumulations exceeds melt, located above the firn line.  Snowfall accumulates faster than melting, evaporation and sublimation removes it.  Glaciers can be shown simply as having two zones, the accumulation zone and the ablation zone.  Separated by the glacier equilibrium line, these two zones comprise the areas of net annual gain and net annual loss of snow/ice on a glacier. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZAblation Zone: the lower altitude region of a glacier where there is a net loss of ice mass due to melting, sublimation, evaporation, ice calving or avalanche.  The ablation zone of a glacier such as the Wedge Glacier has meltwater features such as englacial streams and a glacier window.  An englacial stream refers to meltwater flowing inside a glacier.  A glacier window is a cave-like opening at the mouth of a glacier where meltwater runs out.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZRusset Lake sits in a wide, glacier carved valley at the base of The Fissile.  In the direction opposite The Fissile, up on a plateau less than a kilometre away are two small tarns called Adit Lakes.  Adit Lakes sit in a broad, boulder strewn alpine zone with an incredible view of Spearhead Range.  Just a few metres from Adit Lakes the plateau drops off quickly into the huge valley that separates the Spearhead Range and Fitzsimmons Range.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: AiguilleAiguille: a tall, narrow, characteristically distinct spire of rock. From the French word for "needle". Used extensively as part of the names for many peaks in the French Alps.  Around Whistler and in Garibaldi Park you will find several distinct aiguilles.  Shown here is the prominent aiguille that stands like a tower at the summit of Rethel Mountain above Wedgemount Lake.  Standing near the hut at Wedgemount Lake, Rethel is the towering mountain directly across the lake.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Alpine ZoneAlpine Zone or Alpine Tundra is the area above the treeline, often characterized by stunted, sparse forests of krummholz and pristine, turquoise lakes.  Mount Sproatt is an excellent example of an alpine zone in Whistler.  Dozens of alpine lakes, rugged and rocky terrain and hardy krummholz trees everywhere you look.  The hostile, cold and windy climate in the alpine zones around Whistler make tree growth difficult.  Added to that, the alpine areas are snow covered the majority of the year. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: AreteArête: a thin ridge of rock formed by two glaciers parallel to each other. Sometimes formed from two cirques meeting. From the French for edge or ridge.  Around Whistler and in Garibaldi Provincial Park you will see dozens of excellent examples.  At the Wedge-Weart Col above and beyond Wedgemount Lake is a prominent arête that links these two highest mountains in Garibaldi ParkWedge Mountain is 2892 metres(9488 feet) and Mount Weart is 2835 metres(9301 feet).

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: ARRTITwentyone Mile Creek begins its long and steep journey from Rainbow Lake, high up and between Mount Sproatt and Rainbow Mountain.  Cutting between the two mountains, Twentyone Mile Creek flattens out somewhat, passes under Alta Lake Road, then winds its way through a deep and dark forest before flowing into the River of Golden Dreams near the end of Lorimer Road.  This hidden forest extends from Rainbow Park to Emerald Forest and between Alta Lake Road and the River of Golden Dreams.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Alpine ZoneArmchair Glacier is one of the many easily identifiable mountain features around Whistler.  Along with Wedge Mountain and Black Tusk, Armchair Glacier has a distinct shape that it is named after.  Armchair Glacier can be seen from a considerable distance and from many places in Whistler.  In the winter it is a solid white ridge with three peaks and in the summer the ridge and peaks are bare rock and the glacier can be seen as a solid, horizontal line below. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: The BarrierThe Barrier formed as a result of huge lava flows from Clinker Peak on the west shoulder of Mount Price during the last ice age.  About thirteen thousand years ago, the Cheakamus River valley was filled by an enormous glacier, part of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet.  Lava flowed from Clinker Peak and pressed up against the massive glacier.  The lava ponded and formed what geologists call an ice-marginal lava flow.  

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: The BarrierThe rocky and narrow row of islands in Garibaldi Lake just offshore from the Garibaldi Lake campsite are known as Battleship Islands.  Named by the prolific mountaineer Neal Carter in 1927 "..because they are a group of tiny islands with often a single tree as a mast, presenting the appearance of boats, as viewed from Panorama Point(a lookout on Panorama Ridge)."  The name "The Battleship Islands" originally appeared on AJ Campbell's 1928 map of Garibaldi Provincial Park.  

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: BearsWhistler, the surrounding mountains, and Garibaldi Provincial Park are home to two types of bears.  Black bears and grizzly bears.  Black bears are frequently seen throughout the valley and often in Whistler Village.  Grizzly bears, on the other hand, are rarely seen, and only deep in the wilderness, well away from Whistler Village.  Black bears around Whistler are generally skittish and will flee into the forest when approached by people.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: BenchBench: a flat section in steep terrain.  Characteristically narrow, flat or gently sloping with steep or vertical slopes on either side.  A bench can be formed by various geological processes.  Natural erosion of a landscape often results in a bench being formed out of a hard strip of rock edged by softer, sedimentary rock.  The softer rock erodes over time, leaving a narrow strip of rock resulting in a bench.  Coastal benches form out of continuous wave erosion of a coastline.  

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZBergschrund or abbreviated schrund: a crevasse that forms from the separation of moving glacier ice from the stagnant ice above. Characterized by a deep cut, horizontal, along a steep slope. Often extending extremely deep, over 100 metres down to bedrock. Extremely dangerous as they are filled in winter by avalanches and gradually open in the summer.  The Wedgemount Glacier at Wedgemount Lake is a great way to view bergschrund up close in Whistler. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: BivouacBivouac or Bivy: a primitive campsite or simple, flat area where camping is possible.  Traditionally used to refer to a very primitive campsite comprised of natural materials found on site such as leaves and branches or simply sleeping under the stars.  Often used interchangeably with the word camp, however, bivouac implies a shorter, quicker and much more basic and naturally constructed camp setup.  

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerWhistler Bungee Bridge, also known as the Cheakamus Bungee Bridge is a very convenient and beautiful attraction on the way to or from Whistler from Vancouver.  Just 20 minutes south of Whistler Village on the Sea to Sky Highway, then just a 3 kilometre logging road takes you right to the stairs up to this amazing bridge.  Open year-round and surprisingly accessible, even in the snowy winter months.  Thousands of cars drive the Sea to Sky Highway past the turnoff to this wonderful bridge every day and never take a look. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: CairnsCairns, inukshuks or inuksuks are a pile or arrangement of rocks used to indicate a route, landmark or a summit.  The word cairn originates from the Scottish Gaelic word carn.  A cairn or inukshuk can be either large and elaborate or as simple as a small pile of rocks.  To be effective a cairn marking a trail has to just be noticeable and obviously man-made.  In the alpine areas around Whistler, above the treeline, cairns are the main method of marking a route. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerNeal Carter (14 Dec 1902 - 15 Mar 1978) was an early explorer of the Coast Mountains around what would eventually be called Whistler Valley.  In the summer of 1923 he and UBC classmate Charles Townsend set off from Rainbow Lodge and climbed the previously unclimbed Wedge Mountain.  From the summit of Wedge they spotted an impressive mountain to the north in the midst of a maze of glaciers.  They named it Mount James Turner and managed its first ascent as well. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZChimney: a gap between two vertical faces of rock or ice.  Often a chimney offers the only viable route to the summit of a mountain.  An example of this is Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park in Whistler.  The final ascent of Black Tusk requires climbing a near vertical chimney with crumbling rock all around.  Black Tusk is the extraordinarily iconic and appropriately named mountain that can be seen from almost everywhere in Whistler. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: CirqueCirque: a glacier-carved bowl or amphitheater in the mountains.  To form, the glacier must be a combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a certain angle away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere, this means the glacier must be on the northeast slope of the mountain, away from the suns rays and the prevailing winds. Thick snow, protected in this way, grows thicker into glacial ice, then a process of freeze-thaw called nivation, chews at the lower rocks, hollowing out a deep basin.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukCoast Douglas-fir trees are medium to extremely large trees that you will encounter in Whistler and Garibaldi Park. They are the second tallest conifer trees in the world after the coast redwood and the third tallest of all trees in the world after Eucalyptus regnans. Coast Douglas-fir, also known as Pacific Douglas-fir, Oregon pine and Douglas spruce range along the coast of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon and have been known to reach heights of 120 metres (390 feet).

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: CloudrakerThe Cloudraker Skybridge and the Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk are new additions to the summit of Whistler Mountain.  The Cloudraker Skybridge stretches 130 metres from just steps from the top of the Peak Express Chair across to the West Ridge.  The Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk is a viewing platform that extends over 12 metres up and out from the West Ridge.  Both of these exhilarating viewing areas tower way above Whistler Bowl.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Coast MountainsThe Coast Mountains run from the Yukon down to Vancouver along the west coast of British Columbia in a band that averages 300 kilometres wide(190 miles).  The length of the Coast Mountains is roughly 1600 kilometres(1000 miles).  They are often referred to as the BC Coastal Range or the Coast Range.  The Coast Mountains are comprised of three mountain ranges, the Pacific Ranges, the Kitimat Ranges, and the Boundary Ranges.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZCol: a ridge between two higher peaks, a mountain pass or saddle.  More specifically is the lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks.  Sometimes called a saddle or notch.  The Wedge-Weart Col is a popular destination at the top of Wedgemount Glacier.  The Wedge-Weart Col connects these two highest peaks in Garibaldi Provincial Park and is easily visible from much of the area around Wedgemount Lake.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerColumnar Jointing: bizarre looking columns of oddly angular rock formations that can be found in many places around Whistler and worldwide.  Generally found in large clusters packed together in a uniformly vertical array of columns that appear to be several metres long and usually more than 30 centimetres in diameter.  Surface erosion causes the columns to fracture and break apart, giving the appearance of an ancient, crumbling wall.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerThe Cordilleran Ice Sheet covered most of north-west North America for much of the last 2.6 million years.  At the Last Glacial Maximum during the Last Glacial Period(26,500 years ago), the Cordilleran Ice Sheet likely covered as much as 2.5 million square kilometres.  Stretching from Alaska to Oregon, British Columbia was entirely covered in ice that in many places over two kilometres thick.  At the Continental Divide of North America the Cordilleran Ice Sheet merged with the Laurentide Ice Sheet.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZCornice: a wind deposited wave of snow on a ridge, often overhanging a steep slope or cliff.  They are the result of snow building up on the crest of a mountain.  Cornices are extremely dangerous to travel on or below.  A common refrain of climbers is that if you can see the drop-off of a cornice, you are too close to the edge.  Cornices are dangerous for several reasons.  They can collapse from hiking across or they can collapse from above.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZCorrie Lake is the surreal looking lake that can be seen across the valley from Whistler Mountain.  While hiking the High Note trail along Whistler Mountain it slowly comes into view, seemingly hanging in the forest on an otherwise steep sided, broad mountain.  The broad mountain that Corrie Lake sits within is called Corrie Ridge, which extend from Corrie Peak to Gentian Ridge.  The ridge is named Corrie Ridge because Corrie Peak is the highest peak along the ridge.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZCrevasse: is a split or crack in the glacier surface, often with near vertical walls.  Crevasses form out of the constant movement of a glacier over irregular terrain.  Crevasses are both revered for their dramatic beauty and feared for their inherent danger.  Crevasses are often dozens of metres deep and less than a metre wide.  The fear of slipping into one of these treacherously narrowing chasms is well founded. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerAlec Dalgleish (1 August 1907 - 26 June 1934) was a highly respected mountaineer and climber out of Vancouver in the 1920's and 1930's.  His enthusiasm and dedication to climbing was boundless.  He used The Camel, a vertical cliff on Vancouver's Crown Mountain to train.  Though commonly done today, in Dalgleish's day, training for rock climbing was very unusual and underscored his drive to excel at the nascent sport of climbing.  In the late 1920's he became friends with Tom Fyles, a veteran Vancouver mountaineer and arguably the greatest climber of the era.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: DeadfallDeadfall means a tangled mass of fallen trees and branches.  There are several name variations for fallen trees that are commonly used in Whistler.  Windthrow, blowdown and windsnap are used somewhat interchangeably with deadfall.  Deadfall is a more generalized term that literally means dead and fallen, as in a dead and fallen tree.  Windthrow and blowdown, however are more specifically used to refer to trees blown over and uprooted by strong winds during storms. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerEmerald Forest is a cute little forest that is well hidden between Whistler Cay and Alpine.  From Whistler Village, if you go down to the end of Lorimer Road you will see the Valley Trail branch off in three directions.  If you take the direction toward Meadow Park, you will immediately cross the bridge over the River of Golden Dreams.  The paved trail then continues to Meadow Park, but if you take the first left after crossing the train tracks, you will come to the old gravel pit and the start of the Emerald Forest trails.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: ErraticErratic or Glacier Erratic is a piece of rock that has been carried by glacial ice, often hundreds of kilometres.  Characteristic of their massive size and improbable looking placement.  Erratics are frequently seen around Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  Either as bizarre curiosities or a place to relax in the sun.  On a sunny day, a large sun-facing erratic will often be warm and sometimes even hot, providing a comfortable and surreal place to rest. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: The FissileThe Fissile is the stunning Matterhorn-looking mountain that is visible from Village Gate Boulevard in Whistler.  Looking up from Village Gate you will see the distant Peak2Peak Gondola spanning Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  In the background distance you will see The Fissile.  In the bright sunshine of summer it will be vibrantly coloured red.  In the evening it turns dark red then fades into an ominous black.  In the winter months, of course, The Fissile is a striking, white pyramid. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: The FissileFitzsimmons Creek is the beautiful and huge creek that crashes through Whistler Village.  When walking from Whistler Village to the Upper Village, you will cross the nice, covered bridge over Fitzsimmons Creek.  It passes through Whistler Village and pours into Green Lake at the north end of Whistler.  Fitzsimmons Creek originates from Overlord Glacier and Russet Lake, about 12 kilometres up the valley that separates Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Fitzsimmons RangeThe Fitzsimmons Range is a subsection of the Garibaldi Ranges that covers the area between the valleys of Cheakamus Lake and Fitzsimmons Creek.  Fitzsimmons Creek cuts between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain and largely originates from the Fitzsimmons Glacier.  The Fitzsimmons Glacier and Mount Fitzsimmons are part of the Overlord Massif, which gets its name from the highest peak in the area, Overlord Mountain

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerTom Fyles (27 June 1887 - 27 March 1979) was an astoundingly skilled climber that figured prominently in the climbing community of Vancouver for more than two decades.  From his apparent introduction to climbing and mountaineering in 1912, to his prolific array of elite level climbing ascents that began in earnest just four years later.  In 1916 he solo climbed The Table in Garibaldi Park, a mountain almost universally considered to be too difficult and dangerous to climb.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Garibaldi RangesThe Garibaldi Ranges are a subdivision of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains.  Deriving its name from Mount Garibaldi, the Garibaldi Ranges cover the huge stretch of mountains between two enormous river valleys.  The Lillooet River valley on the east side and the Cheakamus River/Green River valley on the west.  Whistler is located on the west edge of the Garibaldi Ranges, while Pemberton near the north end and Vancouver at the south end. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Garibaldi Volcanic BeltThe Garibaldi Volcanic Belt is a line of mostly dormant stratovolcanoes and subglacial volcanoes largely centred around Whistler and extending through much of the Coast Mountains. Divided into sections with the Mount Garibaldi Area at the southern end and the Mount Cayley area southwest of Whistler.   The Mount Meager Area is west of Pemberton and the Bridge River Cones Area northwest of the Meager Area.   

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: GemelInosculation is the technical name for two or more trees that have fused together into a single bizarre looking tree. They are colloquially known as gemels, a name derived from the Latin word gemellus which means "a pair" or "twin". Gemels are a natural phenomenon where trees of the same species grow close enough to rub against each other. Gradually the bark where the two trees contact each other wears away and exposes the cambium.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZGlacier Window: the cave-like opening at the mouth of a glacier where meltwater runs out.  Glacier windows are often extraordinarily beautiful.  A blue glow often colours the inside and the walls are filled with centuries old glacial till.  You can often see deep into the clear walls and the enormous magnitude of a glacier can be appreciated from up close.  The popular and easily accessible glacier window at the terminus of the Wedgemount Glacier at Wedgemount Lake is a stunning example of this.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Green LakeGreen Lake is the marvellously vivid, green coloured lake just north of Whistler Village.  Driving north on the Sea to Sky Highway, Green Lake appears along the highway on your right.  The vivid colour is always impressive and on a sunny day can be spectacular.  One of the best, and easiest places in Whistler to capture an extraordinary sunrise or sunset photo is along the Green Lake viewpoint along the edge of the highway.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Hoary MarmotHoary Marmots are the cute, pudgy, twenty plus pound ground squirrels that have evolved to live quite happily in the hostile alpine areas around Whistler.  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.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: KrummholzWhen you hike in the alpine in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park, you will often encounter unbelievably hardy and sometimes mangled looking trees.  Weathering high winds, freezing temperatures, deep snow and usually growing where most other things can't.  These weather battered trees are called krummholz.  Krummholz is a German derived word that comes from two words, krumm and holz.  Krumm means bent, crooked, twisted and holz means wood.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: KrummholzLithophyte trees are trees that grow out of rock.  Hiking in Whistler you encounter quite a few examples of quite large trees that grow out of what appears to be solid rock.  The hardy tree growing out of one of the tiny Battleship Islands on Garibaldi Lake is a great example of a lithophyte.  Viewed from the shoreline just a few metres away, this hardy little tree appears to exist on an island with not a trace of soil.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: KrummholzMoraines are glacially deposited ridges of debris that accumulate at the sides or terminus of a glacier.  Lateral moraines form at the sides of glaciers and terminal moraines at the terminus of a glacier.  Terminal moraines mark the maximum advance of a glacier.  Moraines are made up of glacial debris ranging in size from enormous boulders to fine glacial flour.  Boulders and rocks in moraines are generally rounded due to the churning and grinding within the glacier as it moved.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mount GaribaldiMount Garibaldi is the huge, potentially active volcano that Garibaldi Provincial Park is named after.  Mount Garibaldi also lends its name to the Garibaldi Ranges, the group of mountain ranges that fill Garibaldi Park.  A subsection of the Garibaldi Ranges is the Garibaldi Névé, which is the large icefield that stretches out along the east side of Mount Garibaldi.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerIf you make it to the summit of Wedge Mountain you will notice off in the distance a beautifully symmetrical mountain that stands out among the rest.  Surrounded by glaciers on all sides, Mount James Turner has an almost to perfect cone shape to it.  The third highest mountain in Garibaldi Provincial Park at 2703 metres(8868 feet), it is only surpassed by Wedge Mountain at 2892 metres(9488 feet) and Wedge's neighbour Mount Weart 2835 metres(9301 feet).

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukMountain hemlock is a species of hemlock that thrives along the west coast of North America from Alaska to California. In Whistler and Garibaldi Park you will encounter them high up on the mountains in subalpine areas battered by harsh winters. If you encounter a brutalized, yet strangely beautiful tree mangled by long winters, it is a good chance it is a mountain hemlock. Trees that have a weather worn, twisted appearance are known as krummholz, and the mountains around Whistler have plenty of these extraordinary trees.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Northair MineNorthair Mine is a surreal little world of colourful murals on abandoned cement foundations, surrounded by an astoundingly tranquil little lake in a secluded forest.  Just a short logging road off of the Callaghan Valley Road takes you to this unusual little abandoned mine.  You would have driven by the turnoff if you have been to Whistler Olympic Park or Alexander Falls, both of which are just a couple kilometres away.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerWhistler can be expensive.  Everything worth doing seems to cost a lot of money.  But if you step back from the noise and crowds you may spot some secret spots of beauty.  The North Arm Farm in Pemberton, just a 40 minute drive north of Whistler, is one of these secret spots.  It's startlingly beautiful in a wonderfully charming and unexpected way.  And even more unexpectedly... it's free. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukSurprisingly often in Whistler's forests you will find a tree growing on an old fallen tree or out of a decaying tree stump. Decaying logs and stumps in the forest actually give new trees some interesting survival advantages. Though a tree stump or log appears to be an inhospitable place for a new tree to grow, the opposite is actually true for a bunch of not so obvious reasons. Known a nurse log or nurse stump the fallen or cut down and removed tree opens some of the forest canopy and allows more sunlight in.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukNunatuk: a rock projection protruding through permanent ice or snow.  Their distinct appearance in 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 on Wedgemount Glacier, high up near the summit of Wedge Mountain.  Another nunatuk once stood down the glacier near Wedgemount Lake, however the glacier retreated above it several years ago.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukPaper birch, also known as white birch is a type of birch tree that grows in northern North America. Named for its paper-like, white or cream coloured bark that easily peels off in large white, horizontal sheets. Leaves are rounded at the base and with a pointed tip and have a length ranging from 5-12cm or 2-5 inches. Wood is excellent for firewood and pulpwood. The bark is particularly flammable. Usually grow to 20 metres (66 feet), but have been known to grow at tall as 40 metres (130 feet).

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: OverlordOverlord Mountain is the highest peak in the Fitzsimmons Range.  Overlord is surrounded by several mountains that collectively are named the Overlord Massif.  Massif is a term geologists use to refer to a group of mountains that tends to move as a unit while shifted by movements of the crust.  The Overlord Massif is dominated by Overlord Mountain which is impressively visible from Whistler Village, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukThe Pacific yew or western yew is a coniferous tree that grows in Whistler and along the coast from Alaska to California. The Pacific yew’s unique appearance stands out among other more numerous and commonly known trees. The trunk is often contorted in angular directions toward gaps in the forest canopy and the branches are extremely long and sinewy. Branches tend to stretch toward the light and needles tend to only grow near the ends where light is found.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Peak2PeakThe Peak 2 Peak Gondola connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain at a dizzying height of 436 metres(1427 feet).  It runs all winter and in the summer when the mountains are open for sightseeing and hiking.  The Peak 2 Peak Gondola runs very fast as it carries up to 4100 people per hour at 7.5 metres per second or 16.8 miles per hour!

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerRainbow Lodge was a popular wilderness lodge in the small community called Alta Lake, and what would eventually be called Whistler  It was a fishing and relaxing destination and easily accessible from Vancouver via the train route that counted it as one of the main train stations in the valley.  Open by Alex and Myrtle Philip in 1914, Rainbow Lodge brought tourism to a sparsely inhabited region populated mostly by loggers and miners. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Rubble CreekThe Rubble Creek trailhead is the main access point for many of the best hikes and sights in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  Rubble Creek is located midway between Whistler and Squamish, just 2 kilometres from the Sea to Sky Highway.  The name Rubble Creek is evidently quite appropriate when you reach the parking lot and see the remnants of the terrific rock slide that swept down the valley not that long ago. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: RoundhouseThe Roundhouse Lodge is the centre of activity on much of Whistler Mountain.  It is where the Whistler Gondola drops off and next to where the Peak 2 Peak Gondola crosses to Blackcomb Mountain.  Restaurants, patios, gift shops and even the fantastic Umbrella Bar perched at the edge of the newly expanded outdoor patio with incredible mountain views.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZScree: 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.  Scree slopes are a common obstacle or simply part of the scenery around Whistler.  The terrain at Wedgemount Lake is dominated by scree slopes and a massive erratic field around the lake.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Spearhead RangeThe Spearhead Range is a subsection of the Garibaldi Ranges that runs in an arc that connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  The Spearhead Range is effectively the brother of the Fitzsimmons Range which runs east from the summit of Whistler Mountain to Russet Lake.  The Spearhead Range covers the area on the north side or Blackcomb Mountain side of Fitzsimmons Creek

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: The TableThe Table is an extraordinary flat-topped mountain located in Garibaldi Park just one kilometre south of Garibaldi Lake.  Sometimes reflexively referred to as Table Mountain, The Table is its commonly used name and distinguishes it from the dozens of mountains worldwide named Table Mountain.  About 12000 years ago, the Cordilleran Ice Sheet covered much of North America with a thickness measured in hundreds of metres.  The Table formed when an erupting volcano forced magma to the surface of the ice and solidified with a strikingly, near-perfect flat surface. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to ZTarn: 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 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. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerCharles Townsend climbed and explored several mountains around Whistler back in 1923, when much of the area remained unexplored.  Along with his friend Neal Carter, they embarked on a mountaineering expedition that was recorded in detail and expertly photographed.  Wedge Mountain, the strikingly wedge-shaped mountain next to Blackcomb Mountain was first climbed by them, and the following days they pressed on through unknown glaciers to summit and name Mount James Turner.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: UsneaThe pale green shub-like growths hanging from trees in the forests around Whistler is called usnea.  These bushy, coral-like fruticose lichens anchor to bark and branches on trees and hang like tinsel on a Christmas tree.  known as old man’s beard, usnea tends to thrive on dead and dying trees and is can appear to be harming their hosts.  They actually do no harm to trees and prefer dying ones for their lack of sunlight blocking canopy growth. 

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerWaterbar and Cross-Ditch: the purpose of a waterbar or cross-ditch is to capture and redirect surface water from the road and channel it across the road surface beyond the shoulder of the road.  A waterbar differs from a cross-ditch as it collects only road surface water and not water flowing down a ditch line or creek.  Waterbars often form naturally across forest service roads over time by seasonal flooding.  Man-made waterbars are visibly different than natural ones in that they are deeper, straighter and have a berm on the downhill side.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukWestern redcedar is a very large tree commonly found in the Pacific Northwest. Frequently growing up to 70 metres and with a trunk diameter of 7 metres, they can live well over 1000 years. Specific is tricky to accurately measure on living trees, however, the oldest verified western redcedar was recorded as 1460 years old. The big western redcedars in Whistler's Ancient Cedars forest are thought to be 1000 years old.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukWhistler spruce is a hybrid of the Sitka spruce and the interior Engelmann spruce. Sitka spruce trees thrive in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest along the West Coast of North America, whereas Engelmann spruce trees grow in the much drier interior. The Whistler spruce is a fast growing tree that gets impressively large very fast. Possibly the best place to get a good look at big Whistler spruce trees is along the Valley Trail at the end of Lorimer Road.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukWestern hemlock (tsuga heterophylla) is a large evergreen coniferous tree that is native to the west coast of North America. Unlike many other trees in Whistler, western hemlocks don't mind growing in the shade, and their tolerance for shade is only surpassed by two other local trees, the Pacific yew and Pacific silver fir. The Pacific yew and the Pacific silver fir are also quite numerous in Whistler and manage to thrive under the taller and more established trees blocking much of the sunlight.

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Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Mt James TurnerMills Winram was a very active mountaineer from Vancouver with some very notable ascents in the 1920's and 1930's.  He, along with Fred Parkes and Stan Henderson made the first ascent of Mount Slesse in August of 1927.  In 1932 Mills Winram, Tom Fyles, Neal Carter and Alec Dalgleish went on an exploratory expedition to the headwaters of Lillooet River, where they made the first known ascent of Mount Meager and several surrounding peaks.

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Whistler Hiking Trails

Cheakamus Lake is a wonderfully relaxing way to get in the wilderness easily and quickly from Whistler Village. The trail begins on the far side of Whistler Mountain, 8 kilometres from the Sea to Sky ...
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The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, Rainbow Falls, Hanging Lake, Madeley Lake, Beverley ...
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The short, winding, and ever-changing hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is the same as the much more popular trailhead for Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is marked as the Rainbow Trail, and the trail quickly ...
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Ring Lake is a fantastically serene and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake, but considerably farther to hike to reach it. The 10 kilometre(6.2 mile) hike takes you through a rarely hiked forest, ...
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Best Hiking by Month

July is a wonderful time to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The weather is beautiful and the snow on high elevation hiking trails is long ...
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August hiking in Whistler definitely has the most consistently great, hot weather.  You can feel the rare pleasure of walking across a glacier shirtless ...
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September hiking in Whistler is possibly the best month of all.  The snow has melted far up to the mountain tops, yet the temperatures are still quite ...
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Hiking in Whistler in October is often unexpectedly stunning.  The days are much shorter and colder but the mountains are alive with colour from the fall ...
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Hike in Whistler News & Blog

October 22nd, 2019: The Cal-Cheak campground just south of Whistler sits in a tranquil, huge tree forest, nestled between Callaghan Creek and Cheakamus ...
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Sept 25th, 2019: Newt Lake is a fantastic, emerald coloured and very hidden lake up on the far side of Cougar Mountain.  In the busy summer months you are not ...
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June 13th, 2020: One of Callaghan Valley's beautiful places appears to be now blocked from the public. Madeley Lake, about as perfectly idyllic a lake can ...
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May 16th, 2019: The Prism mural can be found perched at the edge of Cheakamus River near the Whistler Train Wreck suspension bridge.  After you cross the ...
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October 20th, 2018: A little knowledge before you head out into the wilderness is a good idea.  Especially if you are new to hiking or in unknown terrain.  ...
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April 29th, 2019: Back in 2011 a group of Whistler artists met at Whistler Train Wreck and transformed it from a bland array of wrecked train cars into a ...
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April 8th, 2019: The Rubble Creek trailhead to Garibaldi Provincial Park is finally accessible by car.  The snow buried access road is mostly free of snow.  ...
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October 21th, 2018: Pack smart by putting heavier items close to your back and higher up your pack.  Be organised and think of keeping important things ...
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Best Whistler Aerial Views

Wedgemount Lake itself is a magnificent destination for a day hike or spectacular overnight beneath the dazzling mountain peaks and stars above Garibaldi ...
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The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, ...
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Alexander Falls is located far up in the Callaghan Valley just before the turnoff to Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  The falls are very impressive with its ...
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The alpine hiking trails on Whistler Mountain are the ultimate in luxurious, quick-access alpine hiking. Little effort gets you amazing views of turquoise lakes, ...
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Hike in Whistler Glossary

Fitzsimmons Creek is the beautiful and huge creek that crashes through Whistler Village.  When walking from Whistler Village to the Upper Village, you will cross ...
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Glacier Window: the cave-like opening at the mouth of a glacier where meltwater runs out.  Glacier windows are often extraordinarily beautiful.  A blue glow ...
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Paper birch, also known as white birch is a type of birch tree that grows in northern North America. Named for its paper-like, white or cream coloured ...
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Tarn: 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 ...
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Whistler can be expensive.  Everything worth doing seems to cost a lot of money.  But if you step back from the noise and crowds you may spot some secret ...
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Chimney: a gap between two vertical faces of rock or ice.  Often a chimney offers the only viable route to the summit of a mountain.  An example of this is Black ...
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The Spearhead Range is a subsection of the Garibaldi Ranges that runs in an arc that connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  The Spearhead ...
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Erratic or Glacier Erratic is a piece of rock that has been carried by glacial ice, often hundreds of kilometres.  Characteristic of their massive size and ...
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Best Whistler Waterfalls

Shannon Falls towers above Howe Sound at 335 metres as the third tallest falls in BC.  The wonderful, though very short trail winds through a beautiful old ...
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Brandywine Falls is one of the must see sights on the way to or from Whistler. The falls drop from a 70 metre(230 feet), unnaturally abrupt looking cliff ...
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Holloway Falls is the beautiful waterfalls you see partway along the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park trail.  Located between Middle Joffre Lake and Upper ...
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Whistler Train Wreck is a hidden little world of brightly graffiti painted, wrecked train cars along a gorgeous stretch of Cheakamus River.  One ...
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Best Whistler Parks

Alpha Lake Park is a beautiful little park on the shores of Alpha Lake in Creekside, just 5 kilometres south of Whistler Village.  Located partway along ...
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Meadow Park is a huge recreation area in Whistler that has a hockey rink, huge gym, swimming pool, squash courts, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, ...
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Alta Lake Park is one of several scenic parks on Alta Lake.  Lakeside Park, Blueberry ParkRainbow Park and Wayside Park are also along the shore of ...
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Rainbow Park is one of Whistler's most popular sightseeing, picnicking, dog walking, relaxing and swimming beaches and for good reason.  The beach is south ...
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Explore BC Hiking Destinations!

Whistler Hiking Trails

Hiking in Whistler is spectacular and wonderfully varied. Looking at a map of Whistler you see an extraordinary spider web of hiking trails that are unbelievably numerous. Easy trails, moderate trails and challenging hiking trails are all available. Another marvellous ...
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Squamish Hiking Trails

Squamish sits in the midst of some amazing places to hike. Garibaldi Park sprawls from Squamish up and beyond Whistler. Tantalus Provincial Park lays across the valley to the west and the beautiful and desolate, by comparison, Callaghan Valley to the north. Add to ...
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Vancouver Hiking Trails

Vancouver is surrounded by seemingly endless hiking trails and mountains to explore.  Massive parks line up one after another.  Mount Seymour Provincial Park, Lynn Canyon Park, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and the enormous Garibaldi Provincial Park all ...
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Clayoquot Hiking Trails

Clayoquot Sound has a staggering array of hiking trails within it.  Between Tofino and Ucluelet, Pacific Rim National Park has several wilderness and beach trails, each one radically different from the last.  The Islands in the area are often Provincial Parks on their ...
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Victoria Hiking Trails

Victoria has a seemingly endless number of amazing hiking trails.  Most take you to wild and beautiful Pacific Ocean views and others take you to tranquil lakes in beautiful BC Coastal Rainforest wilderness.  Regional Parks and Provincial Parks are everywhere you turn ...
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The West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail is incredible. Everything about it is amazing. From the wildly, incomprehensibly enormous trees to endless jaw dropping views. And it's tough.  Very tough.  It is a trail that shouldn't exist. Hiking trails always form out of the easiest route worn ...
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