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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The accumulation zone stretches from the higher elevations and pushes down, eventually reaching the ablation zone near the terminus of the glacier where the net loss of snow/ice exceeds the gain.  The Wedgemount Glacier in Garibaldi Provincial Park in Whistler is an ideal place to see an accumulation zone up close.  From across Wedgemount Lake you can see the overall picture of both the accumulation zone and ablation zone of a glacier.  The Wedgemount Glacier is also relatively easy and safe to examine closely and hike onto.  The left side of the glacier is frequented in the summer and fall months by experienced hikers on their way to Wedge Mountain and Mount Weart.  Extreme caution is always needed and if you don't know how to remain safe while navigating a glacier, you should avoid doing so.  Wedgemount Lake itself is a magnificent destination for a day hike or spectacular overnight beneath the dazzling mountain peaks and stars.  Many sleep under the stars on one of the many beautiful tent platforms that dot the landscape.  Solidly built, wooden tent platforms are everywhere you look at Wedgemount Lake.  Strategically positioned, these platforms manage to maintain an amazingly secluded feel despite their numbers.

Beautiful Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Park

In all Wedgemount Lake has 20 of these tent areas.  Most are wooden, but several down by the lake shore are gravel, yet every bit as nice.  At a fast hiking pace you can reach Wedgemount Lake from the trailhead in just an hour and a half but at a leisurely or backpack laden pace you will likely take over two hours.  The trail is well marked and well used.  The steepness of the trail doesn't require any technical skill, however that last kilometre before the lake you will be scrambling on all fours quite a bit.

Wedgemount Lake Tent View

Wedgemount aka Wedge Glacier

Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Wedgemount Glacier's Accumulation Zone Aerial Views

The accumulation zone of Wedgemount Glacier aerial view.  You have to get a camera at least 300 metres above the glacier to get a good view of it in its entirety with its massive accumulation zone pushing down from the steep north face of Wedge Mountain.

Accumulation Zone Wedgemount Glacier

Wedgemount Glacier Accumulation Zone

Wedgemount Lake Aerial View

Scrambling Routes Around Wedgemount Lake

One of the defining features of Garibaldi Provincial Park, and Wedgemount Lake in particular, is the staggering number of branching hikes from the main destination of the lake itself. For many, Wedgemount Lake and the Wedge Hut is the base for hikes to Wedge Mountain, Mount Cook, Mount Weart, Mount Moe, Mount James Turner and Mount Currie in Pemberton, crossing glaciers such as Wedge Glacier, Weart Glacier, Armchair Glacier, Mystery Glacier and the Needles and Chaos Glacier to name a few. Dozens of unforgettable peaks can be reached from this quiet little hut overlooking this perfect, turquoise lake.  In short, if you were to design a paradise in the mountains, Wedgemount Lake would be the standard to which all others would pale.  The sheltered valley, beautiful turquoise lake, wonderfully huge glacier across the valley and brutally jagged mountains all around all contribute to making Wedgemount Lake something special.  It's challenging and exhausting to hike to and an absolute paradise to relax in. Down by the lakeside you can actually find two recliner chairs, built out of the rocks by the lake.  Such a perfect way to enjoy the sun rising over the not-so-distant glacier across the lake.

Beautiful Wedgemount Lake BC Parks Garibaldi Park

Wedgemount Lake Maps

Below is a map showing Wedgemount Lake from several vantage points.  The upper tent pad view looking across to Wedgemount Glacier, an iceberg in July, the beautiful glacier window, the amazing view from the lower tent pads along Wedgemount Lake.  The map also shows the various routes up Wedgemount Glacier to Wedge Mountain.  These routes are potentially very dangerous and glacier travel is always unpredictable and hazardous, so make sure you know what you are doing before venturing beyond the glacier window.

Wedgemount Lake Map v16

Wedgemount Lake Driving Directions Map v10

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