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. 

Whistler & Garibaldi Park

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In the spring and fall when snow covers alpine trails, cairns mark many routes.  An inukshuk(also spelled inuksuk) is the name for a cairn used by peoples of the Arctic region of North America.  Both spelling versions are pronounced nearly as they are spelled.  So inukshuk is pronounced inook-shuk, and inuksuk with inook-suk.  Though an inukshuk can take many forms similar to a cairn, it is usually represented by large rocks formed into a human shape.  The word inukshuk literally translates from two separate Inuit words, inuk "person" and suk "substitute".  The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler used the inukshuk for the logo of the games.  Today you will find several giant rock inukshuks in Vancouver and Whistler at various places.  In Whistler there is an impressive inukshuk, several metres high a the peak of Whistler Mountain.  Another huge inukshuk sits overlooking Whistler Valley at the Roundhouse next to the Umbrella Bar.  The first inukshuk that most visitors to Whistler see is the huge one on Village Gate Boulevard.

Inukshuck on Whistler Mountain

Insukshuck on the Summit of Whistler Mountain

Inukshuck and Distant Black Tusk

Cairns Battleship Islands Garibaldi Lake

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Nunatuk: a rock projection protruding through permanent ice or snow.  Their distinct appearance in an otherwise barren landscape often makes them ...
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Bivouac or Bivy: a primitive campsite or simple, flat area where camping is possible.  Traditionally used to refer to a very primitive campsite comprised of ...
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Inosculation is the technical name for two or more trees that have fused together into a single bizarre looking tree. They are colloquially known as ...
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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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The 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 ...
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The 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 ...
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Neal 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 ...
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Moraines are glacially deposited ridges of debris that accumulate at the sides or terminus of a glacier.  Lateral moraines form at the sides of glaciers ...
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Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking

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