Located near Squamish, Mount Garibaldi is a stratovolcano that is part of the Cascade volcanic arc. Most recent volcanic activity occurred around 10,000 years ago. The area is made up of Mount Garibaldi, Atwell Peak, and Dalton Dome. Trailheads are about an hour and a half drive north from Vancouver. Elfin Lakes, used to access the East face of the mountain, is a very popular hiking destination in summer, and skiing destination in winter.
Climbs in Southwest British Columbia & Northern Washington by Kevin McLane is an outstanding book that covers details of routes and approaches to this and other nearby mountains.
Bivouac.com Mount Garibaldi
page is another good source of information & photos.
Visit the BC Parks Garibaldi Provincial Park
There are two major approaches to Garibaldi: East Face, and North Face. Both are reached by following the Sea to Sky Highway (99) North from Vancouver, and are in Alpine Select.
Just past Squamish (4 km north), turn right off Hwy 99 onto Mamquam Road. Follow the paved road past the Squamish Golf and Country Club, then take the logging road just past the Mashiter Creek bridge. Continue on the logging road and look for a blue sign saying "Garibaldi" and an arrow pointing left. Take the left and continue along the logging road. It is 16 km from the highway to the parking lot which is at 3,000 feet.
Parking Lot to Elfin Lakes
– A delightful snowshoe or ski in winter, but once the snow is gone, this is a long boring slog up a gravel trail for 11 km, gaining 2,000 feet.
The National Resources Canada map to get is Cheakamus River 92 G/14.
92 G/15 Mamquam Mountain shows the area East of the summit for the approach.
Both are scaled 1:50,000, so don’t show a lot of detail.
Is referenced in Alpine Select
Permits are not required to climb Garibaldi.
The crowds camp at Elfin Lakes where there is a hut. Details at Garibaldi Provincial Park
To get a better start on the summit, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, and leave the crowds behind, it is recommended that you continue past Elfin Lakes to the base of Atwell. The trail covers some interesting ground along a steep scree slope to where Atwell comes into view. You can either hike up the creek bed or go right and up the ridge. We took the ridge up and the creek bed down, and suspect the latter would have been easier both ways.
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When to Climb & Weather
If you’ve got the right gear and the right experience, you can attempt the mountain year round. Skiers enjoy the spring months in February, March, April. Depending on the snowfall of a given year, as the summer progresses, the summit loses its snow cover, and becomes a crumbly heap of loose volcanic rock. From June on, be prepared for a messy scramble and bring extensive webbing to leave behind, and a double rope to rap down from the summit.
As with all the mountains in this area, weather is very unpredictable with sudden changes. Always be prepared for anything.
For current weather conditions, visit Environment Canada
and check the forecast for Squamish.
For current avalanche conditions, visit Canadian Avalanche Association
and check the South Coast forecast.