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.  

Whistler & Garibaldi Park

 Garibaldi Park WhistlerAblation Zone  Garibaldi Park WhistlerAccumulation Zone  Garibaldi Park WhistlerAdit Lakes  Garibaldi Park WhistlerAiguille  Garibaldi Park WhistlerAlpine Zone  Garibaldi Park WhistlerArête  Garibaldi Park WhistlerARRTI  Garibaldi Park WhistlerArmchair Glacier  Garibaldi Park WhistlerThe Barrier  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBattleship Islands  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBears  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBench  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBergschrund  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBivouac  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCairn/Inukshuk  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCarter  Garibaldi Park WhistlerChimney  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCirque  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCloudraker  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCoast Mountains  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCordilleran  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCornice  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCorrie Lake  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCrevasse  Garibaldi Park WhistlerDalgleish  Garibaldi Park WhistlerDeadfall  Garibaldi Park WhistlerEmerald Forest  Garibaldi Park WhistlerErratic  Garibaldi Park WhistlerThe Fissile  Garibaldi Park WhistlerFitzsimmons Creek  Garibaldi Park WhistlerFitzsimmons Range  Garibaldi Park WhistlerFyles  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGaribaldi Ranges  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGaribaldi Volcanic Belt  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGemel  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGlacier Window  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGreen Lake  Garibaldi Park WhistlerHoary Marmot  Garibaldi Park WhistlerKrummholz  Garibaldi Park WhistlerLithophyte  Garibaldi Park WhistlerMoraine  Garibaldi Park WhistlerMt Garibaldi  Garibaldi Park WhistlerMt James Turner  Garibaldi Park WhistlerNorthair Mine  Garibaldi Park WhistlerNunatuk  Garibaldi Park WhistlerOverlord  Garibaldi Park WhistlerPeak 2 Peak  Garibaldi Park WhistlerRoundhouse  Garibaldi Park WhistlerRubble Creek  Garibaldi Park WhistlerScree  Garibaldi Park WhistlerSpearhead Range  Garibaldi Park WhistlerTarn  Garibaldi Park WhistlerThe Table  Garibaldi Park WhistlerTownsend  Garibaldi Park WhistlerUsnea  Garibaldi Park WhistlerWinram

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An ice-marginal lava flow is interesting because it causes the lava flow that pools against the glacier to cool relatively quickly forming a solid, rock barrier.  Behind this barrier of rock, a lava pool forms.  As the glacier retreats as it did after the last ice age, this barrier remains and is characterized as large, steep and unstable.  The Barrier was formed in this way from this massive lava flow from Clinker Peak.  The lava flow has been studied in detail and four “lobes” have been identified.  The First Lobe, closest to Clinker Peak pushes into Garibaldi Lake separating Price Bay from the Garibaldi Lake campground.  The Second Lobe covers the area separating Garibaldi Lake from Lesser Garibaldi Lake and is the lobe that created Garibaldi Lake.  The Third Lobe formed The Barrier and created Lesser Garibaldi Lake.  The Fourth Lobe extends from The Barrier and can be seen today as the very abrupt cliffs along the opposite side of the Rubble Creek valley.

In the spring of 1856 more than 25 million cubic metres of rock from The Barrier crashed down the valley of what is today called Rubble Creek.  The incredible torrent of volcanic rock boulders crashed down the valley more than 6 kilometres at a speed of more than 30 metres per second.  The vertical distance of the debris flow was over 1000 metres measured from the top of The Barrier to the end of the debris field where Rubble Creek meets Cheakamus River.

The Barrier in Garibaldi Park

The Barrier in Garibaldi Park

The exact cause of the 1856 Rubble Creek landslide is difficult to know for sure.  There are a couple of likely possibilities geologists have come up with.  Water from Garibaldi Lake ends up passing through The Barrier via a subsurface drainage system that comes out the other side as springs far below.  Groundwater pressure  may have increased due to some sort of blockage resulting in pressures that triggered the slide.  Another theory is that an earthquake could have ruptured The Barrier, causing the massive release of rock down the valley.  There is a record of an earthquake in the area in 1853, however no record of an earthquake in the years that follow, before or after the 1856 Rubble Creek slide.  It is difficult to confirm that an earthquake did not occur in 1856 owing to the distance to populated areas at the time.  The abrupt shape of The Barrier and its interesting origin not only explain how it formed into such and unusual way, but why it will continue to threaten another collapse.

Mount Price and Clinker Peak

Garibaldi Lake from Panorama Ridge

The Barrier is easy to see at a few good vantage points.  You can see it, though not terribly impressively from the Rubble Creek trailhead to Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The best way to see it on foot is from the wonderful Barrier viewpoint along the trail to Garibaldi Lake.  About 30 minutes before you get to the Garibaldi Lake campground on the Rubble Creek trail you will see the very short side trail to The Barrier viewpoint.  It is located almost directly across from the ominously gigantic wall that looks to be crumbling before your eyes.  Quite a sight to behold, and the viewpoint is quite nice with its large boulders to take a seat on and robust trees clinging to life on the edge of the enormous chasm The Barrier will once again collapse into.

The Barrier: Whistler & Garibaldi Park Geology

 Garibaldi Park WhistlerAblation Zone  Garibaldi Park WhistlerAccumulation Zone  Garibaldi Park WhistlerAdit Lakes  Garibaldi Park WhistlerAiguille  Garibaldi Park WhistlerAlpine Zone  Garibaldi Park WhistlerArête  Garibaldi Park WhistlerARRTI  Garibaldi Park WhistlerArmchair Glacier  Garibaldi Park WhistlerThe Barrier  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBattleship Islands  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBears  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBench  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBergschrund  Garibaldi Park WhistlerBivouac  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCairn/Inukshuk  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCarter  Garibaldi Park WhistlerChimney  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCirque  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCloudraker  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCoast Mountains  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCordilleran  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCornice  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCorrie Lake  Garibaldi Park WhistlerCrevasse  Garibaldi Park WhistlerDalgleish  Garibaldi Park WhistlerDeadfall  Garibaldi Park WhistlerEmerald Forest  Garibaldi Park WhistlerErratic  Garibaldi Park WhistlerThe Fissile  Garibaldi Park WhistlerFitzsimmons Creek  Garibaldi Park WhistlerFitzsimmons Range  Garibaldi Park WhistlerFyles  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGaribaldi Ranges  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGaribaldi Volcanic Belt  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGemel  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGlacier Window  Garibaldi Park WhistlerGreen Lake  Garibaldi Park WhistlerHoary Marmot  Garibaldi Park WhistlerKrummholz  Garibaldi Park WhistlerLithophyte  Garibaldi Park WhistlerMoraine  Garibaldi Park WhistlerMt Garibaldi  Garibaldi Park WhistlerMt James Turner  Garibaldi Park WhistlerNorthair Mine  Garibaldi Park WhistlerNunatuk  Garibaldi Park WhistlerOverlord  Garibaldi Park WhistlerPeak 2 Peak  Garibaldi Park WhistlerRoundhouse  Garibaldi Park WhistlerRubble Creek  Garibaldi Park WhistlerScree  Garibaldi Park WhistlerSpearhead Range  Garibaldi Park WhistlerTarn  Garibaldi Park WhistlerThe Table  Garibaldi Park WhistlerTownsend  Garibaldi Park WhistlerUsnea  Garibaldi Park WhistlerWinram

Aiguille: a tall, narrow, characteristically distinct spire of rock. From the French word for "needle". Used extensively as part of the names for many ...
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Arête: 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 ...
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Hoary Marmots are the cute, pudgy, twenty plus pound ground squirrels that have evolved to live quite happily in the hostile alpine areas around Whistler.  ...
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Cornice: 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 ...
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Russet 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 ...
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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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Bergschrund or abbreviated schrund: a crevasse that forms from the separation of moving glacier ice from the stagnant ice above. Characterized by a deep ...
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If 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.  ...
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Rent Hiking Gear Whistler Garibaldi Park

Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMount Sproatt  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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Rainbow Falls is located just a short hike from the start of the Rainbow Trail to Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is along Alta Lake Road on the far side of ...
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Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141 foot waterfall just 30 to 40 minutes south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley. Open year-round and ...
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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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Wedgemount Falls can be seen along the trail to Wedgemount Lake.  As the falls flow directly from Wedgemount Lake, they are located about three quarters ...
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Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above.  The beautiful, green water rushes through the ...
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Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation. Evidence of this can be seen in the ...
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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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Whistler has an absurd number of wonderful and free hiking trails and Parkhurst Ghost Town certainly ranks as one of the most unusual, exotic and interesting. Parkhurst was a little logging town perched on ...
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