Tantalus Range

Tantalus Range

From Hwy 99, the view to the broad, heavily fractured blue-ice face of Mt. Tantalus presents a jaw-dropping intersection of the rugged geology and weather-influenced nature of the Coast Mountains. As highpoint of the Tantalus Range—a small sub-range of the Pacific Ranges that flanks the Squamish River and is only 35 kilometres long and 16 kilometres wide—the mountain’s heavy glaciation vibe leaves a viewer with Himalayan impressions.

Together with Mt. Tantalus, two other prominent peaks, Mt. Alpha and Mt. Omega, were once nunataks that rose above the surface of a 2-kilometre-thick Pleistocene Cordilleran Ice Sheet. Unfortunately, the remaining ice has accelerated its retreat significantly in the past two decades due to climate change.

Since 1998 the range has been home to Tantalus Provincial Park, which borders Esté-tiwih Sigurd Creek Conservancy (northeast) and Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park (southeast). Other features in the park include Lake Lovely Water, Zenith Lake, Sigurd Lake, and Madden Falls.

  • nunatak peaks
  • retreating glaciers
  • iconic photography

GEOLOGIC CONTEXT:

A small (16 x 35 km), heavily glaciated sub-range of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains.

HOW TO SEE IT:

Although flightseeing might be the best way to experience the Tantalus Range close up, it is easily viewed from the Brohm Ridge and Cheakmaus Canyon pullouts on Hwy 99 north of Squamish.

Services:

Parking and washrooms at highway overlooks. Consult guidebooks for backcountry services.

Hazards:

Wilderness backcountry and high-mountain hazards of rockfall, avalanches and crevasses.

Protection and guardianship are at the heart of the Geopark philosophy. We ask that you treat the land with the same reverence as its original inhabitants, and not remove anything from a site but what you’ve brought to help preserve it for future generations.

Decimal Degrees (DD)

49.818608, -123.329530

Degrees Decimal Minutes (DDM)

49° 49.1165' N   123° 19.7718' W

Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS)

49° 49' 6.9888" N  123° 19' 46.308" W

What Are Pillars?

The Fire & Ice Aspiring Geopark comprises four main geological pillars referenced in all interpretive material: (M)ountain Building, (G)laciation, (V)olcanism and (C)ollapse.

MOUNTAIN BUILDING

Mountain building can involve several processes that contribute to the formation of mountains, such as the collision of tectonic plates that result in folding, faulting, metamorphism and the creation of subduction zones associated with volcanic activity and igneous intrusion.

GLACIATION

Glaciation refers to landform phenomena associated with the formation, movement and recession of glaciers and ice sheets. In temperate latitudes such as British Columbia, montane glaciation at higher altitudes is the norm while continental glaciation occurred during Ice Ages like the recent Pleistocene.

VOLCANISM

Volcanism is the eruption of subterranean molten rock (magma) and gasses onto the surface of the planet and includes the production of volcanic landforms and the effects of eruptions and flowing lava on pre-existing surface formations.

COLLAPSE

Collapse is a term that refers broadly to both slow processes of destabilization and erosion by wind, water and ice, as well as rapid processes like rockfall and landslides.

Whether acting as primary or secondary forces, one or more of these processes figure in the creation of each geosite.