Spearhead Traverse - Backcountry Skiing & Splitboarding
MSAA
Whistler / Squamish

Spearhead Traverse

Spearhead Traverse Peak Ascent on Skis

Summary

 Winter
  • Cost:
  • Adult $595

Location: Garibaldi Park, traverse between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains   Duration: 4 Days   Fitness: Very Good   Ability: Intermediate   Prerequisites: Overnight touring experience. AST 1 an asset  

4 days of skiing across Whistler’s famous Spearhead range! This traverse navigates through the Spearhead and Fitzsimmons Ranges. This route is comparable to the famous “Haute Route” in Europe offering spectacular scenery and excellent skiing.

Read our blog: Whistler Backcountry’s Rite of Passage

 

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Adventure Information

13 Glaciers in 4 days all above 2,000 meters!

This traverse through the Spearhead and Fitzsimmons Ranges is comparable to the famous “Haute Route” in Europe. The route offers spectacular scenery and excellent skiing. Glacier route finding and navigation, avalanche and hazard assessment and terrain evaluation will all be practiced along the way: a perfect trip to hone your winter skills in a challenging environment. Participants must be strong intermediate or above skier/riders with previous overnight backcountry touring experience and good physical condition.

Big terrain features, lots of variety, and 4 days long – this is a great ski trip experience!

The Spearhead Traverse follows the range behind Whistler-Blackcomb Resort. Most people begin by riding the lifts to the Blackcomb Glacier and end the tour on the ski runs at Whistler. The climbing is easier in this direction and it gets the hardest terrain out of the way on the first two days. From the top of Blackcomb, the traverse jumps from one pocket glacier to another, over ridges and through small passes. The first good campsites can be found on the Trorey Glacier. From here the route continues southeast, skirting below peaks with amazing views into the remote valleys of northern Garibaldi Provincial Park. At Tremor Mountain, the route turns south, crossing the aptly named Platform Glacier. There are several good ski runs here including the Ripsaw and MacBeth glaciers. The route turns west toward Whistler Mountain, and arrives at the Russet Lake Hut—not just a welcome refuge from the elements but also the end of the technical terrain.

If you are looking to up your touring level or are just after another great mountain adventure this is a perfect trip – and still so accessible!

Read our blog on the Spearhead Traverse – Whistler Backcountry’s Rite of Passage

Day 1

  • 8:30am meet your guide at our Whistler Village office for a conditions and weather briefing and gear check.
  • Load Gondola at 9:00am
  • Begin the classic traverse with options to ski Mt Trorey and Trory Glacier 8000m or Mt Pattison 8200m which offers a 2500m ski run.
  • Camp in the evening on Platform Glacier.

Day 2

  • 8:30am breakfast and guide’s meeting and ready to go by 10:00am
  • Continue traverse with options for classic descents off Mt Macbeth and the Naden Glacier – 2500m ski run which drops down into the wilderness of the McBride range.
  • Camp in the evening at a location depending on your touring route through the day

Day 3

  • 8:30am breakfast and guide’s meeting and ready to go by 10:00am
  • Continue traverse and have the opportunity to explore Iago, Fitzsimmons, Benvolio or Overlord or any of the other 13 glaciers which the traverse crosses.
  • By afternoon reach Russet Lake Hut. Enjoy a warm and cozy hut for the last night

Day 4

  • 8:30am breakfast and guide’s meeting and ready to go by 10:00am
  • Ski up to Fissile and ski out the Singing Pass trail through to the village or enter over the musical bumps back to the Whistler Ski Resort over Whistler Mountain.

We are happy to help source any rental gear that you need for your trip.

Avalanche safety kit is included! (tranceiver, shovel and prob

Equipment:

  • Lift pass
  • Touring skis / splitboard and skins
  • Poles (telescopic poles required for splitboarders)
  • Ski / snowboard boots
  • Ski Crampons
  • 45L + pack
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Tent/Tarp
  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Crevasse Rescue Kit (and know how to use it)
  • Ice Ax
  • Headlamp with fresh batteries
  • Water bottle(s) (Minimum 1L capacity)
  • Multi-tool
  • Sunglasses, suncreen
  • Goggles
  • Helmet
  • Personal Care Kit (toilet paper, toothbrush/toothpaste, personal medical drugs)
  • General Repair Kit: to repair packs, tent, clothing, Thermarest, etc.
  • Avalanche satey kit – is supplied but feel free to bring your own gear
  • Cooking Equipment
  • Stove/Fuel

Clothing:

  • Weatherproof shell jacket and pants
  • Down or synthetic “puffy” insulated jacket
  • Insulating top and bottom underlayers and socks plus extras for multiple days
  • Weatherproof Gloves (standard ski gloves are suitable)
  • Extra gloves
  • Light gloves for uphill (mountain bike/running gloves work well)
  • Warm hat, balaclava
  • Baseball cap/sunhat for spring touring

Optional:

  • Thermos
  • Ear Plugs
  • Reading Material
  • Camera
  • Bandana
  • Map, compass, GPS
  • Fieldbook and pencil
  • Watch (with altimeter, barometer, compass, thermometer)
  • Down booties and bootie covers

The Traverse is truly a world-class ski route!

Cost: $595 per person

Backcountry lift pass is required. It is available to purchase through us.
*Prices subject to tax

Ratio: Maximum 6 to 1 client to guide
Location: Garibaldi Park, traverse between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains
Transportation: Must have transportation to the Whister Village
Food: Meal plan option available including all meals and snacks (excluding day 1 breakfast and lunch) for $126. (Dietary restrictions must be disclosed at time of booking). You will be responsible for your own water and extra snacks if needed.
Prerequisites: This traverse is for accomplished skiers and splitboarders. Overnight touring experience is required, and AST 1 is an asset.
Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced.

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance upon booking and Emergency Evacuation insurance.

Emergency Evacuation and Medical

This coverage provides you with emergency air rescue if required and full medical. Parks Canada provides free evacuation within the Parks and if you are a Canadian resident your medical will be covered by National Health.

We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance. Emergency evacuation insurance is also compulsory for all our hut trips, as these typically take place outside of Parks Canada’s jurisdiction.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

To prepare for unforeseen circumstances we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance at the time of booking your trip. Trip Cancellation insurance covers many scenarios to reimburse you for cancelled trips outside of your control.

Our recommended insurance provider is Tugo.Com who can be reached via the following:

All course prices are quoted in Canadian Dollars and are exclusive of a 5% Federal GST. Prices are subject to change.

Full payment is required at time of registration. Our preferred method of payment is by Mastercard or VISA through our online payment portal. We also accept Credit Card payment over the phone, bank transfer and cash.

Mountain Skills Academy takes mountain safety very seriously, however there is no way to completely mitigate risk in alpine environments. Prior to undertaking any of our courses or trips we require you to sign a waiver.

Mountain conditions are extremely unpredictable and can change at short notice. Our guides endeavor to undertake the routes and/or peaks that our clients desire, however our decisions will be impacted by conditions. Unfortunately we are not able to offer refunds if conditions are not suitable to undertake a particular route on the day you have booked. We will however make every effort to take you out for the best day possible given the conditions.

Applicable to all tours and courses*: If conditions force us to cancel a course or trip we will do all we can to accommodate you at another date. If this isn’t possible we will offer a full refund. We reserve the right to decline rescheduling dates based on availability. *Does not apply to First Aid and WFR courses.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 24 hours: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, no reschedule.
  • Outside of 24 hours: $25 rescheduling fee per booking or full refund.
Multi Day Programs
  • 2 Day Programs: Within 10 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 10 days: $25 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.
  • 3+ Day Programs: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule or full refund.
  • Customized Trips: 30 days cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition, Outside of 30 days: $75penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**On all multi day trips pre arranged add-ons are non-refundable (food, accommodation, etc).

Courses Cancellation Policy

1-2 Day Courses

  • Within 10 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 10 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

3+ Day Courses

  • Within 30 days: Cancellation notice will result in a 100% forfeit of tuition
  • Outside of 30 days: $75 penalty to reschedule per booking or full refund.

**If you are able to find someone else to take your place on a course, please let us know as we are more than happy to transfer bookings.

Minors (under the age of 18 for our courses based in Alberta and 19 for those based in BC) and custodial groups (youths affiliated with an institution where the parents/legal guardian are not present on the trip) may register for certain trips and courses with a letter of consent from parents or legal guardian as well as must sign a waiver and have their parents or legal guardian sign a waiver. Further, we abide by the Parks Canada Custodial Group winter backcountry policy as outlined here.


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