Spearhead Traverse - Backcountry Skiing & Splitboarding
MSAA
Whistler / Squamish

Spearhead Traverse

Spearhead Traverse Ski Tour

Summary

 Winter
  • Cost:
  • Adult $699 (min. 4 people)

Location: Garibaldi Park, traverse between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains   Duration: 3 Days   Fitness: Very Good   Ability: Intermediate   Prerequisites: Overnight touring experience. AST 1 and Crevasse Rescue skills  

Challenge yourself with a Spearhead Traverse ski tour in the backcountry of Whistler! You travel and camp across 13 glaciers all above 2,000 metres. Spectacular scenery and excellent skiing! Hone your winter skills with a professional guide: glacier route finding and navigation, avalanche and hazard assessment and terrain evaluation will all be practiced along the way.

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Adventure Information

13 glaciers in 3 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 3 days – this is a great ski trip experience! Other tour length options are available upon request.

The Spearhead Traverse follows the range behind Whistler Blackcomb Resort. The tour starts by riding the lifts up to the Blackcomb Glacier and end the tour on the ski runs at Whistler Mountain. The climbing is easier in this direction and it gets the hardest terrain out of the way at the beginning. The traverse moves 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 Russet Lake marking the end of the technical terrain.

If you are looking to raise your touring level or are after a landmark mountain adventure this is a perfect trip – and so accessible!

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

Day 1

  • Meet your guide for conditions and weather briefing and gear check.
  • Load gondola to access the backcountry.
  • Begin the traverse with options to ski Mt. Trorey and Trory Glacier (8000 m) or Mt Pattison (8200 m) which offers a 2500m ski run.
  • Camp in the evening at a location depending on conditions and pace through the day. Camp may be on Trorey, Tremor, or Platform Glacier.

Day 2

  • Breakfast and guide’s meeting.
  • Continue traverse with many options for descents.
  • Camp in the evening at a location depending on your touring route through the day.

Day 3

  • Breakfast and guide’s meeting.
  • 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.

The trip cost includes:

  • Guiding fee
  • Guides meals
  • Camping and park fees
  • Group equipment (first aid, cooking stove, pots, rope, utensils)
  • Harness

The trip cost DOES NOT include:

  • Ground transportation
  • Lift ticket
  • Avalanche safety equipment (transceiver, shovel, probe)
  • Touring equipment (skis/splitboard, boots, skins, poles)
  • Personal camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and a backpack)
  • Food catering (with the exception of breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last day)

Please inform in advance if you require organizing rentals or if you have any dietary restrictions.

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 Axe
  • 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 safey kit
  • 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
  • Goggles and sunglasses

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!

Backcountry lift pass is required. It is available to purchase through us.

Ratio: Maximum 6 to 1 client to guide
Location: Garibaldi Park, traverse between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains
Transportation: Must have transportation to the Whistler Village
Food: Food catering is available at additional cost. Dietary restrictions must be disclosed at time of booking. You are responsible for your own water and extra snacks.
Prerequisites: This traverse is for accomplished skiers and splitboarders. Overnight touring experience is required and AST1 and crevasse rescue skills.
Difficulty: Intermediate to advanced.

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Important Information

We strongly recommend you purchase insurance for Trip Cancellation, Emergency Evacuation and Adventure Sports Coverage (some backcountry adventures are excluded from coverage).

Emergency Evacuation and Medical Insurance

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 your provincial health plan (except ambulance/air ambulance transport). We strongly recommend international visitors purchase this insurance.

Emergency evacuation insurance is 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 prices are quoted in Canadian dollars and are exclusive of a 5% tax (GST). Prices are subject to change. Guide gratuities are not included in fees.

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 Wilderness First Aid courses.

Late Arrival Policy

Guests arriving more than 15 minutes late for an activity forfeit 100% of the tour price. Tours leave promptly; it is recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to sort out gear and sign waivers.

Adventures Cancellation Policy

Half Day and Full Day Programs

  • Within 48 hours of start time:  Cancellation will result in a 100% forfeit of tour price, no rescheduling.
  • More than 48 hours:  $25 rescheduling & refunding fee (per booking).
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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