Spearhead Traverse - Whistler

The Proper Way to Ski Whistler Blackcomb

A stunning high level U-shaped ski traverse linking Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains via a series of glaciers, summits and mountain passes.  It has been described as a classic Canadian Ski Mountaineering objective and has often been compared to, in quality, the world famous Haute Route.

All superlatives aside, here is what you really need to know about the Spearhead Traverse: 35 km, 13 wild glaciers, 11 mountain passes, jaw-dropping views, deep pristine snow and almost all of it is exclusively in alpine territory.  For our visitors this by far the best way to ski tour the Whistler Backcountry and for the locals, well, you can't really call yourself a Coast Mountain Skier until you have done the Spearhead Traverse.

Let our Ski Guides worry about navigation, avalanche hazard assessment and crevasses, all you need to do is hike up to glorious mountain passes, ski some epic powder runs and appreciate some seriously magnificent views.

The Goods

Length: 3 Days

Elevations: 1300m - 2600m

Terrain: Open bowls, glades, pillows, alpine faces and couloirs. A good mix of elevations and aspects.

Season: Scheduled Dates in Spring 2018 or Custom Trips on Demand.

Max Guide to Guest Ratio: 6:1

Favorite Runs: Macbeth Glacier and Overlord Glacier

Is This For You

The Spearhead Traverse is geared towards anyone who has logged a variety of days touring, has a strong ski ability level and is now looking to experience the mountains on a unique and challenging trip.  The Spearhead Traverse is not only a physical challenge but also a mental challenge as this trip is 3 fully self-supported days in the backcountry.  So if you are an intermediate to advanced skier and are able to link turns on black diamond terrain and have good fitness- this is the trip for you.

The Route

First completed in 1964 as a 9-day expedition from the valley (before the first ski lifts), it has since been done in little over three hours (that's right, three hours!). Most people, however, will take 2-4 days to enjoy this fantastic adventure.

35 km, 13 wild glaciers, 11 mountain passes

 

Spearhead traverse map
Day 1

Highlights: Skiing off Decker north face, crossing the Shudder glacier.

Distance: 7.9km

Vertical gain: 1100m

7:30 am Meet at your hotel, check gear and head straight to the Whistler
base for avalanche transceiver training.

8:30 am Take the lift system up and out of the Blackcomb ski area. Expect to travel 8 hours, with possible ascents and descents of many different peaks such as Decker North Face, Pattison North Face, and Tremor Peak. Around 3 pm, we will set up camp in our desired location. Highlights: Skiing off Decker north face, crossing the Shudder glacier.

 

 

 

 

Day 2

Highlights: Macbeth glacier descent, Ripsaw Ridge, Iago camp!

Distance: 5km

Vertical gain: 600m

Start early, break down camp, eat breakfast, and head off for another full day of ski touring. On this day, we will be traveling quickly around the very furthest back of the Spearhead range.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3

Highlights: Touring past Fitzsimmons and Overlord peaks, long glacier descent off Overlord

Distance: 18.5km

Vertical gain: 1200m

Start with a fun descent to the Cheakamus Glacier before the biggest climb of the trip. Push up past the iconic Mount Fitzsimmons and Overload peaks in a solid climb. From here it's smooth sailing with lots of scenic descents and short climbs past Fissile and eventually back to the Whistler resort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scheduled Trip Dates

March 23- 25, 2018$675 /person

All prices are CAD and subject to 5% sales tax

April 14- 16, 2018$675 /person

Custom Date & Duration

Add-Ons

AVY Gear Rentals

$25 / Day

Warm Up Session

Contact Us

What's Included
  • Guide fees
  • Group equipment
  • Camping equipment
  • Altus concierge support

 

Not Included
  • Backcountry ski rentals
  • Avalanche safety equipment 
  • Lift ticket (available at check out)
  • Meals on trip (available for $60/per person/day)
Gear list

Hardware

• Ski touring skis, Skins, poles

• 40-50 litre backpack (something large enough to fit extra clothing, skins (6in x 2 x 3), a portion of the group food, and a portion of group gear)

• Avalanche beacon, probe, shovel

• Harness

• Crevasse kit (2 prussics, 2 locking biners, 2 non-locking biners) We can provide if necessary

• Ski crampons

Clothing

•Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants

• Lightweight breathable jacket and pants (for uphill skinning/climbing)

• Insulated jacket (synthetic insulated jacket is strongly recommended)

• Lightweight gloves for climbing/skinning

•Warm gloves

•Warm hats

• Balaclava or another type of neck warmer

• Base Layers

We personally recommend bringing a larger than a normal insulated jacket or an additional light jacket or vest to supplement your normal layering system. Down pants are also a fantastic treat on overnight trips.

Miscellaneous

• Sunglasses

• Goggles

• Sunscreen

• Sun hat

• Small personal ski repair kit (Phillips driver for snowboard bindings)

• Personal first aid, medication

• Camera

Camping gear

• Down booties for around camp

• Change of warm socks

• 4 season tent

• Winter sleeping bag (-15 to -30c)

• Sleeping bag, inflatable is recommended

• Personal toiletries

• Anything else to keep you comfortable and happy 🙂

Prerequisites
  • Intermediate ski ability (blue/black diamond runs)
  • Previous ski touring experience
  • Moderate fitness (ability to walk up while for 2- 4 hours)
  • Eagerness for adventure
  • Powder skiing experience (minimum 20 days)

Still Have Questions or Concerns?

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, concerns or requests on how we can make this the best trip ever!!!

About Ross Berg

Ross has guided, climbed and skied in the European Alps for the last several seasons. When he's at home he can be found working as a heli ski guide in winters and climbing alpine rock routes in summer.