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 in alpine territory. For our visitors this is 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 manage the 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.
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 2019 & 2020, 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 ski 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 (ability to link turns on black diamond terrain) and have good fitness- this is the trip for you.
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
Highlights: Skiing off Decker north face, crossing the Shudder glacier.
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.
Highlights: Macbeth glacier descent, Ripsaw Ridge, Iago camp!
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.
Highlights: Touring past Fitzsimmons and Overlord peaks, long glacier descent off Overlord
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
April 13 - 15, 2019$675 /person
All prices are CAD and subject to 5% sales tax
April 19 - 21, 2019$675 /person
March 20 - 22, 2020$675 /person
April 11 - 13, 2020$675 /person
April 17 - 19, 2020$675 /person
Custom Date & Duration
- Guides' Fees
- All Technical Equipment (harness, crevasse rescue and group gear)
- Camping Equipment
- Altus Concierge Support
- Backcountry Ski Rentals
- Avalanche Safety Equipment
- Whistler Blackcomb Backcountry Lift Ticket
- Meals (Altus can arrange catering for our trips at the request of our guests)
• 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
• Crevasse kit (2 prussics, 2 locking biners, 2 non-locking biners) We can provide if necessary
• Ski crampons
•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
• 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.
• Sun hat
• Small personal ski repair kit (Phillips driver for snowboard bindings)
• Personal first aid, medication
• Down booties for around camp
• Change of warm socks
• 4 season tent
• Winter sleeping bag (-15 to -30c)
• Sleeping pad, inflatable is recommended
• Personal toiletries
• Anything else to keep you comfortable and happy 🙂
- 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!!!