The Spearhead Ski Traverse: A coastal classic with limitless terrain
The traditional starting point is accessed via the lifts on Blackcomb Mountain and finishes by exiting via the ski runs on Whistler Mountain or descending down the Singing Pass hiking trail if conditions allow.
After exiting the boundary at the Blackcomb Glacier, the the Spearhead Ski Traverse follows more or less the same path as as when Karl Ricker and company first completed the traverse in 1964. Linking pocket glaciers by travelling over ridges and through small passes, after the completing first leg the best area to camp can be found on the Trorey Glacier, near the proposed site for the one of the three Spearhead Huts.
The route then continues southeast, skirting below aesthetic peaks that offer spectacular views of the valleys and glaciers of northern Garibaldi Provincial Park. After reaching Tremor Mountain, the route turns south and crosses the Platform Glacier, where there are several good ski descents including the Ripsaw and MacBeth glaciers. The route turns west toward Whistler Mountain, traversing the Overlord Glacier before arriving at the Himmelsbach Hut (often referred to as the Russet Lake Hut) at which point you can relax in a sturdy shelter with all the technical terrain behind you.
The roughly 35-km Spearhead Ski Traverse is considered a rites of passage for backcountry skiers and riders in Whistler looking to embark on their first multi-day expedition. Besides offering awe-inspiring scenery with views that reach as far as – and beyond – Washington’s Mount Baker, the Spearhead Ski Traverse is a perfect trip to hone skills in glacier route finding and navigation, terrain evaluation and mitigating avalanche hazards. While speed enthusiasts can complete the entire traverse in a matter of hours (the current record rests at 3 hours, 10 minutes), to get the most value for your efforts it’s best to take the full four days to allow for access, exit and adequate skiing along the way. With a certified ACMG guide at your side for every step along the way, you can check this all-important milestone off your backcountry bucket list.