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Pro Guiding Service
Domestic & International Trips & Courses with Certified Mountain Guides
Trip

Spearhead Traverse

Overview

Europe has the Haute Route. The Northwest has the Spearhead Traverse. This high alpine ski tour in Garibaldi Provincial Park features everything it takes to become a classic. Easy access, a spectacular setting in the backcountry of Whistler/Blackcomb ski area, heavily glaciated terrain and even a hut (Yes! A stay at the new Kees and Claire hut is part of our trip!) make it a must for anybody who is serious about ski touring. It seems incredible that a ski traverse of such quality and easy access (we take the lift to the top of the Blackcomb ski area) can still offer so much solitude and such a wilderness experience.

$1,250 Per Person
4 Days
Difficulty
Ratio:
4:1, 6:2

Trip Information

$1,250
Price based on 3 skiers. Please contact us directly for private trips. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com

Europe has the Haute Route. The Northwest has the Spearhead Traverse. This high alpine ski tour features everything it takes to become a classic. Easy access, a spectacular setting in the backcountry of Whistler / Blackcomb ski area, heavily glaciated terrain and even a hut make it a must for anybody who is serious about ski touring. It seems incredible that a ski traverse of such quality and easy access (we take the lift to the top of the Blackcomb ski area) can still offer so much solitude and such a wilderness experience. What else do you need?

In September of 2019 a brand new state-of-the-art hut is opened at Russet Lake! The only hut on the Spearhead traverse used to be the Russet Lake hut, also known as the "tin can." Some claimed it was colder inside the hut than outside! Now on the third night we will be staying at the brand new Kees and Claire hut. It has 38 sleeping spaces divided into 6 sleeping areas. It is heated, has propane stoves and cooking equipment such as pots, plates, and utensils, and an indoor composting toilet. It even has electricity and lights! After a night in a tent you will love the warmth and comfort of this awesome new hut on the second night. The hut fees are included in the trip price.

Duration: 4
Ratio: 4:1, 6:2
Difficulty Level:
Click here to learn more about difficulty ratings.

Overall Difficulty Level: Moderate to difficult

Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience

Fitness Level: Strenuous due to skiing with an overnight pack


Private Trips Available

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest.
Learn MoreView Dates & Availability

Itinerary

Day 1: We will drive to Whistler (exact meeting times will be coordinated by the guides) and catch the lift ride up to the top of the Blackcomb ski area. A quick ski tour over Spearhead Pass and down to the Decker Glacier will put us in perfect position for the next day.

Day 2: This day is long and very scenic. We will be crossing the Decker, Trorey, Tremor and Platform glaciers. Our second camp will be established on the Platform - Ripsaw col. This campsite is beautiful, wild, and offers ample opportunity for long ski descents down the Ripsaw or Shatter Glacier in the late afternoon.

Day 3: This is the day when we cross over from the Spearhead Range to the Fitzsimmons Range. The switch from the MacBeth to the Iago Glacier is considered the crux of the traverse. We will then ski underneath the North face of Overlord Peak, across the Overlord Glacier to the Fissile saddle and then down to the new Kees and Claire hut for our overnight stay there.

Day 4: The proximity to the Whistler ski area should allow us to ascend Fissile peak. This is an amazing viewpoint of the whole traverse. From this high point we ski back to the hut, pack up, and traverse the musical bumps to the Whistler ski area. After the ski descent down to Whistler, we should have enough time for a good lunch in the village before heading home

Private Trips

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest. Smaller, more intimate custom itineraries or instructional tours are available for any of our destinations. Tell us what you want to do, and we can create a customized plan for you.
View Private Trips

Pricing

$1,250
per person
Price based on 3 skiers. Please contact us directly for private trips. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com
View Dates & Availability
What's Included In the Trip Price

- Guide fees and expenses for 4 days (includes partial wages for travel day)
- Group gear including stoves, fuel, tents, ropes, Sat phone or inReach, and group first aid kit (please see equipment list)
- Hut fees

What's Not Included

- Lift ticket: since so many people have the Epic Pass, Whistler vouchers, or other access tickets, we no longer include the one-up ticket in the trip price. It is easy to purchase the ticket on the morning of the first day of the tour.
- Lodging before or after the trip. We can help arrange lodging if you'd like, just let us know!
- Transportation to/from Whistler
- Parking: Parking has become challenging at Whistler and it is good to have a plan before you arrive. You are not allowed to leave your vehicle in the public pay lots for over 24 hours. Some hotels will let you pay to park in their lots while on the Spearhead for their nightly rate (US $20-40 per night).
- Gratuity for the guide
- Personal equipment and meals: please see the equipment list

Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 30 days away or an international trip that is over 60 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 30 or more days before domestic trips or 60 or more days before international and Alaska trips, we will refund everything you have paid minus half of your deposit. No refunds will be provided if you cancel your trip for ANY REASON (this includes but is not limited to illness including CoVid-19, injury, or work-related issues) within 30 days of the start of domestic trips or 60 days of international and Alaska based trips.  View Full Policy

Equipment List

Clothing
Base Layer
  • 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight
  • 1 or 2 Tops - midweight or lightweight
  • Ski Socks - 2 pair
Mid Layer
  • Windshirt or light Soft Shell jacket
  • Fleece or similar warm layer
  •  Soft-shell pants
Outerwear
  • Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
  • Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Pants
  • Warm Hat - should cover your ears
  • Sun Hat - baseball cap or visor
  • Lightweight Gloves
  • Ski Gloves/Mittens
  • Down or Synthetic Puffy-type Jacket
Personal Gear
  • Internal Frame Pack - 50 Liter/3100 cu.in. minimum
    • Everything must fit inside except ice axe, crampons, helmet, and pad
    • If approach shoes are worn, ski boots may be on outside of pack as well
  • Sleeping Bag - down or synthetic, 15-20º F or warmer
  • Compression Sack - for sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Pad - closed cell foam or self inflating (or both)
  • Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
  • 2 Water Bottles - liter bottles, wide mouth recommended
  • Bowl and Cup - bowl is optional if eating from freeze-dried meal bags
  • Spoon, Fork, or Spork
  • Small Knife
  • Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof
  • Lip Balm - SPF 15+
  • Lighter
  • Personal Toiletries - keep it simple: toothbrush, tiny toothpaste, hand sanitizer
  • Small Personal First Aid Kit - just the basics: blister care, ibuprofin, prescription meds, etc.; your guides will have a substantial group first aid kit
  • Toilet Paper (blue bags provided by PGS)
Technical Gear

Snow Travel Equipment

  • Skis - Alpine Touring or Telemark (or Splitboard)
  • Ski Boots - Alpine Touring or Telemark - no downhill boots (or Snowboard Boots)
  • Poles - Telescopic poles work well, but not required, with snow baskets
  • Climbing Skins
  • Ski or Splitboard Crampons - REQUIRED! - Ensure that they are compatible with your bindings
  • Ski Brakes or leashes

Safety Gear

  • Avalanche Transceiver
  • Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
  • Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice

Technical Gear

  • Ice Axe - lightweight, 45-70cm is fine
  • Boot Crampons – Ensure they fit your boots
  • Anti-ball plates for crampons
  • Climbing Harness - lightweight, (no padding; ex: Black Diamond Alpine Bod)
  • Glacier Travel Kit:
    • 2 Locking Carabiners - at least 1 large HMS style and 1 regular locker
    • 2 Non-locking Carabiners - any style, we recommend wire gates
    • 1 Single Length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (60cm/24in diameter loop)
    • 1 Double Length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (120cm/48in diameter loop)
    • 1 Cordelette - 6 mm cord, 6 meter length
    • 1 Prussik Loop - 3-4 feet of 6mm cordelette tied in loop with double fisherman's knot and/or a Sterling Hollowblock
Optional Items
  • Camera - we’d like some shots for the PGS website!
  • Ear Plugs - essential for sound sleep
  • Camp Booties
  • Thermos - vacuum type
  • Electrolytes - tablets/powder/gel/blocks
  • Note Pad and Pencil - Rite-in-the-Rain brand waterproof notebooks work well
  • Compass - adjustable declination a must
  • Altimeter watch
  • Map Case - large Ziploc bag works well
  • Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
  • Collapsible Water Canteen - good for storing snowmelt at camp
  • Liner socks - if blister-prone
  • Warm Socks - to sleep in
  • Approach shoes--lightweight running shoes work well
  • Foot Powder
  • Neck gaiter - for protecting your face from sun, wind, cold
  • Helmet - climbing or lightweight uninsulated ski helmet (recommended)
  • Post-course care kit (to leave in car): cotton T-shirt, flip flops, favorite treats
Equipment Sales & Rental

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FAQs

Where can I stay the night before the trip?

On this 4-day trip you are able to drive to Whistler from the greater Seattle area on the morning of the first day. If you prefer to arrange accommodations for the night before, there are many hotels in Whistler so the choices are wide open. Make sure you inquire about parking during your stay and leaving your vehicle in their lot while you are on the traverse. Another option is to stay in Squamish the night before. Check out the Sea to Sky Hotel HERE, located about 3 miles north of the Squamish.

Where can I leave my car?

Parking has become challenging at Whistler and it is good to have a plan before you arrive. You are no longer allowed to leave your vehicle in the public pay lots for over 24 hours. Some hotels will let you pay to park in their lots while on the Spearhead for their nightly rate (US $20-30 per night).

Is the lift ticket included in the price of the trip?

No. If you prefer, we can add the price of the lift ticket to your trip and have the guide get it for you.

Will we have time to do some skiing without the big packs?

Yes, the legs from camp to camp are short enough that this is possible.

I heard that we get to stay in a hut one night. What is in it?

Well, not that much. You will get to stand up straight and be out of the weather, but it won't be warmer than inside the tent. It is also a first come, first serve hut without a hut keeper, so there is not a guaranteed spot.

When will we be out on the last day?

We are typically out in the early afternoon of the last day.

Should I tip my guide?

Although tipping is not a requirement, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your trip cost or a flat amount that you are comfortable with.

Why Book With Us? 

Certified Professional Guides & All Access
All of our guides have the highest quality training and certification in the industry, and you can be sure that we have the permits, licenses and insurance in every location we operate.
Safe, Well-Planned Tour Design
Every tour has a carefully thought-out guide-to-customer ratio. You always get a safe, high-quality trip or learning environment with us.
Pioneers In The Industry
You will travel and learn from experts. We've pioneered several alpine climbing routes, ski descents, and traverses and we've written books on skills and routes in the industry. 
Read Our story
Resources

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