BC Coast Range at Close Range-Hut Based Touring Canadian Style Spearhead & Beyond!

  • Dates: Huts-Custom / Spearhead*-March 28-30 & Custom
  • Duration: 3
  • Level: Advanced
  • Client Ratio: 4:1
  • Cost:–$795/ Spearhead -$895
  • Included: All meals while on the mountain, tents(if hut is full), stoves, cook kits, group climbing equipment, and guide services
  • Not Included: Airfare, transportation to trailhead(one way lift ticket), transportation within Seattle, hotel accommodations, restaurant meals,snack/lunch on the mountain, gratuities for guides, and all personal items. A detailed equipment list will be sent to all participants.

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BC Coast Range is home to legendary terrain that give Whistler the endless possibilities, extending from Squamish and Mt Garibaldi northward to the Duffy Lake road home to Mt. Joffre, Mt. Matier, and Vantage Peak and some of the finest hut based touring in the NW! Sea to Sky Highway starts our BC adventure at Elfin Lakes, the beginning of the Garibaldi Neve Traverse and a first timer’s dream trip. Next we arrive in Whistler the oftpiste mecca of North America and home to the Classic Spearhead Traverse, aka the “Haute Route of the Americas,” connecting Blackcomb to Whistler! Another hour north a network of huts(Phelix, Wendy Thompson and Keith’s Hut which rest under many amazing peaks with tours of all levels for the skier or splitboarder who wants the ride of a lifetime!

Huts Galore! Options include Keith Hut, Wendy Thompson and Phelix Creek

Day 1: We drive from Seattle to the trailhead. The skin to the hut takes from 2‑4 hours, passing through alpine meadows and clusters of Mountain Hemlock and take in the rugged spectacular ridges and icefalls that set the Coast Range apart from the BC Interior. We post up and work on our tick list:

Here are links to these great lines:
1. Vantage Peak
2. Sunset Couloir
3. Sunset Face
4. Anniversary Glacier
5. Aussie Couloir
6. Matier
7. Rhor Ridge (not show on map)
8. Mt. Rhor (not show on map)
9. Cayoosh North Glacier (not show on map)
10. Mount Matier and Anniversary Glacier (alternative description)
11. Vantage Peak (alternative description)

Day 2: A long day begins with an early start on moderate glacier touring on our selected tour, ski big runs and enjoy a cozy evening in the hut!

Day 3: An early morning to get in a 5 hour tour before heading back to the car. Have a beer at the Howe Sound Brewery on our way back to the Border.

Day 0: Fly or drive into Vancouver, British Columbia. A 2-hour transfer to Whistler/Blackcomb. Upon arrival and check in to our accommodations, we will then complete a comprehensive gear review; avalanche and rescue talks with your guide. At this meeting we will discuss the full plan for our ski tour. Go over any questions that you may have. All clients are asked to bring their own avalanche transceiver. Overnight Inn of Cliff Top, Whistler.

Day 1: Early meeting and departure for Blackcomb ski lifts. Send off over the backside of Blackcomb Mountain and start our tour! Traverse around the Spearheads, over Decker to Trorey.

Day 2: Up early with a full day ahead! Today we cross, climb and descend multiple glaciers enroute to the Iago/Fitzsimmons Glaciers where we camp our second night. 

Day 3: Big Descents of Overlord to the Russet Hut!

Day 4:Tour Fissile then exit into the Whistler ski area.

*Extended version….

Day 0: Fly or drive into Vancouver, British Columbia. A 2-hour transfer to Whistler/Blackcomb. Upon arrival and check in to our accommodations, we will then complete a comprehensive gear review; avalanche and rescue talks with your guide. At this meeting we will discuss the full plan for our ski tour. Go over any questions that you may have. All clients are asked to bring their own avalanche transceiver. Overnight in Whistler.

Day 1:Early meeting and departure the Wedgemount Lake Trailhead and hike up to the Wedge Hut, ski an evening run.

Day 2: Early meeting and climb Wedge and descend to Blackcomb Pass. Climb over the backside of Blackcomb Mountain and meet up with the Spearhead Traverse around the Spearheads, over Decker to Trorey.

Day 3: Up early with a full day ahead! Today we cross, climb and descend multiple glaciers enroute to the Iago/Fitzsimmons Glaciers where we camp our third night.

Day 4: Big Descents of Overlord and stay at the Russet Hut. 

Day 5: Try Fissile then exit into the Whistler ski area.

Late departure out to Vancouver. Flights out to USA.

Day 1-Section 1: Trailhead to Elfin Lakes Hut

The Elfin Lakes Trail represents a significant portion of the route and considerable elevation gain, mainly from the trailhead to the Red Heather Hut.From Red Heather Hut  continuing along the ridge crest up and down bumps all the way until descending to Elfin Lakes to the Elfin Lakes Hut. Settle in and take an afternoon lap before dinner!

Day 2 Section 2: Descent to Ring Creek then to Garibaldi Glacier

Descend North from the hut and cross a large clearing towards ring creek. Next we begin the second long ascent of the trip. Follow Ring Creek North until reaching the flat Garibaldi Glacier. Once you reach the Garibaldi Glacier you have attained the Neve proper. From here until Garibaldi Lake you are on Glaciers.

Looking across the Neve Proper from the top of Ring Creek/Garibaldi Glacier. The furthest right peak is the Tent and below it is the high point of the traverse. The three main peaks are Atwell, Dalton Dome, and Garibaldi.

Section 3: Garibaldi Glacier to Neve High Point

After a rest from the ascent, cross a long flat glacier. This is a common camping area. There are excellent views of Atwell and Garibaldi Peaks and across the Valley. On the other side of the flat glacier, continue to ascend staying generally to the right of the Tent – a large tent shaped peak (duh).Camp and enjoy the views!

Day 3 Section 4: Descent to Garibaldi Lake

A cornice must be avoided and may require backtracking if you climb too high. A traversing descent leads through a crevasse band to the Shark’s Fin.At the Sharks Fin, skins can be removed for the short descent of the Warren Glacier to the col between the Sharks Fin and the Glacier Pikes at 1800m. Climbing up North of the Glacier Pikes, the Sentinel Glacier is attained and offers an excellent descent to the Glaciology Hut in Sentinel Bay then cross Garibaldi Lake  the Sphinx Bay Hut .

Section 6: Garibaldi Lake to Garibaldi Lake Trail TH

In good conditions Garibaldi Lake can be crossed in under an hour by skate skiing. In new snow it can be a several hour slog. Upon reaching the Battleship Islands and the NW end of the lake, find the Garibaldi Lake Trail leading to Lesser Garibaldi Lake. Descend onto the lake and cross the Barrier Lake. Return to Squamish to enjoy some of Howe Sound Brewery’s finest before heading home!

Our recommended clothing system has four layers.
  • Base layer: manages moisture and wicks perspiration away from your skin. (Polypro, capilene, driclime)
  • Softshell: should be a durable, comfortable, insulating and wind/water resistant layer that breathes well.
  • Hard shell: windproof, waterproof and breathable.  (e.g. Gore-Tex, or similar)
  • Insulating layer: should be down-fill or synthetic-fill and fit over all layers. (e.g. down, primaloft or polarguard)

These four layers are usually sufficient for most people, but if you tend to be colder bring one extra medium-layer that would be ideal for extra warmth around camp, such as a vest. When deciding what to pack, remember to bring enough clothes and accessories to ensure your safety and comfort, while not over-burdening yourself with items you probably won’t use.

Climbing/Ski Gear
  • Skis or snowboard. Skis should be equipped with alpine touring bindings or telemark bindings. We prefer split decision Snowboards w/ skins because you do not need snow shoes.
  • Adjustable Ski Poles
  • Alpine touring, telemark, snowboard boots crampon compatible
  • Skins
  • Ski Crampons Required for all ski mountaineering trips
  • Alpine climbing harness  Must have adjustable leg loops and fit over all clothing and can be put on with ski boots
  • 2 Locking carabiners Large, pear-shaped carabiner is best.
  • 2 Regular carabiners lightweight
  • 1 Single Length Runner/Sling
  • Ice axe  Lightweight
  • Crampons with anti-ball plate  Must be fit to boots prior to trip,
  • Climbing/ski helmet  Adjustable, should fit with hat on
  • Glacier Travel/Crevasse Rescue *Optional on Summit Descents Prussiks/Ropeman/Microtraxion & Tibloc
Upper Body
  • 1 synthetic T-shirt
  • 1 long sleeve Sun Hoodie or shirt Lightweight, light colored for sunny days
  • 2 synthetic sports bras*(WOMEN)
  • 1 soft shell jacket
  • 1 Down/synthetic jacket with hood
  • 1 Hard shell jacket with hood Waterproof and breathable. Gore-Tex or equivalent is best, roomy enough to fit over multiple layers.
  • 1 pair lightweight gloves
  • 1 pair warm waterproof gloves
  • Warm hat Wool or synthetic
  • Balaclava/Buff
  • Shade hat or Visor
Lower Body
  • 2 pair med- heavy wool/synthetic socks Check boot fit with liner and wool socks on
  • 1 pair lightweight long underwear
  • 1-2 pairs of underwear boxers/briefs
  • Softshell pants
  • Shell pants Waterproof/breathable with full side zips
Sleeping Gear
  • Sleeping bag Rated to at least 20º F. Line the stuff sack w/ plastic bag.
  • Sleeping pad 1 closed cell foam and/or Neo-Air for extra warmth and comfort.
Backpack
  • Internal frame pack 3500-4500 cubic inch capacity able to carry snowboard/skis
Hut Clothes*
  • lightweight booties or slippers, comfortable top and bottom-cotton optional.
Miscellaneous Equipment
  • Goggles and Glacier glasses 100% UV protection with side shields or wrap around.
  • Personal first aid repair kit Basics: moleskin/blister kit, Band-Aids, first-aid tape, ibuprofen, personal medications, spare parts for bindings and batteries etc.
  • Lip balm At least SPF 20
  • Sunscreen At least SPF 40
  • Headlamp lightweight LED
  • 2 water bottles 1 liter wide-mouth Nalgene and 1 bottle holster, or
  • Hydration bladder With drinking tube and 1 Nalgene bottle
  • Bowl and spoon Plastic, small Tupperware works well. Lexan spoons are best.
  • Toiletry kit Be sure to include WAG Bag or toilet paper stored in a plastic bag.
  • 1-2 Large plastic bags Good for keeping miscellaneous gear dry
  • Nylon stuff sacks For food and gear storage (large Ziplocs are also useful
  • Bandana
  • Hand wipes
  • 1 small stainless steel thermos (Optional)
  • Favorite snack foods (no more than 2 pounds)
  • Camera
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WILL MY GUIDE (OR GUIDES) BE?
You will receive an introductory email with the instructor for your course. We are small company who enjoy working together in the mountains as well as highly skilled professionals who hold current Wilderness First Responder certification and are proficient in technical rescue and evacuation skills. Our guides are dedicated to the world of alpinism, many having first ascents and hold professional certifications with AIARE & AMGA. The AMGA is part of the IFMGA, which is the international body of certified mountain guides.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP MY GUIDES?
Tipping is considered standard practice in the guiding industry. Tipping amounts vary, often 10% of the course cost is a good rule-of-thumb, so $15-20 per day per person/per guide is average that works well for the guides without a serious blow to your wallet. If you feel that the program was exceptional or substandard the tip can reflect that.

CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT FROM BCAG?
Yes, we rent Beacons, Shovels, Probes and Packs here. If you need these plus touring equipment,

HOW HEAVY WILL MY PACK BE?
You will carry 30-35 pounds, which will include everything on the equipment list.

WHEN DO I NEED TO PAY THE BALANCE OF MY TRIP?
Payable when you make your reservation by check, credit card, Venmo or Paypal.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO CANCEL MY TRIP?
If you should decide to cancel your trip, BCAG must be notified in writing. Your trip will be cancelled from the date we receive written notice. You will be assessed a cancellation fee according to the following schedule:
90 to 22 days from trip departure – 50% of trip cost
30 days or less – 100% of trip cost

WHAT HAPPENS IF I WANT TO CHANGE THE DATES OF MY TRIP?
Schedule changes are subject to a $50 fee per person up to 2 weeks out and $100 less than 14 days from the start of the trip and may not be possible. If conditions or circumstances preclude running a scheduled program we reserve the right to make the decision as to whether the program will be canceled, rescheduled, or an alternative provided.

WHAT HAPPENS IF BC ADVENTURE GUIDES HAS TO CANCEL MY TRIP?
In the rare circumstance where we need to cancel a program you can reschedule without a fee or receive a refund on your deposit. If circumstances arise that force us to cancel a program that is already in progress we reserve the right to decide whether a refund or credit, at a prorated rate, will be issued. We are not responsible for cancellation fees or costs arising from your changed or cancelled flights, lodging, or other arrangements. We strongly recommend obtaining trip cancellation insurance from your travel agent.

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE TRIP INSURANCE?
BCAG highly encourages the purchasing of trip cancellation and travel insurance on domestic trips and requires it on International trips. Europeans and Canadians use it because travel insurance provides coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delays, medical expenses and emergency assistance.
Several options include Travelex or Travel Guard International at (1-877-248-8992) & www.travelguard.com for protecting your investment, however there are many companies to choose from and you may wish to do some individual research regarding which policy is right for you.

WHEN SHOULD I PLAN TO LEAVE A RETURN HOME?

We often get this question because most people need to know how much total time they need to take off work. Our Coast Range trips begin at 7 am in Whistler on the first date of your trip. Therefore, you will want to arrive the day before your climb or course begins. Our return to Whistler on the last day typically extends into the early evening with the descent and drive back. We suggest you make a hotel reservation for the night of the last day or a late red eye flight to return home on the day following the end of your course or climb.

WHAT IF I WANT TO ARRIVE EARLIER OR DEPART LATER THAN THE TRIP DATES?

No problem. There is a lot to see and do in Whistler and Vancouver and we would be happy to recommend our favorite attractions, restaurants, and day trips.

WHERE SHOULD I STAY IN Whistler?

There are many other hotels nearby to choose from as well and suggest one that includes parking.