Spearhead Traverse Variation

By:  Sam
April 26, 2011

I have a long list of classic ski routes that I hope to ski this summer (I’m a list guy…). High on that list was the Spearhead Traverse, from Blackcomb to Whistler. Listed in “Skiing the Coast Range” as one of the best ski tours in North America, I knew that even if it wasn’t the gnar, it wasn’t to be missed. In the year that I’ve lived in Washington State, I’ve spent no time exploring the Whistler area, so I figured that the tour would serve as a spectacular introduction to the ski mountaineering potential of the Coast Range.

Spying a weather window for Friday the 22, I rallied Allen and Mason. Mason, having done the traverse a number of times before, proved invaluable; he had all sorts of local knowledge that helped the day go much more smoothly than it otherwise would have.

The day started at 4am at my house, by 4:30 we’d picked up Mason and were on our way to the border. Unlike our Rogers Pass adventure, we were able to enter Canada without much of a hassle.

We sipped coffee at the mid-station and waited (and waited…) for the final lift to open.

Crowds gathered, some were already donning harnesses and ice screws….

After skiing backcountry around Baker all season, it was a little surreal to start our day on the Blackcomb chairlifts. At the top, as we got ready to hike, the atmosphere was more race-like than that of a normal tour.

Mason suggested we take a slightly lower traverse route to avoid the crowds..

…then he led the way up…

…and back down.

At the next saddle Allen took the lead. By this point the reality of the weather was starting to hit us. North facing slopes were all dry powder, yet the air felt warm and south facing slopes were corn.

With lots of ground still ahead of us, we tried to keep the pace up.

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Read about the author:   Sam
Enjoy this TR? Read another: TR: Loving Life on Larrabee


  1. Lee Lau
    wrote on April 26th, 2011 at 2:12 pm  

    Awesome! So many people get sucked into the standard routes – good for you on finding a local to hint at variations.

  2. Greg
    wrote on April 26th, 2011 at 3:39 pm  

    That was great Sam! Let’s see some more on the list!

  3. christian
    wrote on April 26th, 2011 at 6:52 pm  

    that looked pretty fun doods. haute route next?? :D

  4. Lionel Hutz
    wrote on April 26th, 2011 at 8:21 pm  

    Just awesome. That’s why we sent you out there in the first place. (Well that and we couldn’t stand the smell around here anymore. )

  5. Anonymous
    wrote on April 27th, 2011 at 12:06 pm  

    Is sam the only one that even skis anymore… We’re a little lacking in the trip report department from the east coast contingent. Good hustle though sam, looks fun.

  6. powhounddd
    wrote on April 27th, 2011 at 7:40 pm  

    Anonymous?! WTH.

    Anyhoo, great TR, really dug the read. Looks like a real challenging traverse to do in a day. Whoa!

  7. Savant Skis
    wrote on April 29th, 2011 at 6:58 pm  

    Sitting, sulking in a 75 degree house in the Bean……well done fellas looking forward to more diversions over the next months as I wait for the surf to swell again and wonder why I’m not in the PNW. BTW also thanks to the link to Jason Hummel – some great TR there as well………always enjoy the writing and pics-


  8. Peter
    wrote on April 30th, 2011 at 12:10 pm  

    awesome work guys. That route has been on my life list for a long time.
    some year…..

  9. James
    wrote on May 7th, 2011 at 11:45 pm  

    Sweet trip. Good to see spring is still serving up the hits

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