Spearhead Traverse Ski Tour, Whistler-Blackcomb, BC 


Spearhead Traverse Ski Tour with the Northwest Mountain School

Trip: Canadian Ski Touring

Route: Spearhead Traverse

2014 Set Dates
  • April 24-27, 2014
  • May 1-4, 2014
  • Also available as custom



Cost: $825 per person (min 2)

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Cost Includes
Guide fee, single ride ticket at Blackcomb, stoves, tents, rope, BCA Tracker DTS beacon use
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Cost Does Not Include
Transportation to/from Whistler Blackcomb, personal food or equipment.

Client to Guide Ratio: 4:1



Expedition PDFs 


Equipment List ยป
We first did the Spearhead tour as part of our AMGA Ski Mountaineering Guides program. It is not uncommon for very fit parties to do the entire traverse in one long day. On this program we spend one night in a tent and one night in a hut, giving us time to enjoy the amazing Spearhead and Fitsimmons Ranges. These two ranges form a horseshoe that runs from Whistler and Blackcomb, where they join at the far end. Most of the tour stays above 2000 meters as we work our way through this very impressive range. The skiing is not overly difficult, but there is a lot of it.

Spearhead Traverse Itinerary 

Day 1: Meet mid-morning at the base of Blackcomb Ski area for an equipment check, and review of the plan for the next four days. We catch the chair to the top of Blackcomb, drop over Spearhead Pass and set up a camp on the Decker Glacier. There is usually time for an afternoon tour with the possibility of climbs and descents of Trorey or Decker Peaks. This night is spent in tents.

Day 2: One of the bigger days of the tour, this starts by crossing the Decker Glacier, and then the Trorey, Tremor, and finally Platform Glaciers before setting up camp on the Ripsaw ridge at the Platform-Ripsaw Col. In good weather and good conditions there are turns to be had along the way.

Day 3: On this day we turn the bend on the Horseshoe and encounter the crux of the route, usually a short rappel from the MacBeth glacier onto the Iago Glacier. Following this we traverse under the very daunting Overlord Peak, across the Overlord Glacier, and then pass through Fissile Saddle before skiing down to the Russet Lake Hut where we spend the night.

Day 4: On our last day we have the option to ski one of the steeper lines off of Fissile Peak, to tour around the hut, or simply to exit depending on group preference and the weather.

Qualifications for Spearhead Traverse 

Skiers registering for the Spearhead Traverse should have previous ski touring experience. You will need to be in very good physical condition and should be familiar with basic ski touring techniques, such as making uphill kickturns, performing beacon searches, and you need to feel comfortable skiing in a variety of snow conditions including firm snow or ice, powder snow, crust, and wind blown snow. While the skiing is generally very good on the Spearhead, we always encounter a wide variety of conditions based on variabiity in altitude and aspect. While not a prerequisite for skiing the Spearhead with a guide, we highly recommend that all backcountry skiers have completed at least an AIARE level 1 Avalanche Course. Although the Spearhead Traverse is not unusually technical, it can be a pretty solid physical experience.