Spearhead Traverse
Mar 12th 2006

A friend who we have been skiing with all winter has been going on about doing the Spearhead in one day! One day? Are you nuts???? So we're up for the weekend and Lee is going on and on about skiing Fissile. Fissile, being a pretty scary little mountain had me not wanting to join him on day four of skiing. Since the conditions were pretty much perfect, three days after a storm, blue skies, I didn't want to ski the cruisers, Frank was still talking about the Spearhead in a day... so I figured why not?

The story of 35km's, 1600m's of climbing in 10-1/2 hours.

We didn't see ANYONE on the Traverse. We followed a Solo skier's skin track that was probably from day before. Considering this area can have up to 100 people on it! I was amazed that nobody took advantage of these conditions!

We caught the first lift up Glacier, 3rd T-bar up Showcase and were off on Blackcomb Glacier at 9:00am!

Top of Blackcomb Glacier looking north.

Top of Blackcomb Glacier looking south towards Decker.
Decker Peak is on the right, Tremor Peak in mid upper.The Decker Glacier is in the foreground; the Tremor Glacier below Tremor Peak.

We traversed across Decker Glacier up around the eastern shoulder of Decker. Looking back towards the Spearhead.

East shoulder of Decker, looking east at Mt. Pattison and Tremor Peak in the background. Trorey Glacier is in the foreground, Tremor Glacier at upper left.
Solo guy went up the east side, we went around the west side.

Skiing down Decker into Trorey Glacier!

We're now on Trorey Glacier looking north at the chute we skied down. You can also ski down the lower more eastern chute.

Approaching Pattison col with Decker and the Spearhead in the background.
We are now on top of Trorey Glacier. Trorey Peak is on our left, Pattison is to our right out of sight.

Heading towards Pattison col - the ridge between the Trorey and Tremor Glacier.

Can you hear me yet? Top of Pattison - No service BTW...
Looking south across the upper Fitzsimmons Creek valley at (left to right) Mt. Fitzsimmons, Mt. Benvolio, and Mt. Overlord. Fissile Peak is at far right.

Tremor Mountain (2691 metres) in the background.

Skiing down the shoulder of Mt. Pattison onto the Tremor Glacier!

Skiing up Tremor Glacier to Tremor col with Mt. Pattison in the background.

Skiing up to Tremor Col between Tremor Mountain on the right and an unnamed bump on the left. REALLY windblown and hard packed in this little col.

Platform Glacier on the left. Looking across at Quiver Peak, The Ripsaw ridge, and the twin summits of Mt. Macbeth.
Farther right are the mountains in the McBride range.

East face of Fissile Peak. The Batzer Hut at Russet Lake is at the top of the tree ridge at middle right.
If you look REALLY closely you can see Lee skiing down the NE Face!

Looking northwest across Platform Glacier below an unnamed peak between Tremor Mountain on the left (west) and Shudder Mountain on the right.

Heli-ski tracks on the Ripsaw Glacier, in one of the most beautiful parts of Garibaldi Provincial Park. There is a total conflict between the quiet ski tourers on the Spearhead Traverse and the budda budda budda of a Bell 212 Helicopter ferrying skiers back and forth. Ours are the nicest track on the looker's right side of the heli-ski frenzy on the left.

Col between the Ripsaw Glacier on the left and the Naden Glacier (out of sight) on the right. This would be a great place for a nice stone hut!

Looking towards Naden Glacier and Couloir Ridge from Ripsaw col. The sharp peak on the right is Mt. Fitzsimmons.

Skiing across Naden Glacier to the Naden-Macbeth col. Couloir Ridge is the peak on the left, Mt. Iago is the flat ridge below the small low pyramid in the middle (which is Diavolo Peak), then the big pyramid of Mt. Fitzsimmons (2603 metres), and finally, Mt. Overlord (2625 m) on the right..

Naden-Macbeth Col.
Left to right is the small pyramid of Diavolo Peak, then the bid pyramid of Mt. Fitzsimmons, then Mt. Benvolio, and on the right, Overlord Mountain (2625 m).? On the far right is the Overlord Glacier.

Looking west across the Fitzsimmons Glacier at Mt. Fitzsimmons (far left), then Mt. Benvolio, Overlord Mountain, the Overlord Glacier, and Fissile Peak.
It is possible to ski down the Macbeth Glacier from this point, and then up the slope in the middle to the Overlord Glacier..

Skiing down Macbeth Glacier with Couloir Ridge in the background! This slope usually has really good snow, but today it was a bit sun affected.

STEEP SE traverse around a ridge between Macbeth and Iago Glacier. The better and safer route follows the ridge on the left. If you lost it here you would go a LONG way into Iago Glacier.
There was about an inch of sun crust on top really light snow on this traverse.

Looking north from the upper Iago Glacier across to the Macbeth Glacier. Mt. Macbeth is on the left, Couloir Ridge on the right.
The steep and exposed ski track around under the cliffs can be avoided by staying on the ridge between the Macbeth and Iago Glaciers..

Heading up Iago Glacier.

Almost at the top of the Iago Glacier looking back towards Fitzsimmons Valley and Whistler! So close yet so far away!

Heading to Iago col.

Looking west down over the Diavolo Glacier. Diavolo Peak is on the left, Mt. Fitzsimmons is at far right..

Coming down from Mt. Iago onto the Diavolo Glacier. This is a south-facing slope which can be dangerous later in the spring!

Heading up to the col between Mt. Benvolio in the center, and the slopes of Mt. Fitzsimmons on the right. This is the last big uphill on the traverse.
THIS would be a good slope to ski! At this part of the tour the skies started to get dark, snow was threatinging to fall and it was starting to get colder! It was probably about 4:00 here?

This is the very top of the Fitzsimmons Glacier and the cornices are on the northeast flank of Mt. Benvolio. You can avoid this death march under the cornices by going all the way up to the top of Mt. Benvolio from the Diavolo Glacier.We did the traverse when it was cold, and after much of the cornice had already collapsed. We were also feeling lucky!

Skiing north across the very top of the Fitzsimmons Glacier. Overlord Mountain is at top left. The route goes in between the two gendarmes, which are on the east ridge of Overlord.

We were there! Blackcomb side of the Spearhead Traverse!
Crossing from the very top of the Fitzsimmons Glacier to the very top of the Overlord Glacier. Looking north across Fitzsimmons Creek valley at the first half of the traverse from Blackcomb ski area (far left) to Tremor Mountain and the Platform Glacier on the right.

Skiing down the top part of the Overlord Glacier below the north face of Overlord Mountain..

Looking west across the top of the Overlord Glacier at the Whirlwind-Fissile col..

Approaching Whirlwind-Fissile col and into the sun!

Wind cirque at the Whirlwind-Fissile col! First sign of skiers!

Looking back east across the top of the Overlord Glacier at Overlord Mountain in the center, and Refuse Pinnacle on the right.
You can get to the summit of Overlord by climbing over Refuse Pinnacle..

That's Whistler visible in the middle distance! Looking north down the small unnamed glacier on the west side of Fissile Peak (right).

Alpenglow on the Whirlwind-Fissile col down the unnamed glacier on the west side of Fissile Peak (on the left; east).

Russet Lake area. The Batzer Hut is to the left of Sharon's head.

Moon over Fissile! Whirlwind Peak is at far upper left.

Skiing down singing pass by headlamp! We were skiing so fast, this part of the trip was a real blur.

End of the Singing Pass trail at Whistler's Lower Olympic ski run.? Notice the frozen drip of snot.

The fat lady is singing! Our day is done! 200 metres from Black's Pub. Long one but well worth it! Thanks Frank!

Commentary by Frank and Sharon.