Callaghan Country – Ski Touring and a Snow Cat Shuttle

Callaghan Country – Ski Touring and a Snow Cat Shuttle

Just south west of Whistler, the Callaghan Valley is blessed with dramatically more snow (averaging 50% more) then Whistler due to a slightly different weather flow. If you don’t want to spend the night in the Luxurious Journeyman Lodge and want to check out a new area but don’t want to skin up the 10km you can get a shuttle up as Pat is preparing to do the XC Ski grooming. He will drop you off at Callaghan Lake to provide an opportunity to ski Morning Glory or the Callaghan Lake area before you ski back down one of the XC Ski trails. The cost is $56.50+tax per seat, meeting time – 8:30.

The beauty of the cat is that it gives you a 500m elevation and 10km bump into backcountry terrain usually not easily navigable on a day trip without a bit of an earlier start and/or walking on xc ski trails.   For a reasonable price you get a leg up into a pretty darn cool area

Area Overview

On this day we saw 60-75cm of storm snow compared to 40cm at Whistler Blackcomb. The trail breaking didn’t allow for a lot of exploring, but did give a taste of some of the complex skiing heading towards Callaghan Lake or the tree skiing heading west towards Journeyman Lodge.

The purpose of this article is not to give you navigation tips or hold your hand through the terrain (there are Facebook groups for that).  One look at any map will give you an idea of what potential there is in this area.

HOT TIP:   Callaghan closes its gates at 4.30pm (give or take 15 minutes). If you want to get back from your ski touring day a little (or a lot later) park at the Alexander Falls lot.  It’s just 50m away from the Callaghan Country gates so not a big deal to walk there.

8:30 meet as Brad sets up the snow cat.

Alex, Jake and Lars joined us today.

Snow was deep!

Three others were on the cat camping in the area.

Which way do we go?

hmmm looks complex.

Pillows heading towards Callaghan Lake.

Alex was a trail breaking monster! Of course so was Lee but he was happy for the help.



Down some pillows

Down some pillows

Down some pillows

Down some pillows

me not

Heading back up

Down some pillows

Down some pillows

Down some pillows

Down some pillows DPS!

Down some pillows



Back on the xc trail for the hour skate out

Back in the dark, you can park outside the gates if you don’t think you’ll be back by 4:15 when they close the gates.

The red lines are our tracks, the green line is the way we’ll climb up next time.   Our initial climbing track LOOKED fine on maps but the 1:20k TRIM lines don’t show the up-down meandering complexity of the ridgeline towards Hidden Peak and the several cliff, pillowbands and ridges that we had to navigate.  Take the left/S side of the ridge.  Trust me its way less of a ballache.

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