The Spearhead Traverse was first done on skis in 1964 by a group which included Karl Ricker, a well known Whistler resident. This was far before the first ski lifts appeared on Whistler Mountain and long before Blackcomb Mountain was developed.
The Spearhead Traverse follows the Fitzsimmons Range from the Whistler Mountain /Garibaldi Provincial Park boundary at Flute Mountain around to the Spearhead Range at the edge of the Blackcomb Mountain / Garibaldi Provincial Park Boundary at the East Col. The traverse is done in both directions with Blackcomb to Whistler being most popular.
The traverse is truly a world-class ski route, comparable to Europe or anywhere else. It is 35 kilometers of stunning terrain that crosses 13 glaciers. The two ends are accessible from ski lifts on Whistler and Blackcomb. It is typically done in 2-3 days although many people go slower to take advantage of the numerous downhill ski opportunities and mountaineering objectives along the way.
There is one hut on the traverse, the modest Himmelsbach Hut at Russet Lake. (This hut was named after Werner Himmelsbach, another Whistler resident.) It is aging and small for the traffic it receives. Many visitors bring their tents and often there can be a dozen tents surrounding the hut on a summer weekend.
There is no summer trail equivalent to the Spearhead Traverse. People can travel the winter route by crossing glaciers or they can go cross country over talus, steep meadows, and through woods.
Currently an estimated 4,000 visitors travel the traverse each year.
The purpose of the Spearhead Huts Project is to build 3 huts along the traverse (one on Pattison, another near Russet Lake, and one on Macbeth) to reduce the adverse environmental impacts presently caused by people recreating there.
The huts will be designed to comfortably accommodate 35-40 people, and be available to the general public at a low cost (approximately $20 – $30 per night). They will be built and operated using the best standards in the industry, and will minimize environmental impacts in the area.
To donate to the Spearhead Huts Project, or to read more on the project, including the full proposal to BC Parks, go here.