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 kilometres 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 currently 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.
There was only 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.
Three new huts are planned to be built. The “Kees and Claire“ Hut overlooking Russet Lake is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. The second hut will be at Mount Macbeth and the third one at Mount Pattison.
The cost of the Kees and Claire hut will be an estimated 1.6 million dollars and the other two around 5 million dollars, all of which is to be raised through donations.
The huts will be designed to comfortably accommodate 35-45 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.