SPEARHEAD RANGE, B.C CANADA
I have been skiing in the Spearhead Range on the coast mountains of B.C for the last 5 Winters. Access is brilliant from Whistler Blackcomb, and with as little as a 20 minute walk, you can be skiing guaranteed fresh lines. The Spearhead Traverse can easily be done in a day. Any mountains in the range, despite being long, are best done in a day. Having said that, it is also nice to take your time taking in the views on the Spearhead Traverse and it is commonly done over 3 days. Here are my selected 5 best descents in the range.
1. SUMMIT CHUTE ON FISSILE is one of the steepest runs in the range, being 55-60 degrees. It takes roughly two and a half hours to the summit of Fissile from the peak of Whistler. I always boot pack the south side of Fissile, instead of skinning up to the Whirlwind Col and heading up the east ridge of Fisslie. The summit chute starts off the summit with a convexity and the first time you do it, you don’t know for sure you’re going right or if it a dead end. It gets steeper and steeper, and half way down, is often rocky. I have skied it twice once in perfect powder easily linking turns, and the second time on bullet proof ice, having to do jump turns landing 15 foot down with each turn. It then mellows out to fantastic skiing, on a 40 degree slope. I then cut left at the bottom of the ridge, on the left, to ski a better slope and to reduce skinning time. It is then only an hour and a half back to the village down Singing Pass.
2. NORTH FACE ON FITSZIMMON is one of the most sustained slopes in the range. It is a fantastic face with an exposed entrance off the summit. After that, you ski a few hundred meters before turning right over a convexity to a big open face. Every time I have done the route in waist deep powder and fantastic skiing, you can really let them rip. Watch out for the boot pack up the south face and summit ridge, best done early, especially on a sunny day. From the base I have exited all the way along Fitzsimmons Creek, which was a great adventure but a slog taking about 7 hours. The best way is to hit the creek and head up and left to the Russet Lake Hut and back down Singing Pass taking roughly 3 hours.
3. HOUR GLASS CHUTE ON TRORIE is great steep, exposed skiing. It is rarely skied and the main chute is all above a 50 foot cliff. At the end of the run you traverse above the cliff to the lift, and down the exit chute. Snow stability is the main concern for the run, and we rope up with one person ready to jump off the knife edge ridge while ski cutting. The exit back Blackcomb side is easy, and takes about 2 hours.
4. BLIND DATE ON DECKER is one of my favourite runs with guaranteed powder. It is rarely skied due to its hidden location. From Blackcomb, it is over the lookers left on Mt Decker, and it is not visible from any other popular areas which is why it is not often skied. It is a couloir down a big cliff band on a big convexity to the cliff. Not easy to find, but go right, and it is just left of a small tree. The run is great and loaded with light snow, and every time, I have done it fresh. Also, it is then only one and a half hour back to 7th Heaven on Blackcomb.
5. NORTH EAST FACE ON FISSILE starts with a convexity off the summit of Fissile. Stability is a must as the whole run is above a 100m cliff. It is a fantastic 44 degree consistent slope which is where you can really rip. If your sluff is going past you, you are going too slow. A brilliant ski, and same approach and return home as Summit Chute.
Spearhead Range, B.C Canada
Length of time: 5 winters of exploration
The Goal: Best five ski descents I could find