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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-12-2014, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Default Blackcomb Mountain and Spearhead

Being eager beavers we arrived in Whistler at 8:30am hoping to do Fissile (in a day), only to find out the first upload via the gondola was at 10am! Say what?! What the heck kind of lazy ass mountain start is that? Grumble. Okay, I can make something work here...

9am the bookstore opens and I had planned to gift Zebra the Matt Gunn Scrambles bible anyway. Time to make good and use it to plan an alternate route. He had endured enough Maria bushwhack classics with much suffering and little reward. Time to give him something new; Blackcomb and Spearhead

Whistler/Blackcomb back-country just DO NOT disappoint. Panoramic glacier views as far as the eye can see.

ROUTE
10am
Take the Whistler gondola > Peak to Peak chair to Solar Coaster Express start



10:30am
From there take green "Alpine Walk", Blue "Overlord" Route, blue "Marmot trail" (this is my very best Marmot impression although I fear I lack longer teeth and maybe some fur).



11:30am
Then hike to the top of 7th Heaven chair lift and Horstman Hut. This is the ridge access point.



The Blackcomb ridge is solid talus all the way and makes for great talus hopping.





1:30pm
Getting to the top took exactly 2 hrs and it occurred to me that I needed to let Zebra practice the fine art of the talus walk, this was very different than the bushwhacks I made him endure.

The Broken Towers area was a little lose so I made sure to go slow there.



I confess I was a little hard on Zebra this trip. The last gondola down was at 5:15pm and I was determined to hit two summits. He asked to eat an apple and I made him walk and eat it. I too walked with a salami and cheese sandwich in my mouth.

Blackcomb Summit
The views are stunning in every direction. Decker, Decker Glacier, and what I'm going to call Decker lake (cause it has no formal name).





No time to linger, it was time to go again! Down back to the col...



The guide books says 1hr to the summit of Spearhead from Blackcomb. I must have been very anxious to get there cause I got there in 25 min.



Getting ready for my hero shot...

and bazinga! Two summit victory!



2pm
The views from the top of the Spearhead are magical!

Looking back at Blackcomb Ridge



Looking at Spearhead Glacier and Phalanx



NOW: To my fellow explorers...has anyone heard of anyone continuing the ridge from Spearhead across to Phalanx like so...



I rudely awoke Spectrum from slumber asking him that question on Sunday morning but from what we could determine most folks do it as a winter route from Lost Lake.

2:15pm
Okay time to run back. Another small snack, 10 min at the summit and time to return. I got thinking that in order to save time we would descend to Blackcomb Lake instead of doing the ridge again. So we returned to the summit and found the ice axe gate keepers (kinda love that touch).



3pm

Zebra says I keep trying to kill him every hike we do. While I vehemently deny his accusations, I confess that perhaps this once he had cause.

I read the guide book and thought..."Go down the ridge and find the col, and descend." We got to the first col, saw footprints and thought, here we go!

I should have double checked the book and realized what the dotted black line meant (go behind the mountain!) Note to all, if you see this gully, it's not the recommended descent. It can be done, but it's loose and ugly and dangerous. Zebra and I each had a pole to go down, slipped on our butts at times, and generally it was very slow and careful moving.





Correct Route in Black via Disease Col. Our route in red. Direct but loose.

4:15pm
That darn descent took time and route finding...longer than I expected. I waited at Blackcomb Lake for Zebra, took some panos, and only then looking back up, realized I had gone the wrong way.



4:30pm
Zebra arrived! Yippe, he was safe I tried to spot him in the talus but his awesome gray on gray with gray pack made it almost impossible. It was promptly decided he was going to buy a red or orange t-shirt as soon as he could.

4:52pm
I was eager to get back in time so I set a fast pace. We were back at the Gondola with 23min to spare! Woohooo. So salty, so very very dirty. Those poor tourists! The children very politely asked us if we were hiking. Yes, yes we were I grinned Lemme show you the glaciers I insisted. To which the 8 year old replied, is that an iPhone 5s? Hmmrrr....yeah.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:11 AM
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Great trip! I didn't notice a date on your posting. When were you there? The air looks pretty clear in your shots so I doubt it was yesterday. And I can't believe you can do trips like this in the heat with long pants!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:23 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by BurnabyRich

Great trip! I didn't notice a date on your posting. When were you there? The air looks pretty clear in your shots so I doubt it was yesterday. And I can't believe you can do trips like this in the heat with long pants!
We were there on Sunday. Given our descent the pants were a blessing
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:31 AM
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Nice shots.... beautiful area;

K
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by BurnabyRich

Great trip! I didn't notice a date on your posting. When were you there? The air looks pretty clear in your shots so I doubt it was yesterday. And I can't believe you can do trips like this in the heat with long pants!
We were there on Sunday, August 10th And yes, I almost always wear long pants for the following 1) I don't sweat much 2) Prevents sunburn 3) Somehow I always scratch my legs if I wear shorts - too much bushwhacking and abrasive terrain. The rare exceptions are training hikes like the Grind, or Red Salsa dress days (theheheh).
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 11:39 AM
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That gully you took is the Dead on Arrival (DOA) couloir. It is apparently a popular ski in the winter, but people avoid it in the summer for the obvious reasons.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:55 PM
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2 more bite the dust. Well done!
Seems like you cracked the whip on this trip lol! Oh and glad to see the poles got some use rather than just looking real purrdy inside the backpack . []
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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quote:Originally posted by trick

That gully you took is the Dead on Arrival (DOA) couloir. It is apparently a popular ski in the winter, but people avoid it in the summer for the obvious reasons.
That descent is most aptly named! I approve, LOL
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Spectrum

2 more bite the dust. Well done!
Seems like you cracked the whip on this trip lol! Oh and glad to see the poles got some use rather than just looking real purrdy inside the backpack . []
Thanks Tell me when you're off again and we'll do more! There's a whole book of possibilities
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by trick

That gully you took is the Dead on Arrival (DOA) couloir. It is apparently a popular ski in the winter, but people avoid it in the summer for the obvious reasons.
You have no idea
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-14-2014, 01:49 AM
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Awesome. It's a great area and starting in the alpine is hard to beat. When you go back for Decker just take the Blackcomb chairlift up. A nicer and more direct ride.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 11:24 AM
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Is that an iPhone 5s? Ha ha ha ha!!!

Great job
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 04:07 PM
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Decker lake last October 2013.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 05:25 PM
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Awesome pics, so cool to see that area when there is no snow!

Isn't what your calling Decker Lake actually circle lake? I'm pretty sure that's the name on John Baldwins ski map.

As for Spearhead to Phalanx, it should go, it would be scrambly for sure.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 08:50 PM
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Nice report, Maria! Excellent photos there
Ahh, so it's called Circle Lake then, Sharon? I called it Decker Lake last year when I was there. Could not find a name on my map though
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