Mt. Sproatt: Sprouting Wings

The famed yellow icicle

Yellow icicle? I never thought of this, but most icicles are clear. This icicle was more of a frozen waterfall, and although I’m not an ice climber, the thought of climbing it got me a bit excited. What were the chances that we would find an icicle, let alone the correct yellow icicle? We had been looking out for this yellow icicle, since it was our path out of the forest and into the glorious sun.

On Saturday I organized a VOC trip to Mt. Sproatt, near Whistler. Ten people showed up, two of them not members of the club. We followed the directions on the VOC wiki and parked by the Whistler cemetery, next to the snowshed. From there we skinned up a road and then the Rainbow Lake trail. The trail was difficult to follow, and several times I thought we had left it when in fact we were still on it – there are very few markers, or perhaps they are covered with snow. This got worse higher up, in the first growth forest, which is much more sparse, and we indeed lost the trail. Normally this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but in this case we were instructed to leave the trail at a particular point, climb up and pass to the left of a cliff with a yellow icicle. Using a map and GPS brought us close to the trail, and somehow shortly after that the yellow icicle showed its amber face.

Heading up the Hanging Valley: blue sky!

We bootpacked up the steep icy slope to the left of the icicle, and soon found ourselves in an open valley, known as the Hanging Valley. Once we got out into the sun, it didn’t take long for people to decide that relaxing in the sun was the order of the day, so we found an excuse: lunch. After that we climbed farther up the Hanging Valley and took a left which led us easily to the summit. We spent some time admiring the views and impressing each other with how many mountains we could identify. Rainbow Mtn. appeared close enough to touch, but regrettably the area between there and Mt. Sproatt has been taken over by buzzing, dark smoke belching, snowmobiles – luckily they didn’t come close to us.

Almost at the summit of Mt. Sproatt

From there we skied a fun run over a few small bumps and then steeper through the trees back down to the valley. I thought we would go up for another run, but after waiting for a long while for one of the participants to ski down that 500m run, we decided we had better ski down (he boot packed most of the way back to the car).

I’ll probably be back to Mt. Sproatt: it’s a great day trip destination, and has some long north facing slopes, also known as powder stashes.

More photos

This entry was posted in Backcountry Skiing, British Columbia (and nearby), Sea to Sky, Trip Reports, Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC). Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Mt. Sproatt: Sprouting Wings

  1. Peta Kaplan says:

    Great photos! Looks like fun.. except for the snow mobiles!

  2. Nicole says:

    What made the icicle yellow?

  3. Gili says:

    Hopefully not pee… It might be a mineral in the soil.

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