Russet Lake Ski Touring

With exams finished, I figured it was about time I get my first day of skiing in for the season. So Anna, Scott, and I headed up to Whistler early Saturday morning to set out for Russet lake. The most important lesson learned that morning – Cobbs Bread in Caulfield is a great alternative to Tim Horton’s in Squamish! (The scones are delicious. As are the chocolate croissants.)

We made slow, but steady progress along the Singing Pass Trail – moving at a leisurely pace. We crossed snow covered bridges early in the day and stood aside for many skiers going in the opposite direction in the afternoon. After talking with a few, it seemed they were mostly downhill area users who had skied out of bounds areas such as Cowboy Ridge.

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As the day progressed , we realized we weren’t going to make it to Russet Lake by nightfall (sunset at 4:15pm). After some talk about how far it would be wise to ski by headlight, we decided that we would go as far as the clearly marked trail would take us – Singing Pass. The trail beyond that requires route-finding that would be quite difficult in the dark. We arrived at Singing Pass around 6:30pm, having skied the last couple hours by headlight.

It was then that I realized my orange GSI Fairshare Measuring Cup had fallen off my backpack. The contents being my spork, 2 of 6 granola bars, and a massive block of cheese that was meant to comprise a substantial portion of my calories over the 3 days. After setting up camp, I made the decision to recover the measuring cup at all costs! So I headed back down the trail by headlight, scanning the trail for any hint of bright orange. With each minute of descent I told myself I should give up, but I kept telling myself that it would just be around the next corner. After 2.5km of descent I finally gave up hope. With sunken spirits I fastened my skins, and headed back up the trail. But low and behold, about 3/4 of the way back, almost completely buried in powder, a glint of orange! I would have my Tomato Basil Spaghetti Sidekicks with cheese, in a container, with a spork after all!


Arriving back at camp, I found Scott to be asleep in the tent, and Anna ready to make dinner. Tired and hungry, we made dinner and then called it a night. Scott and I christened my new Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 and Anna went with her solo, 3-season, MSR Hubba.


With a late start the next day, we headed to the Himmelbach Hut at Russet Lake, breaking trail a large portion of the way.

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With some daylight left, we quickly ate lunch, ditched our overnight gear, and headed to the slopes for some great powder turns.

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A beautiful sunset over the mountains followed by a full moon and a star-filled night sky left us looking forward to our last day’s skiing.


As fate had it, the next day was cold, snowy, windy, with flat light. Though we had one thing on our side – visibility. Thus, Scott and I headed to what we thought was Whirlwind. It turns out we were actually heading up the side of Fissile, and realized this only once we found ourselves at a point where we would either have to cross a steep and exposed frozen scree field or go back the way we came. We went with the latter, and decided to save Whirlwind for another day.

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We met Anna back at the hut, ate lunch, packed our bags, and headed back towards Singing Pass followed by Oboe, followed by the Whistler downhill area. Unfortunately we arrived at Symphony Bowl at 3:30pm, which was after the last chairlift had run. So we hiked up the Burnt Stew Trail, eventually arriving at the route out. We skied down Whistler, arriving at the parking lot just after dark.


A successful trip!

One Response to “Russet Lake Ski Touring”

  1. Work Begins On the First Alpine Hut-to-Hut System On the West Coast | Whistler Hut Open to Skiers Jan 2019 - SnowBrains Says:

    […] Russet Lake site in the winter. Credit: […]

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