Dean C. on Fissile, Whirlwind, and Overlord Peaks:
“Ella, Q & I went to Russet Lake Aug 13-14 to see the meteor shower and to scramble up Fissile, Whirlwind and Overlord peaks. After reaching the hut, Ella and I slogged up Fissile’s scree treadmill and steep summit ridge, then after a brief summit celebration we slid back down for dinner where no less than 28 tents were now pitched! Popular place for meteor gazing, and we saw two later that evening. On Sunday I quickly solo-ed Whirlwind, Refuse Pinnacle and Overlord in less than 4 hours return, motivated to return, pack up, and meet them at the village; after enduring more Musical Bumps in the heat, we were only 5 minutes apart (though they had time to take the Peak to Peak Gondola for some sightseeing). I was somewhat tired afterward and learned much from my experiment with duct tape on a tiny blister; I turned a mole hill into a mountain. Two day totals: 37 kms and 2,680 m elevation gain over 13.5 hours, and at least 6 unique peaks (with 12 actual summits).”
Chris M. at Russet Lake:
“Our small group of two went with a backup plan – 2-night trip to Russet Lake. I thought we would take the gondola up and hike down route. However, the gondola is shut down until Nov 27 so we started hiking from the village at noon. The Singing Pass Trail is very easy to follow, though there are two washouts, with the Harmony Creek one being the worst. After joining the trail from Musical Bumps the snow became much deeper than anticipated and I was postholing frequently. Because of that, just before dark we set up a tent on the snow and went to sleep with a nice view of Black Tusk. The snow was firmer in the morning and travel was much easier. We went directly over Cowboy Ridge and down to the lake and hut. Russet Lake had only recently frozen over and fresh water was still flowing out (I don’t know if this is available all winter long). It was clear and beautiful. The views were especially terrific from Cowboy Ridge, where we had gone back up to watch the colours after sunset. The temperature dropped and it was a very cold night in the hut. I wasn’t really ready for winter yet. The trail out was frozen and awkward in a few spots but still only took about 4.5 hours to reach the village of Whistler.”
Evgeny on Overlord Mountain:
“Three of us started the megahike at 8:30 am from the parking lot near the Blackcomb gondola. At a relaxed pace we reached Russet Lake right before noon and after a short break moved towards Whirlwind Peak. The weather was as epic as our hike with clear blue skies and warm air. 🙂 On the way up we put on crampons and with the help of ice axes ascended via a pocket glacier to the saddle between the Fissile and Whirlwind Peaks. From there we crossed the top of the pocket glacier and ended up on the Whirlwind Peak at 1:50 pm. After a 30 min snack break we started totally gorgeous ridge walking towards Overlord mountain. It is mostly scrambling with small patches of snow closer to the Overlord Mountain. At 3:40 pm we reached our destination and enjoyed late lunch under severe exposure to awesomeness. We took about an hour to will ourselves to leave this beautiful mountain but we found strength and started our way back home. We summitted Whirlwind Peak again but this time we used the eastern ridge to descend from it to the plateau using snow fields for boot skiing down as much as possible. Near the first stream of water coming from the glacier we refilled our water supply using a filter that I brought with me to avoid carrying too much water. We timed perfectly as the sunset found us stepping on a wide Russet Lake trail. After Singing Pass we proceeded through the forest with head lamps. At 11:20 pm we finished the megahike at the parking lot. Due to some minor knee malfunction of one of my companions the descent took almost the same time as the ascent but nevertheless it was unbelievably good day.
This is the soundtrack of our hike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ1OV75weYA
For the detailed report see https://www.livetrails.com/report/3508/0/Overlord_Mountain_From_Whistler_Village”
Carollyne on the Musical Bumps:
“Beautiful meadows in bloom, snow fields, a lovely lake, views of glaciers and distant peaks are what we found on this 10 hour day hike. The trail up from Whistler seems a lot easier than the elevation gain would indicate, due to the gradual grade, smooth condition of the trail and the relatively easy creek crossings. Harmony Creek still has no bridge, but the water levels are low enough so it is not difficult to cross. Flute Creek’s bridge is split in the middle and seemed slippery enough that most of us opted to wade across the creek. Louise actually got across with dry boots. The fork in the trail where left goes to Russet Lake and right goes to Musical Bumps appears below the pass, unlike what 103 Hikes indicates. With plenty of time and energy we took the left fork to Russet and were very glad we did. The contrast between the meadows and glaciated rock and snow fields as well as the beautiful lake was fantastic. The hut was very clean and unoccupied, but small enough you could not depend on using it for an overnighter. We had lunch at lakeside following Andrew’s swim. Returning from the lake, we could not find any shortcut trail directly across the pass to the Musical Bumps, so we had to go back to the main fork and hike back up to the bumps. The Oboe “bump”, the first one on the return trip, has the steepest incline, but they all are up and down. There is no water on this return trip until below the last bump, so if you go this way, fill up at the lake. There seem to be some missing signage, so we did not find High Note trail on the return. After the bumps, we took the trail that follows Symphony Lake. This was a bit of a kicker… a fairly steep 3 km back to the Gondola after already hiking at least 24 km. However, it was the only trail we saw that was clearly marked “Gondola” so it seemed like the best choice. We caught the free return gondola down around 8 pm after enjoying the sunset and finished off at Splitz Grill for dinner. The gondola was running unusually late due to the BBQ package at the Roundhouse… normally this would have to be an overnighter or an extremely early start to do in one day.”
Su-Laine hiking the Musical Bumps via Singing Pass:
“Do this trip soon! Eight of us headed up the steady gradient of the Singing Pass trail on Saturday, towards the meadows where a variety of alpine flowers were in bloom and more had yet to open. Russet Lake had plenty of excellent camping spots. It got cold: we measured minus 2 degrees at night while we were still awake! On Sunday six of us day-hiked to various altitudes on Fissile Peak in glorious sunshine. It’s a tricky scramble and only one of us got to the top, but even a partial ascent gave excellent views.
After waiting out a spell of bad weather at the Russet Lake hut, we hiked out in temporarily less-bad weather along the Musical Bumps trail. I discovered that a scrambling helmet is fun to wear in a hailstorm – you hear the clatter of hail while keeping dry and cozy. The fog cleared and the sun came out occasionally, enough to appreciate the beauty of the region, which included black bears and gregarious marmots. The (free) gondola to the village was scheduled to run until the late evening that day, so it was past 7pm by the time we got to the Dubh Linn Gate pub for dinner. The gondola is scheduled to run until late a few more times this summer (Sept 3, 4, and 5), but call Whistler Guest Services (1-800-766-0449) to confirm.
Thanks to everyone for making this such a fun trip with great company.”
Jennifer exploring the area around Russet Lake:
“Peter, Laura, Sandi, Michael and Jen all got an alpine start to backpack in to Russet Lake for three days. Via the valley we made our way up Cowboy Pass and down to the lake to set up camp. After a second lunch, we headed up Fissile Peak. Fissile was challenging. There were lots of loose crumbly rocks covered with gravel and quite a long stretch requiring good handholds (of which there were none) giving us a run for our money. We did make it to the top, using the first route described in the Scrambles Guide. The group slipped-n-slid back down the way we came, with a few bruises and scrapes (that shale is full of fossils but also quite sharp!) but no major mishaps. I would recommend helmets for sure (easy to knock rocks down, and we had some narrow misses). Day two followed a crystal clear night of stars. Clouds and some sun made our scramble up Whirlwind peak and on to Overlord Mountain more dramatic. Scampering onto the ridge was the only challenging part of Whirlwind which was otherwise a lot of up with spectacular views of Garibaldi and the Tantalus Range. Now that we’ve done it, we would recommend climbing up the middle moraine to get to the ridge. From Whirlwind we took the northern ridge up Refuse Peak to Overlord. The panorama of peaks and ice-fields filled our eyes and took our breath away. With a couple of exposed areas requiring some careful hand and foot moves, the route up was straight-forward. Back the same way over Whirlwind to avoid glacier travel brought us safely (albeit hungry) back to Russet Lake. We woke up frost-covered in the morning but the sun soon warmed us up (it’s toque, long john, and down vest weather already). Third day was a mellow sunny meander over the Musical Bumps to the lovely gondola which whisked us back to our cars. Potluck dinners and lots of laughs made an unbelievable setting that much better – thanks for a great trip!”