After tagging the summit of “Frankie Peak” and then “Eagle Peak”, our third and final destination for the day was Whistler Mountain. This wasn’t the original loop that we had planned, but it allowed us to make up for missing out on “Larry Mountain” and North Castle. Whistler is an interesting destination because there is some controversy concerning the exact location of its summit. Despite some older topo maps that show the summit to be the first peak in the foreground, the actual summit of Whistler Mountain is in the centre (see Sonny Bou’s trip report for more details on this controversy). Either way, if you approach Whistler from this direction and follow the ridge to completion, you will end up tagging the real summit!
The ~1.8km trip from “Eagle Peak” to Whistler Mountain is not difficult and without 100+ km wind gusts, it is an enjoyable hike. I first visited Whistler in May 2014 as part of what I call, The Whistler Loop. Due to the wind however, we chose not to visit the old fire lookout, but made a beeline for the South Castle Road using the Whistler Mountain trail.
Further to the Whistler Mountain summit controversy, this topo map from Natural Resources Canada (NRC) shows the summit to be the second, and final highpoint along the ridge before reaching the old Whistler Fire Lookout. When you are walking from”Eagle Peak” (or “Whistable II”), the first point that you reach ‘feels’ more like the summit – and it should because it’s higher. However, the summit is still further to the south.
The trip from “Eagle Peak” (“Whistable II”) to the summit of Whistler Mountain was 1.8km. Using the trail, the trip from the summit to the South Castle Road was ~3km. Our total distance for “Frankie Peak”, “Eagle Peak”, and Whistler Mountain ended up being 12.5km with total elevation gains of 1323m. Our total time came in at 6 hours and 41 minutes.
The descent from “Eagle Peak” (“Whistable II”) requires a relatively easy loss of ~158m in elevation – unless of course the wind is trying to blow you back up the mountain. 😉
The ridge walk to Whistler Peak is quite colourful thanks to the ubiquitous presence of red argillite.
The view to the south from along the connecting ridge. “Frankie Peak” is on the left and the second shoulder of our highly enjoyable ascent route is in the centre.
Nathan and Keegan approach the intervening highpoint between “Eagle Peak” and Whistler Mountain. This ‘feels’ like it should be the summit.
The view back to “Eagle Peak” (“Whistable II”), “Larry Mountain”, and “Frankie Peak”.
Nathan tries out a natural grind rail near the top of the first highpoint.
The summit of Whistler Mountain (2201m; centre). In the background on the left is the old Whistler Fire Lookout.
Keegan and Nathan stand on their third summit of the day. This is the first time that either of them have tagged three summits in one trip, so while conditions were miserable, it was nevertheless a significant milestone.
The old Whistler Fire Lookout is not far away. However, the extreme wind had sucked away not only our breath, but our desire to remain on the mountain.
Heading for the trail that lies between the summit and the fire lookout.
The trail is not hard to find.
The view south from the trail. From left to right: “Frankie Peak”, Castle Peak, Windsor Mountain, Sage Mountain, and Mount Matkin.
The trailhead for Grizzly Lake and Ruby Lake is in the lower centre. From the South Castle Road, it crosses the river and follows Grizzly Creek between Barnaby Ridge and Lys Ridge.
Back on the South Castle Road and looking at the trailhead for Whistler Mountain. From here we still had a ~1.6km walk to our vehicle.
Arriving back at our vehicle after travelling 12.5km and knocking off three peaks in 6 hours and 41 minutes. Though we had to change our original loop and battle a not-so-fun wind, it was still a great way to celebrate Nathan’s 20th birthday. All three of us loved the ascent route and the ridge walk to “Frankie Peak”. When conditions are conducive to a safe and successful descent from “Frankie” to “Larry Mountain”, I will return using this same route.