05 May, 2010

Blackcomb To Black's - The Unsanctioned Spearhead Traverse Race

Every year, a group of skiers get together to go race around the Spearhead Traverse, regardless of the fact that the race has not been sanctioned or sponsored, even really organized by an official body of some sort.  The need and want for a race through this amount of unbelievable terrain is so strong, it exists purely out of the enthusiasm and stoke of all those who come and do it.  This year is no exception.  Saturday, May 22nd, Blackcomb To Black's is back!  B2B's has been happening for a long time, and hasn't ever been missed, more than a decade!  Always underground, unsanctioned, and a classic backcountry ski bums event. Hopefully one day, we'll see this race become realized and be an ISMF ski mountaineering event.

Pre-Race Meeting is at Christines on Blackcomb, from there the race will begin around 11:00 at the Boundary Gates off the Blackcomb Glacier, and ending at Black's Pub.  The race is free, and designed as a fun race, but we do know that records are meant to be broken, and limits are made to be pushed, so its your choice!  Please understand that this is a race through real backcountry glaciated terrain, there are serious hazards such as avalanches, cornice fall, crevasses, and cliffs, come prepared with all the mandatory gear.  You may race solo, or as a Team with friends, and know that everyone can finish this traverse in a day before heading out!
(Photo Above:  The back of the Spearhead Range)
Route and Rule Info
1.  The route will follow the standard Spearhead Traverse route shown on John Baldwin's Backcountry Whistler Map, and racers will abide by this route for safety reasons.  It does not go down Singing Pass but out to Flute and down Whistler mountain to Black's Pub.  Exact route information will be given on race morning
2.  Mandatory equipment is mandatory.
3.  No short cuts on the route.
4.  If a fellow racer/team is in need of help, you must help them.

Mandatory Equipment
Avalanche Gear:  A real shovel (no snow claws), probe (min 240cm), Avalanche Beacon
Down or Insulated Jacket
*Tarp (bivy sack will suffice) - a space blanket will work, but we do encourage something REAL
*Crevasse Rescue Gear and 30m rope
*First Aid
*Communication:  Either cellphone, radio, or sat phone
*Map and Compass/GPS
Note:  Items with an * can be divided only if racing as a team.  If you are missing an item, please rent or borrow, or join up with a team that does, otherwise you cannot come out!'

Please RSVP at the Escape Route, or email alex@escaperoute.ca for your place.


  1. GPS the route! I need the traditional track!

    I would do it but we're riding on sat!

  2. Looks like there is a lot of stoke going on, this should be a good one this year to shut down the Spearhead season.

  3. The weather looks reasonable for turning the E and S aspects on Iago this weekend. Are racers going to run down from the top of Fitzsimmons lift or wherever the snow line is on race day?

  4. Looks like our Spring avalanche cycle is starting to happen. Isothermal snow is threatening this race. We will usually be running down from snow line, which is just below mid-station on Whistler, however, stay tuned as we may have to pull the plug if conditions aren't acceptable for Saturday.

  5. The current snow conditions are becoming a concern. Recently we've been up in the alpine and have seen isothermal snow conditions, and hot weather. We will have to re-evaluate the snow conditions if this persists. A race update will be issued on Wednesday, to see if the race is a go or no go. Stay tuned...