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Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - Overlord Mountain (British Columbia)

A two day attempt of Overlord peak.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Parking at Whistler, both for this reschedule and the original in Early August ran into massive parking issues for events NOT listed on any Whistler event calendar that we could find. Both times the issue was ONLY discovered by people already in Whistler.  Parking is a major issue for this route since there is no effective alternative if all overnight Whistler based parking is closed.  The trail was in great shape to Russet lake and Singing trail back to Whistler was good other than Harmey stream crossing (massive washout) and the last two miles, which were essentially road or ORV access paths.  

Parking is a major issue at Whistler.  I would recommend this be a week day only trip as even advanced planning and research has twice not been able to turn up major events resulting in all/most overnight parking closures.  

We took the gondola and lift to the top of Whistler.  Conflicting information from Whistler visitor center said it was $56 to go up and $15 down (all Canadian).  In fact you only pay for going up and the return (even if you did not ride it up) is free.  

For approach we hiked the "High Note Trail" to the Singing Bumps trail and then followed this to Russet lake.  the trail was in great shape the entire route. Note that High Note is a much more scenic trail but is a mile or so longer than just taking the trail from the Gondola (IE not taking the ski lift to the summit from the top of the Gondola).  

There is plenty of camping spots at the lake (get a back country  permit however.  $56 for our party of 8).  it was approximately 9 miles and 1000' gain to the lake (you drop a fair amount of  elevation from the top of Whistler peak first).  Note there is not any really effective way to hang food (the trees at the lake are all dwarf) and no food container in the hut, which likely is occupied by another party anyway.  Bear cannisters appear to be the only effective approach to food storage. We did not have any issues with critters but that may not always be the case on future trips there. 

For the climb we hiked the scree to fields to the  Fissle/Whirlwind col and went up the left side of the glacier on snow and glacier ice.  Note from a distance this col looks extremely steep and considerably more committing than a basic climb would entail. In fact it was an easy walk up once we arrived at the base.  we did not set any protection enroute up or down. 

From the top of the col we traversed the Overlord glacier to Refuse tower col. the route up from here is a scramble but it looked very junky with steep loose rock.  Due to to time constraints and some party members energy levels we turned back here.  Our original route was planned to traverse below the north face of Overlord to the Benvolio glacier and cork screw around to the summit.  This appears to be a better approach and descent route in late season (aka no snow) than the rock scramble past Refuse Tower presented.  Early season this would probably be the easier/shorter route to the top.  

For our return to Whistler we went 1.8 miles back to singing pass and then 7.2 miles down Singing trail to the resort. The last two miles was more an ORV access road that was unpleasant hiking.  A better route back would be to head back over the Singing Bumps and then take the right fork intersection trail back to the Gondola.  This is 700' of gain but 1.2 miles shorter than Singing Trail and would have been considerably more pleasant.  

It should be noted that this should really be a three day climb unless you have a very fast party that is willing to return to the cars late at night.