Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: The FissileThe Fissile is the stunning Matterhorn-looking mountain that is visible from Village Gate Boulevard in Whistler.  Looking up from Village Gate you will see the distant Peak2Peak Gondola spanning Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  In the background distance you will see The Fissile.  In the bright sunshine of summer it will be vibrantly coloured red.  In the evening it turns dark red then fades into an ominous black.  In the winter months, of course, The Fissile is a striking, white pyramid. 

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

  Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

For newcomers to Whistler, The Fissile can go unnoticed for weeks, or even months.  Until you find yourself at one of the many perfect vantage points to this beautiful mountain peak, such as Village Gate Boulevard.  One little known fact about Whistler is how intricately designed the Village is.  The Village Gate entrance to Whistler Village was designed in the late 70’s with one thing in mind.  It had to have a view of The Fissile.  Originally called Red Mountain, it wasn’t until 1965 the name was changed to The Fissile.  One motivation may have been the fact that Red Mountain is a very common mountain name.  Two local Whistler legends, Karl Ricker and Neal Carter suggested the name.  Karl Ricker was the mountaineering pioneer that, along with Bert Port, Chris Gardner and Alistair MacDonald that skied and mapped out the Spearhead Traverse in 1964.  Neal Carter was an even earlier mountaineering pioneer that was the first to explore many Whistler area mountains in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Photographing and documenting many first ascents of Whistler area mountains like Wedge Mountain and Mount James Turner.  The name The Fissile is derived from the geological term fissility.  Fissility refers to the tendency of certain rocks to split along flat planes of weakness.  Sedimentary rocks like shale and slate to develop planes of weakness along layers during compaction.  The Fissile is a mountain of red slate and a remarkably beautiful example of a mountain showing fissility.

Peak2Peak, Overlord and The Fissile

Peak2Peak Gondola and The Fissile

The Fissile is part of the Fitzsimmons Range and towers above Russet Lake.  One of the many amazing campgrounds in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The Fissile has Russet Lake on one side and Overlord Mountain and Overlord Glacier on the other side.  Russet Lake can be hiked to via the astoundingly beautiful Musical Bumps trail and the High Note Trail which start from the top of Whistler Mountain.  To get to the top of Whistler Mountain you ride up the Whistler Gondola and then the frighteningly steep, though exhilarating Peak Express Chair.  Alternatively you can hike to Russet Lake for free from Whistler Village via the Singing Pass trail which is the original route to The Fissile, Overlord Mountain and the alpine of Whistler Mountain.

Overlord Glacier and The Fissile

The Fissile in Garibaldi Park

Russet Lake and The Fissile

Overlord from Blackcomb Mountain

The Fissile is quite a distinct mountain in Garibaldi Provincial Park because of its vivid red colour and symmetrical arrowhead shape.  There is another, even more remarkable feature of The Fissile, its age.  The sedimentary rock that would eventually become The Fissile was laid down more than 200 million years ago.  The Fissile began its life as sedimentary rock formed in a shallow sea along the coast of North America.  As tectonic plates pushed into the North American Plate from the Pacific, the Coast Mountains were formed over millions of years.  The Coast Mountains are almost entirely comprised of geologically young mountains comprised of volcanic rock as opposed to The Fissile's ancient, crumbling slate.  Black Tusk, for example is strikingly youthful at just over a million years old.  

Fissility

Russet Lake Map v20

For decades The Fissile has been a destination and playground for outdoor adventure seekers year-round.  In the winter it is one end of the popular Spearhead Traverse.  The Fissile itself is a skiing destination on its own for expert skiiers/snowboarders.  In the summer The Fissile is next to a lot of Garibaldi Park hiking and camping activity at Russet Lake.  From the Russet Lake campground, the summit of The Fissile is quite close, but a very challenging and potentially dangerous scramble to the top.

Garibaldi Park Wildlife & History

Plants of the Whistler RegionA Passion for MountainsPlants of the Whistler Region is an excellent book that includes great pictures and descriptions of most trees you will find in Whistler. Small enough to fit in your pocket and comprehensive enough to identify most things you will encounter growing in the forests of Whistler. Along with conifer trees and broadleaf trees the book has chapters on flowers, berries, ferns and shrubs. You can find Plants of the Whistler Region on Amazon, the Whistler Library and at Armchair Books in Whistler Village. The author Collin Varner has a wonderful series of Plants of.. books on various regions beyond Whistler. Plants of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, Plants of the Gulf and San Juan Islands and Southern Vancouver Island, and Plants of the West Coast Trail. In the last couple years he has started a new series of books. The Flora and Fauna of Coastal British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest and Edible and Medicinal Flora of the West Coast: British Columbia and the Pacific NorthwestA Passion for Mountains by Kathryn Bridge is a fascinating look at Don and Phyllis Munday's prolific exploration of the mountains in BC.  Based out of Vancouver, they were dominant figures of the climbing community in the early 1900's.  In 1923 they visited their friend Neal Carter in Alta Lake(Whistler) and explored the mountains around the valley.. many for the first time!

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Aiguille: a tall, narrow, characteristically distinct spire of rock. From the French word for "needle". Used extensively as part of the names for many ...
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Neal Carter (14 Dec 1902 - 15 Mar 1978) was an early explorer of the Coast Mountains around what would eventually be called Whistler Valley.  In the summer ...
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Bench: a flat section in steep terrain.  Characteristically narrow, flat or gently sloping with steep or vertical slopes on either side.  A bench can be ...
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Nunatuk: a rock projection protruding through permanent ice or snow.  Their distinct appearance in an otherwise barren landscape often makes them ...
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Emerald Forest is a cute little forest that is well hidden between Whistler Cay and Alpine.  From Whistler Village, if you go down to the end of Lorimer ...
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Whistler, the surrounding mountains, and Garibaldi Provincial Park are home to two types of bears.  Black bears and grizzly bears.  Black bears are ...
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Whistler spruce is a hybrid of the Sitka spruce and the interior Engelmann spruce. Sitka spruce trees thrive in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest ...
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Crevasse: is a split or crack in the glacier surface, often with near vertical walls.  Crevasses form out of the constant movement of a glacier over ...
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July is a wonderful time to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The weather is beautiful and the snow on high elevation hiking trails is long ...
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August hiking in Whistler definitely has the most consistently great, hot weather.  You can feel the rare pleasure of walking across a glacier shirtless and ...
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September hiking in Whistler is possibly the best month of all.  The snow has melted far up to the mountain tops, yet the temperatures are still quite high.  ...
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Hiking in Whistler in October is often unexpectedly stunning.  The days are much shorter and colder but the mountains are alive with colour from the fall ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

  Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

Madeley Lake is a beautiful, remote mountain lake hidden high up in the Callaghan Valley.  From Whistler Village expect to take 40 minutes to drive there.  You can drive directly to the lake, however the ...
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Cheakamus River is a beautiful, crashing, turquoise coloured river that flows from Cheakamus Lake, through Whistler Interpretive Forest at Cheakamus Crossing, then down past Brandywine Falls to Daisy Lake.  ...
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Helm Creek is a cute, meandering creek that winds its way from beyond Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek campground, Helm Creek descends further ...
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Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141 foot waterfall just 30 to 40 minutes south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley. Open year-round and located just before Whistler Olympic Park where several ...
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