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 Park

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  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember

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 & The Fissile From Whistler

The Fissile & Peak2Peak Gondola

Russet Lake 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.

Overland Mountain and Overland Glacier

The Fissile in Garibaldi Park

The Fissile from the Russet Lake Trail

Blackcomb Mountain view of Overlord Glacier and The Fissile

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.  

Close Up View of a Piece of The Fissile

Russet Lake Map - Hike in Whistler

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.

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Glacier Window: the cave-like opening at the mouth of a glacier where meltwater runs out.  Glacier windows are often extraordinarily beautiful.  A blue glow ...
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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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Bivouac or Bivy: a primitive campsite or simple, flat area where camping is possible.  Traditionally used to refer to a very primitive campsite comprised of ...
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Whistler can be expensive.  Everything worth doing seems to cost a lot of money.  But if you step back from the noise and crowds you may spot some secret ...
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Arête: a thin ridge of rock formed by two glaciers parallel to each other. Sometimes formed from two cirques meeting. From the French for edge or ridge.  Around ...
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When you hike in the alpine in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park, you will often encounter unbelievably hardy and sometimes mangled looking trees.  ...
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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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Erratic or Glacier Erratic is a piece of rock that has been carried by glacial ice, often hundreds of kilometres.  Characteristic of their massive size and ...
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Rent Hiking Gear Whistler Garibaldi Park

Whistler & Garibaldi Park 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  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow 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  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMount Sproatt  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember

Mount Meager erupted here 2400 years ago and filled the valley with debris that cemented into rock that blocked Lillooet River.  Eventually water erosion ...
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Wedgemount Falls can be seen along the trail to Wedgemount Lake.  As the falls flow directly from Wedgemount Lake, they are located about three quarters ...
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Whistler Train Wreck is a hidden little world of brightly graffiti painted, wrecked train cars along a gorgeous stretch of Cheakamus River.  One ...
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Rainbow Falls is located just a short hike from the start of the Rainbow Trail to Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is along Alta Lake Road on the far side of ...
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Black Tusk is the extraordinarily iconic and appropriately named mountain that can be seen from almost everywhere in Whistler.  The massive black spire of crumbling rock juts out of the earth in an incredibly ...
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Whistler has an absurd number of wonderful and free hiking trails and Parkhurst Ghost Town certainly ranks as one of the most unusual, exotic and interesting. Parkhurst was a little logging town perched on ...
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Cheakamus Lake is a wonderfully relaxing way to get in the wilderness easily and quickly from Whistler Village. The trail begins on the far side of Whistler Mountain, 8 kilometres from the Sea to Sky ...
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The trail to Whistler Train Wreck is an easy, yet varied route through deep forest, across a great suspension bridge over Cheakamus River, to a stunning array of wrecked train cars. The trail from your car to ...
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