Whistler Backpacking

From: $655

per person dbl occ

Dates: Jul-Sep - see all dates

Total Days: 4

Activity Level: 3-4

Reserve This Trip

1-800-622-2236

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Monday–Friday,
7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

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Price:

2014/2015

REI member: $655

Non-member: $755

Trip Dates:

2014

  • Jul 24–27
  • Aug 7–10
  • Aug 14–17
  • Aug 21–24
  • Aug 28–31
  • Sep 4–7
  • Sep 11–14

2015

  • Jul 23–26
  • Aug 6–9
  • Aug 13–16
  • Aug 20–23
  • Sep 3–6
  • Sep 10–13

Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 4-12

Activity Level: 3-4

Activities:

  • Backpacking

Accommodations:

Backcountry camping, 2 nights

Trip Highlights

  • Backpack in the pristine wilderness of Whistler, BC
  • Board the gondola for a trip up to the high alpine with immediate, epic views
  • Camp at Russet Lake, complete with shelter and picturesque campsites
  • Follow expert guides who impart regional knowledge and lead off-trail excursions

Board the gondola in the Village and soar to the top of Whistler Mountain to hike beautiful alpine trails overlooking the valley below. Delight in flower-filled meadows and spectacular views in every direction as our trail crosses the rolling Musical Bumps and alpine ridgelines en route to Russet Lake.

We set up basecamp alongside this pristine alpine lake with fabulous views of the Spearhead Range; Fissile Peak and Overlord Glacier tower overhead. Your guides will share their in-depth knowledge of the area's cultural history and the story of natural forces that have shaped this spectacular landscape. Highlights include a wilderness basecamp in the Whistler backcountry, up close views of the massive glaciers that shaped this region, and a diverse geological zone including marine fossils.

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Meet in Whistler Village for an orientation and dinner.
  • Day 2 - Board the gondola up to the high country and begin backpacking.
  • Day 3 - Set out from Russet Lake on an off-trail hike to Overlord Glacier.
  • Day 4 - Hike the trail out, taking in more lovely vistas and forest scenery.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Meet in Whistler Village for an orientation and dinner.

    Your trip begins this evening at 6pm in Whistler Village. Meet the group for dinner at Whistler Brewhouse, one the most popular local village haunts. We will take time to go over the itinerary in detail and discuss group gear and packing techniques. There will be time to stroll the village and soak in the atmosphere of this legendary adventure town. Dinner included. Tonight's Lodging is not included in your trip cost.

  • Day 2 - Board the gondola up to the high country and begin backpacking.

    We will start out our day at 8.00am with a delightful group breakfast at Gone Bakery, a quaint bistro in the heart of the Village Square. Immediately following breakfast we will board the Whistler Mountain Gondola, leaving the Village behind and heading to the high alpine! Upon arrival at the top we will begin our trek along the High Note Trail with stunning views of the jagged peaks and hanging glaciers of the Fitzsimmons and Spearhead mountain ranges. Poetically named in the 1950s for the sound of the alpine winds, the summits of Piccolo, Flute and Oboe (the Musical Bumps) will be our route through Singing Pass before reaching our high alpine, backcountry camp at Russet Lake. All meals included.

    Backpacking 6-8 miles, 1000-1200 ft elevation gain.

  • Day 3 - Set out from Russet Lake on an off-trail hike to Overlord Glacier.

    This morning we will wake up to sunrise over the crystal clear glacial waters of Russet Lake and enjoy a warm cooked breakfast around the camp. Today we have a number of great loop options, including exploring Overlord Glacier and Fissile Peak. We will set out from our base camp with only small day packs and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the high alpine glacial flats of the Spearhead Range. We will enjoy lunch on trail today and head back to base camp mid to late afternoon in time for a quick dip in Russet Lake, if you're feeling brave! We will enjoy another impressive backcountry cooked meal while enjoying the sunset over the peaks of Garibaldi Provincial Park. All meals included.

    Day hikes from base camp, 6-9 miles 800-1500 ft elevation loss/gain.

  • Day 4 - Hike the trail out, taking in more lovely vistas and forest scenery.

    Another spectacular sunrise over the peaks and cooked breakfast will begin our final day at altitude. Following breakfast we will pack up camp and head out along the Musical Bumps and Singing Pass trails. We will continue along the Northern slopes of the alpine canyon, descending back to Whistler Village far below the Peak-to-Peak gondola. Traversing the base of Spearhead Peaks of Blackcomb lends stunning vistas of the towering peaks; serving as a memorable completion of a truly epic high alpine backpacking experience. We expect to be back in Whistler Village by 4:00 pm. Please be sure not to book flights any earlier than 8:00 pm out of Vancouver International Airport or 11:00pm out of Seattle- Tacoma International Airport today.

    Backpacking 8-10 miles, 3500 ft elevation loss. Breakfast and lunch included.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions.

Important Information about Air Travel

Contact REI Adventures prior to purchasing your airline tickets to confirm the trip has the minimum number of participants required to operate.

Price Includes

Two nights camping in Whistler alpine; all meals as noted in the daily itinerary; selection of snacks to pack prior to leaving the trailhead; professional instruction and guiding; group cooking gear; group first aid kit; water filter; park and camping permits; Whistler gondola ticket to alpine access.

Not Included

Transportation from your hometown to group meeting point; first night's accommodations; park entrance fees where required, insurance of any kind; alcoholic beverages; soft drinks; guide gratuities and items of a personal nature.

Qualifications

This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4] as we plan to hike for 6-10 hours per day most days on steep, rocky, sometimes exposed terrain, gaining and/or losing up to just over 3,000 feet in elevation some days. We will carry packs weighing 30-35 lbs while we hike as well. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip we suggest that you engage in a regular exercise regimen beginning at least three months prior to your departure. Most important to your enjoyment of the trip is your overall fitness level.

Weather

We expect summer daytime high temperatures to range from the mid 50's to 70's with evening temperatures dropping into the 40s - 50s. You may encounter freezing temperatures at some of the higher elevations. Afternoon thunderstorms are a distinct possibility so adequate raingear is important.

Closest Airport(s)

Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver, BC. - 85 miles; 2 hours

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, WA - 230 miles; 4.5 hours

Bellingham International Airport, Bellingham, WA – 130 miles; 3 hours

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. A limited number of single accommodations are available, and are assigned only as necessary.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Weekend Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and detailed pre-trip information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Whistler Backpacking Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • Backpacking Tents
  • Cooking gear
  • Stoves and fuel
  • Water filter
  • Group first aid kit
Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets
Backpacking Gear
  • Backpack: large internal frame or external frame (65-85 liter capacity)
  • Pack cover – waterproof
  • Lightweight compressible sleeping bag (rated at 20-25 degrees F)
  • Lightweight compressible sleeping pad
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket and pants, lightweight waterproof and breathable
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat with brim
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Gaiters - tall mountaineering style recommended for July departures
  • Bandana
  • Lightweight wool or fleece gloves
Clothing
  • Midweight fleece jacket or wool sweater
  • Mid- or lightweight thermal top and bottom made of synthetic or wool
  • Hiking pants, quick-drying, lightweight (zip-off legs are great) no jeans!
  • Hiking shorts, quick-drying, lightweight
  • 1-2 T-shirts, synthetic
  • 2 changes of underwear
  • Hiking socks, 2 pairs of wool or synthetic
  • Sock liners, 2 pairs of synthetic liners (optional)
Footwear
  • Hiking boots: heavy duty, waterproof, and well broken-in, should rise above ankle
Travel Accessories
  • Three 1-quart water bottles or hydration system equivalent
  • Headlamp with spare batteries and bulb
  • Plastic bowl, spoon, travel mug with lid
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Sunblock, small amount not the whole bottle, min SPF 25
  • Lip balm (unscented)
  • Personal medications
  • Insect repellant (small)
  • Toothbrush & trial-sized paste
  • Pack towel and/or washcloth
  • Personal first aid kit, small and light with personal medication
  • Travel size wet-wipes
  • Orange plastic trowel
  • TP system: toilet paper (not a full roll) & 1 Ziploc quart baggie & 1 Ziploc gallon baggie and orange plastic trowel
  • 1 large plastic garbage can bag
Optional Field Gear (think weight)
  • Personal favorite energy snacks and drinks
  • Trekking poles (highly recommended)
  • Pocket knife or small multi-tool
  • Compass
  • Ear plugs
  • Lightweight camp shoes/sandals
  • Journal and pen
  • Camera and film - think weight
  • Small paperback book
  • Swim suit
  • Down vest or jacket

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresWhistler Backpacking
 
5.0

(based on 10 reviews)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Exceeded expectations (10)
  • Activity level (9)
  • Guides (9)
  • Food (8)
  • Well organized itinerary (8)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Casual adventurer (5), Avid adventurer (3)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • Destination (7), I liked the itinerary (7), Active adventures (6), All the details planned for me (6), Good value (5)

      Reviewed by 10 customers

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      Displaying reviews 1-10

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      5.0

      Everything I'd hoped it would be!

      By CharlesEGrant

      from Seattle WA

      About Me Casual Adventurer

      Pros

      • Activity Level
      • Beautiful Alpine Scenery
      • Exceeded Expectations
      • Food
      • Group Camaraderie
      • Guides
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

          The trip was perfect. Much of the trip is near timberline with dramatic alpine vistas of glaciers and meadows. Our guides Joel and McKenzie were great hosts, savvy guides, and just plain fun to spend time with.

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • I hadn't been backpacking for 25 years and thought this would be a good way to get started again.
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • You will be walking up and down steep hills and rough terrain with a heavy pack. Be sure to start training well before the trip!
           
          5.0

          Great Trip!

          By jimbarn99

          from Chicago, IL

          About Me Casual Adventurer

          Pros

          • Activity Level
          • Exceeded Expectations
          • Food
          • Group Camaraderie
          • Guides
          • Quality Equipment Provided
          • Well Organized Itinerary

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

              Just did the 3-day Whistler trip with guides Ryan and Christy. Was really an ideal trip - everything from guides, other folks on the trip, great scenery, length of trip, and level of difficulty - was great. I had not been on a multi-day backpacking trip for 15 years so it was a reintroduction of sorts for me. The guides were very knowledgable, very patient, and very attentive such that everyone had a good, safe time. I would highly recommend.

              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
              • All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
              • Why did you choose this trip?:
              • Trip was the right length (3 days), right level of difficulty, and wanted to do a trip somewhere in Canada.
              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
              • Each day there is about 5-6 hours of hiking, with both elevation gains/losses. I would a) make sure you have a good, comfortable pair of hiking boots and b) are in at least moderately decent shape before the trip. The guides will go at your pace (fast or slow) and will make sure everyone is safe, but if you are in shape, you will enjoy the trip more.

              (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Awesome trip, definitely wortth it!

              By Scott K

              from Tempe, AZ

              About Me Casual Adventurer

              Pros

              • Accommodations
              • Activity Level
              • Exceeded Expectations
              • Food
              • Group Camaraderie
              • Guides
              • Once in a Lifetime Experience
              • Quality Equipment Provided
              • Well Organized Itinerary

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

                  The views were amazing, and we had great guides. The weather was perfect this time of year (early August) as the snow was partially melted. Water was still freezing, but we got in the lakes and it was refreshing.

                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                  • All the Details Planned for Me, I Liked the Itinerary, Recommended by a Friend
                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                  • Good length of trip, not too hard but not too easy, great location with amazing scenery.
                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                  • The views were unrivaled.
                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                  • Dont carry too much stuff. Pack lightly and it will make your life easier.
                   
                  5.0

                  This is a fantastic group trip!

                  By mvargas

                  from Phoenix, AZ

                  Site Member

                  Pros

                  • Accommodations
                  • Activity Level
                  • Exceeded Expectations
                  • Food
                  • Group Camaraderie
                  • Guides
                  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                  • Quality Equipment Provided
                  • Well Organized Itinerary

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

                      This trip exceeded expectations. It is a great trip for friends to go on together. It is easy enough for novice backpackers, yet challenging enough for those that are more experienced. The guides are very accommodating and make the trip very fulfilling for the entire group.

                       
                      5.0

                      Amazing!!

                      By minders81

                      from Chicago, IL

                      About Me Casual Adventurer

                      Pros

                      • Exceeded Expectations
                      • Guides
                      • Well Organized Itinerary

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

                          The hiking was beautiful, the guides were fantastic, and the camp site was perfect. If you're even considering this trip, take it! You won't be sorry!!

                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                          • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                          • Looking for a summer getaway.
                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                          • The endless amounts of gorgeous scenery.
                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                          • Highly recommend coming in early or staying late to truly experience the village of Whistler.
                           
                          5.0

                          Whistler SHOULD BE your next adventure!

                          By CindyHFord

                          from Atlanta, GA

                          About Me Semi-Avid Adventurer

                          See all my reviews

                          Site Member

                          Pros

                          • Activity Level
                          • Exceeded Expectations
                          • Group Camaraderie
                          • Guides

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                              Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

                              Whistler Backpacking was the best REI Adventure I've undertaken as of yet. The beauty of the environment, the challenging and varied nature of the hike (some snow traversing, rock traversing, mini scrambles - all hard and awesome), the company kept; everything was really fulfilling in all the wanted ways.

                              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                              • Active Adventures, Good Value, Recommended by a Friend, Traveled wREI before, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                              • Why did you choose this trip?:
                              • Love alpine environment and the trip itinerary sounded amazing.
                              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                              • The majesty of the views and environment... and, the people met on the journey. People who sign up and go on these excursions are good good people!
                              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                              • Train with pack full of gear on inclines and declines... be certain you are good to go on 6-8 mile hikes up and down.

                              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              5.0

                              Gorgeous Country - Amazing Experience!

                              By Karen E

                              from Saint Louis, MO

                              About Me Avid Adventurer

                              Site Member

                              Pros

                              • Activity Level
                              • Exceeded Expectations
                              • Experienced guides
                              • Food
                              • Group Camaraderie
                              • Well Organized Itinerary

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

                                  The flight from St. Louis couldn't leave fast enough for this trip – Whistler was absolutely amazing! Every part of the trip was great. Our trip was Labor Day weekend and the weather was perfect – 70s and sunny, 40s at night, clear skies, stars and the milky way.

                                  Our limits were totally pushed on this trip, especially on the second day – we climbed up, over and down a moraine, being careful not to slip on the large rocks – this path got us to the 8000 year old glacier which we walked through after we ate our lunch and had glacier ice cream – it was great!

                                  Our group dynamics were perfect – everyone was similar in age, easy going and up for all the challenges. Our experienced guides Nick and Ryan were so much fun – very personable, patient, great leaders. It's evident they love what they do. They really worked well together, like brothers...and I have to say they were quite entertaining. Thanks guys, you made it a great trip! It was so hard saying goodbye!

                                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                  • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts, Trusted Outfitter
                                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                  • I knew Whistler was a beautiful place but wanted to experience it in the summer months and what better way than through the back country!
                                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                  • Definitely take the hike from base camp up to see the sunset (even if you're tired from hiking all day) – with the snowy mountains and the sun setting, it was so amazing – so peaceful. You HAVE to experience that when you are there.
                                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                  • Pack light - REI provided a few things on the pre-trip like trekking poles and snacks. Trust the guides, they are knowledgeable, considerate and very experienced. Be open to new challenges!

                                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                                   
                                  5.0

                                  it was all we expected and more !

                                  By D and B Trekkers

                                  from Santa Rosa, CA

                                  About Me Avid Adventurer

                                  Site Member

                                  Pros

                                  • Activity Level
                                  • Exceeded Expectations
                                  • Food
                                  • Guides

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                      Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

                                      Take only the essentials...it's a short trip.

                                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                      • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                                      • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                      • Beautiful location...lakes,snowfields,wildflowers and glaciers in August ...what more can you ask for!
                                      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                      • Scenery (vista's)and GREAT guides! The guides were patient, thoughtful, engaging and very experienced.
                                      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                      • Have your camera at the ready.
                                       
                                      5.0

                                      Great Trip

                                      By Will Lauer

                                      from Ann Arbor, Mi

                                      About Me Avid Adventurer

                                      Pros

                                      • Accommodations
                                      • Activity Level
                                      • Exceeded Expectations
                                      • Food
                                      • Guides
                                      • Well Organized Itinerary

                                      Cons

                                        Best Uses

                                          Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

                                          When I signed up for this trip I anticipated great vistas and magnificent glaciers. I was not disappointed in the least. What did surprise me though were not only the abilities of the guides but how much they themselves added to the trip. You would be hard-pressed to find two individuals that fundamentally enjoy their jobs more. This truly shows in their day to day demeanor. It is impossible to go on this trip and not fall in love with Whistler much like the guides have.

                                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                          • Destination, Good Value
                                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                          • There are few places in the world that you can easily get to that are as stunning and untouched.
                                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                          • Every mile you hiked you experianced more and more breathtaking views.
                                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                          • This is not a summer sleeping bag trip. It will get cold at night.
                                           
                                          5.0

                                          Awesome Trip

                                          By sofluna

                                          from San Diego, CA

                                          About Me Casual Adventurer

                                          Pros

                                          • Activity Level
                                          • Exceeded Expectations
                                          • Food
                                          • Guides
                                          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                                          • Quality Equipment Provided
                                          • Well Organized Itinerary

                                          Cons

                                            Best Uses

                                              Comments about REI Adventures Whistler Backpacking:

                                              It would have been nice to go with more people my age on this trip and to have more of a gender balance. I was the only female and about 10 years older than everyone but 1 person on the trip.

                                              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                              • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                                              • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                              • I wanted to experience the beauty of the Coastal Mountains and have never been to that part of Canada before
                                              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                              • The scenery was amazing - we backpacked through snow covered mountains, alpine lakes, meadows of wildflowers, glaciers, rivers, creeks, and more. The guides - Matt and Ryan - were fantastic. Very personable, accomodating, knowledgeable and couldn't do more for the group to ensure that everyone was comfortable, happy, and getting the most out of the experience.
                                              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                              • Get in good shape before you go - it's a moderate- stenuous backpack trip. We hiked 24 miles over 3 days and gained and lost a lot of elevation. And take a good camera because it is gorgeous up there.

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