Mount Sproatt

November 16, 2021


Whistler, BC

Mt. Sproatt is a popular winter objective in the Sea to Sky Corridor that does not need much of introduction. The road access is paved and the approach is on a trail. One does have to make some cross-country travel to reach the alpine, but the route is generally straightforward when the thick snowpack covers the ground unevenness. Mid-November is still in this so-called “shoulder season”, and although the alpine has already turned into a world of white, the snowpack in the lower zones are far from sufficient. Holly, Andrew, Ben, Elise and I decided to check out this area in this time frame and earlier in the day we had ascended “Tonic Peak” nearby. These two peaks make an ideal twofer outing.

Tonic Peak and Mt. Sproatt via Rainbow Lake Trail. GPX DL

The terrain at Tonic/Sproatt col had lots of micro-terrain. At times we had to search for a not-so-steep line to work around some bluffs but most of the time we were able to ascend/descend in a straight manner. From the lowest point at the col we ascended the west slopes of Mt. Sproatt more or less straight-up, overcoming a few steep rolls including one tricky bluff much higher up near the summit. I knew there must have a bypass option somewhere hidden from view, but the direct attack looked feasible and fun. It turned out that we had to do a few 3rd class moves with snowshoes on. The summit was not where it’s labelled on Gaia map, but rather to the south of the spot. Just like many other peaks in BC there’s one green dildo erected on the very summit obscuring our panoramic views.

Ben with the broad slopes of Mt. Sproatt ahead
Holly on the undulating terrain near Tonic/Sproatt col
Descending a steep roll. Could have easily bypassed around though
Looking down into the valley that we plodded up from
Ben ascending a steep roll on Mt. Sproatt’s west slope
The pristine terrain on Mt. Sproatt. Now I understand why skiers love this peak…
Holly and Andrew plodding up with Tonic Peak behind
I chose to ascend this bluff directly for fun
Ben scrambling up the steep step
Above that bluff we were very close to the summit
Elise above the bluff now
Elise traversing the summit ridge with Rainbow Mountain behind
Daisy Lake to the south
That ugly green dildo on the summit of Mt. Sproatt
Partial Summit Panorama from Mt. Sproatt. Click to view large size.
Partial Summit Panorama from Mt. Sproatt. Click to view large size.
Whistler Mountain across the Sea to Sky Highway
Holly approaching the summit of Mt. Sproatt
The ski runs on Blackcomb Peak and Phalanx Mountain
Green Lake just to the north of Whistler Village
The summit structure and the late afternoon sun
The frost scenery on the summit showed that it stayed well below freezing all day
The skiers were showing up…
Mt. Weart started to show up behind the clouds
Me on the summit of Mt. Sproatt
Our group shot on the summit of Mt. Sproatt

A massive group of skiers made the summit about half an hour later so we left once they showed up. We talked about a few descent options but decided to mostly retrace our own steps especially for the lower zones. We all down-climbed that 3rd class bluff for fun. We could have easily descended the skier’s skin tracks to avoid that bluff, but we chose not to. After the bluff I led the group down a direct route to descend into the valley below Sproatt/Tonic col. This section had mostly easy terrain although the crusty snow made for some treacherous travel. Once joining our own snowshoe tracks we mostly just followed the track out, with only one variation at the bottom of a steep section. The few stretches of elevation regain felt tiring and the plod out of that hanging valley was also tedious. Not long after getting back to the trail we had to pull the head-lamps out and the final hour was descended in the dark.

Down-climbing that tricky bluff
A close-up shot of Rainbow Mountain
Descending the direct route back into the valley
One of the more treacherous sections in the valley
We were losing daylight rapidly
Andrew down-climbing that last steep step not far from the trail
Plodding out Rainbow Lake Trail in the dark

Our round trip time was about 9 hours which was a bit slower than expected. We did move steadily throughout the day, but the snow conditions were overall challenging at this time of a year. Holly again, did an excellent job driving us back into Vancouver. Overall I would agree with the classic status of this peak, but deep winter or early spring with a thicker snowpack definitely offers the easier conditions.