103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia
by Jack Bryceland and Mary & David Macaree (Greystone Books)
© Jack Bryceland and Mary & David Macaree/Greystone Books. All Rights Reserved.
Russett Lake is a must do hike if you are in the Whistler area. Be mindful that it is a popular backpacking destination, but if you hit it on a weekday the lake and hut will most likely be exclusively yours. If the weather is good and you have an extra day, try scrambling Mt. Fissle. Mt. Fissle shoots up from the lake.
I started at the Singing Pass trailhead, which is hard to find, you must first hike up the left side of the mountain bike park. The trailhead begins at the big water tower. The hike to the lake is about nine miles and you gain about 4,200 vertical feet in the process. You don’t get any good views until Singing Pass (for spectacular views return via Musical Bumps). It isn’t tough, but is a steady climb; by mile nine it gets to you.
You can use the hut for storing food and cooking. I would not recommend sleeping in it, unless you like mice running around your head (not just one or two, but dozens). The weather turned on me and I slept in it for one night as to dry out my tent so I could make an early exit the next morning. I eventually moved to the table to sleep that way they couldn’t get near me. There are nails for storing your food out of the reach of the aggressive mice.
My return route went over what are called the Musical Bumps (approx 8.5 miles from lake to Roundhouse Lodge). I suggest going this way on the way back that way you can ride the gondola down to Whistler Village for free (if you begin going this way, you will be charged for riding the gondola up). This route gives you some incredible views of the peaks and glaciers surrounding Whistler/Blackcomb. Your trip will travel exclusively through alpine and sub alpine terrain.
Enjoy the trip, you can do it in one long day, but I would recommend making it at least an overnight trip or even a two night adventure so you can take in the scenery and relax. Each route took me about 4.5 hours to complete with a full pack.
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