Alpine Zone Glossary of Hiking Terms
Alpine Zone or Alpine Tundra: the area above the treeline, often characterized by stunted, sparse forests of krummholz and pristine, turquoise lakes. The Sproatt Alpine is an excellent example of an alpine zone in Whistler. Dozens of alpine lakes, rugged and rocky terrain and hardy krummholz trees everywhere you look. The hostile, cold and windy climate in the alpine zones around Whistler make tree growth difficult. Added to that, the alpine areas are snow covered the majority of the year. Other good places to explore alpine zones in Whistler are Wedgemount Lake, Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler Mountain, Black Tusk and Callaghan Lake. Click the image below to see an aerial video of the incredible alpine zone around Russet Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Click the image below to see and aerial video of the beautiful alpine zone that encompasses Wedgemount Lake. Located within sight of Whistler Village, Wedge Mountain is the highest mountain in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Just a relatively short, 7 kilometre hike takes you to this mountain paradise of impossibly turquoise water and jagged mountain peaks all around. The shortness of the hike to Wedgemount Lake lulls hikers into thinking it is an easy trail. The elevation gain, however is a staggering 1220 metres in this short distance. If you are very fit and unburdened with a heavy backpack, you may get to the lake in 1.5 hours. If you are carrying gear, however, you can easily double this time.
The Wedgemount Lake trail is easy to follow and well marked, but it follows a constant and unrelenting, steep ascent to the end. If you pack light, you will often pass a few hikers who didn't. The tough trail makes arriving at this paradise in the mountains very rewarding and shows you a great example of an alpine zone in Whistler. Another beautiful alpine paradise in Whistler is Mount Sproatt. The recently built Sproatt Alpine Trail stretches from one side of Mount Sproatt to the other.
Mount Sproatt, or as it is known locally as simply "Sproatt", is one of the many towering mountains visible from Whistler Village. Above and beyond Alta Lake, directly across from Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. Next time you walk through Whistler Village and cross the pedestrian bridge (with Village Gate Boulevard below you), you will see Mount Sproatt in the distance. It is the rocky giant, abruptly steep on one end and gently sloping on the other. At its summit you may be able to make out the small weather recording structure.
What you can't see from Whistler Village is the extraordinarily beautiful alpine paradise that lays beyond it. Lakes and tarns everywhere you look. Fields of alpine flowers and wonderfully mangled, yet strikingly beautiful forests of krummholz. Hostile looking fields of boulders and absurdly placed erratics the size of RV's. Beyond, of course, endless stunning view of distant, snowy mountains.
Glossary of Hiking Terms Whistler Hiking Trails