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 Hiking

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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 and The Fissile

Peak2Peak Gondola 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.

Overlord Glacier and The Fissile

The Fissile in Garibaldi Park

Russet Lake and The Fissile

Overlord from Blackcomb Mountain

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.  

Fissility

Russet Lake Map v20

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.

The Peak 2 Peak Gondola connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain at a dizzying height of 436 metres(1427 feet).  It runs all winter and in the ...
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Columnar Jointing: bizarre looking columns of oddly angular rock formations that can be found in many places around Whistler and worldwide.  Generally ...
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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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Moraines are glacially deposited ridges of debris that accumulate at the sides or terminus of a glacier.  Lateral moraines form at the sides of glaciers ...
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Bushwhack is a term often used in Canada and the United States to refer to hiking off-trail where no trail exists.  Literally means 'bush' and 'whack'.  To ...
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Whistler spruce is a hybrid of the Sitka spruce and the interior Engelmann spruce. Sitka spruce trees thrive in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest ...
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Adjacent to the huge Caterpillar tractor in Parkhurst is a large disintegrating wooden dock that is a great place to take in the wonderful view of Green ...
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Accumulation Zone: the area where snow accumulations exceeds melt, located above the firn line.  Snowfall accumulates faster than melting, evaporation and ...
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There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
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February is a great month for snowshoeing in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect ...
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In the(usually) deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options.  If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have ...
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April in Whistler is a wonderful time of year.  The winter deep freeze ends and T-shirt weather erupts.  The village comes alive with overflowing patios and ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

Russet Lake is a surreal little paradise that lays at the base of The Fissile, in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Fissile is the strikingly bronze mountain visible from Whistler Village.  From the Village ...
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Jane Lakes are a very remote feeling set of lakes in the beautiful wilderness near Cheakamus Crossing.  Consisting of three lakes, West Jane Lake, East Jane Lake and Little Jane Lake, they have a great ...
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Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a gorgeous park with extraordinarily coloured lakes, waterfalls, stunning mountain peaks and ominous glaciers pouring into the valley.  Joffre Lakes is one of those incredible ...
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Meager Hot Springs(aka: Meager Creek Hot Springs) is located 93 kilometres northwest of Whistler, was beautifully developed into gorgeous pools, with a caretaker and usage charge.  At its height of ...
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