Sky Pilot Mountain

Friday
  • 6:30 PM - Alexis back in Bellevue
  • 7:00 PM - Drive to Squamish (3:10 - 4 hr drive)
  • 11:00 PM - Arrive at campground, camp
Saturday
  • Climbing class
Sunday
  • Climbing class
  • 7:00 PM - Drive to Sky Pilot trailhead
  • 8:00 PM - Car camp at trailhead on FSR
    • Gate closure on Shannon Creek FSR at 49.6791, -123.1220
Monday (sunrise is 5:15)
  • 7:30 AM – Start hiking to lodge (0.7 miles road with 400 ft gain) 
  • 8:00 AM – Lodge, continue hiking (1.2 miles mostly flat/road) 
  • 8:30 AM – Habrich spur, continue hiking (1.8 miles hiking, 1,100 ft gain) 
  • 10:00 AM – End of valley, continue hiking (1 mile bushwacking, 1,700 ft gain) 
  • 11:30 PM – Base of glacier, rope up 
  • 12:00 PM – Roped up, climb to ridge (0.2 mile on glacier, 500 ft gain) 
  • 12:30 PM – Ridge, remove glacier gear 
  • 1:00 PM – Scramble to top (0.4 miles scrambling, 600 ft gain) 
  • 2:00 PM – Summitted! 
  • 2:30 PM - Rappel/scramble back down to ridge 
  • 3:30 PM – Back at ridge, rope up for glacier 
  • 3:45 PM – Roped up, go down glacier 
  • 4:00 PM – Bottom of glacier 
  • 4:15 PM – Unrope, hike down to valley (1.8 miles down 1,100 ft) 
  • 5:00 PM – Hike valley back to lodge (3 miles bushwacking then road down 1,100 ft) 
  • 6:15 PM – Lodge, continue back to car (0.7 miles road down 400 ft) 
  • 6:35 PM – Back at car 
  • 6:45 PM – Drive home (3:10 – 3:50 hr drive from Squamish, so at least 4 hr with dirt road) 
  • 10:45 PM – Home
Dirt road travel time: Max 30 mins each way
  • 10 mins from Squamish to reach start of dirt road
  • 2.8 miles on Shannon Creek FSR (9 mins)
FSR instead of Gondola adds total of: Max 1.5 hrs (probably only 1 hr realistically)
  • Max 1 hr extra driving RT
  • Max 1 hr extra hiking RT
  • Minus 30 mins of time that would have been spent on Gondola RT

Map

Links

Trip stats

  • Total of 10.4 miles with 4,400 ft gain
  • (Or if taking Gondola, 9 miles with 4,000 ft gain)
  • Estimated 11 hours car-to-car

Fallback hikes

If the road is closed, we might take the gondola. We also might instead do Cypress Peak, or throw in Copilot with Sky Pilot, or do Mt Habrich (either the scramble route or the actual climbing pitch route)

Approach

Hike the Sky Pilot Valley Trail to its end below where Sky Pilot finally starts to climb.

Getting to the ridge

Hike up to Stadium Glacier.


Cross Stadium Glacier towards the west ridge of the mountain.


Now you've reached the west ridge.


Ridge scramble

Climb the Pink Slab (4th class/low 5th, 50 m) to reach the talus field under gray cliffs.


Continue scrambling up the ridge, bypassing the large tower on the south (right) side to reach a chimney gully.


On the tower summit, walk the ridge toward a second steep tower and then drop down right and traverse on the exposed south-east side.


Continue on this section until you reach a shallow gully which leads into the main gully up to the summit ramp. Descend the same route.


Following the 2014 incidents, rappel rings have been installed above both the Pink Slab and the summit itself. Note, however, that they may or may not still be there when you go up there.

Parties should seriously consider bringing appropriate equipment and having the necessary experience to rappel the challenging and exposed slab on descent. It is also important to understand the less-obvious risks associated with steep snow slopes and glacier crossings, which have to be negotiated before gaining, and after descending from, the West Ridge.

There's some controversy about what grade the climbing part of this route should be. Alpine Select calls it 4th class. Some online sources call it low 5th. No matter the precise grade, this controversy should highlight that the climbing section is involved. Previous rock climbing experience does definitely come in handy. The footholds are good, but not particularly large. The descent is more difficult and more scary than the ascent. If at all unsure about your ability to downclimb, a rope should be used to rappel the pink slab.

Gear

  • Ice axe
  • Maybe crampons? Maybe just spikes? Glacier climbs 500 ft in 0.2 miles, so it's steep and it's on north side of mountain so sun might not totally reach there
  • One hex nut (or a few) with quickdraw for protecting scramble up
  • Slings for building rap anchor
  • 60m rope
  • Belay/rappel gear