Distance (Round Trip): 10 km
Elevation Gain: 380 m
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Location: Squamish / Sea To Sky Gondola
Sky Pilot Valley Trail is an easy to moderate hike through the woods to Stadium Glacier which is situated below the infamous Sky Pilot Mountain. It’s possible to go further and summit Sky Pilot but that’s a whole other level of hiking. You really need the proper mountaineering gear and knowledge to do it successfully.
My friend, Judith, and I were only brave enough to hike to Stadium Glacier after hearing about the dreaded “pink slab” and about the climbers who died navigating it and the glacier years ago. So instead we spent the day enjoying nature and the gorgeous scenery.
This hike begins at the top of the amazing Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. It’s worth going up even if you don’t have a back country hike planned. There are some lovely walking loops and places to sit where you can take in the amazing views.
Plus you can enjoy a meal and take a walk on the suspension bridge.
If you do decide to hike, it’s well worth it. Not only is the scenery stunning, but you can feel darn good about sinking your teeth into a well-deserved juicy burger and washing it down with an ice-cold beer when you get back! What’s even better is the view of Sky Pilot and the fjord below while you enjoy it. Now doesn’t that sound heavenly?
Before you begin, you will notice signs warning that you are indeed entering the back country. So, make sure you’re prepared with a pack full of water, food, and a first aid kit should anything go wrong. It’s rugged terrain so wear good hiking boots and bring poles. Bring bear spray too just in case.
You’ll see Al’s Habrich Mountain behind you as you navigate towards Stadium Glacier.
The terrain is fairly rugged and gets steep and rocky the closer you get to the glacier.
Stadium Glacier doesn’t look like a typical glacier (below) from this angle but it most certainly is and the further into the summer that you traverse it, the more dangerous it becomes. The hot sun melts away the snow layer revealing hard slippery ice and if you’re not prepared with crampons and an ice axe, you can get into real trouble. This is where a mountaineer died years ago.
You can see below that some hikers are navigating the glacier. It’s difficult to tell if they’re wearing crampons or using ice axes. Perhaps a couple of them are. They all made it down without incident.
This is as far as we got this time round. It was certainly well worth it for the views alone and the peace of being out in the back country, plus you’re so close to that juicy burger and ice-cold beer at the gondola! Bliss!