Log in

Callaghan Lake Region

I received a communication from the 
Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC
 that Madeley Lake road is blocked by Whistler Olympic Park a few hundred metres after it leaves the Callaghan Lake Road.
This means there isn’t any driving access to Madeley Lake or the Rainbow-Madeley trailhead about 5 km from the start of the FSR.
The accompanying map shows the commercial tenure of Whistler Olympic Park. The FSR down the centre of the photo is the Madeley Lake FSR. For some reason, the government map identifies the lake at the end of the FSR as Powell Lake but it seems to be known locally as Madeley Lake. The Rainbow-Madeley trailhead is about 600 meters south of Madeley Lake.

HikeInWhistler.com reports on its website: This year Whistler Sport Legacies and Whistler Photo Safaris have blocked public access to Madeley Lake. Whistler Photo Safaris now refers to Madeley Lake as "within our 2700 acre gated bear habitat." This new gate installed in the spring of 2020 was a surprise to those of us who love this amazing lake and hike the decades old, popular Madeley to Hanging Lake trail which connects to Rainbow Lakewhich descends down the Rainbow Trail to Alta Lake Road in Whistler. Hopefully this gate will be gone soon as apparently everyone, including the Resort Municipality of Whistler were unaware of it until recently. Blocking public access to what was recently public land in order to allow a private company to profit off it as an expensive pay access safari park seems like a bad idea.

Callaghan Country has two trails that are pay for use in winter. They are the groomed trails (one is the service road and the other is the FSR). If you don't use the groomed trails you can wander anywhere in the tenure without paying a fee. I spoke with FLNRORD about building a new, free public trail. They would support it.
We used to ski up the FSR for free. Then the snowmobilers got kicked out and CC stabbed its supporters in the backcountry community in the back by making them pay to use the FSR.
Original Backcountry BC User Question: 

"I could use some clarity on public access to tenure/lease sites. My understanding is that when a commercial operator obtains a lease to build, say a lodge, they obtain the right to: modify the land and/or construct improvements specified in the grant of tenure, and enjoy exclusive use of the area. My understanding is that generally, the area of the tenure/lease is no larger than required for improvements.
In the case of a very large tenure, such as the Callaghan Valley tenure, is this entire area restricted to the public? Even you want to ski and access the area without using the trails created by the the tenure holder? In the case of Callaghan Valley, there is a public admission fee. But what about other lease areas that do not offer that option? And what about heli-ski tenures?
Ultimately, how does one find out which areas are restricted to the public? I'm currently using iMapBC but it's not incredibly intuitive.
Any feedback is appreciated!"

The intent behind a FOI request I made was to research a surprise I found while hiking near Hidden Peak on 20190728. I found a heli landing pad marker stake is on the flat patch at 50.21577, -123.23189. This appears to be just inside the Park boundary. Based on the FOI results, two heli operators are permitted to operate inside the Conservancy, but not the Park. It is likely that this stake belongs to one of these two companies. It is therefore possible that one (or both) of these companies may be operating outside the permitted scope of acceptable landing zones.

It may also be worth noting that I know of a landing zone which is occasionally used at 50.22454, -123.24249. I have heard of this landing zone referred to as "Borderline Landing". The "Borderline Landing" is on the border of the Callaghan Conservancy and unallocated Crown land; but is a modest 35m outside of the Park.

Callaghan heliski operator names/licence numbers

Landing pad stake 


The ACC-Whistler provided the following update regarding the current understanding for backcountry access through Whistler Olympic Park.

If you are entering WOP during open hours the access fee is per vehicle not per person. If one of the people in the vehicle has a WOP/Ski Callaghan season’s pass there isn’t an entry fee.

The Alexander Falls parking is “really for” ski tourers returning through WOP after hours or for people going overnight. It was not designed for early access prior to WOP opening. However, unofficially people do use it for backcountry access before WOP opens. There isn’t a fee in that case.

During much of the ski season WOP is open until 9 PM on Wednesdays and some Friday nights. This is clearly the best time to go if those days work for you.

If you park in WOP you need the dashboard info sheet displayed in case of emergency. Even at Alexander Falls this would be useful if your vehicle is there after dark.

It should be noted that the Solitude Glacier area is not accessible by the “public” unless you buy a cross country pass from Callaghan Country (Brad Sills). It is primarily used by guides and guests doing trips from the Journeyman Lodge. The access from the Powdercap requires crossing of a motorized snowmobile accessible zone. There should be a BAC required on the side of the provincial Callaghan Lake road which is how this area has traditionally been accessed and still is once Callaghan Country is closed after April 18th. Guides and guests also have the option of having themselves or their gear being transported through the “non motorized zone” to the lodge by snowcat or snowmobile via the Callaghan Lake road. The non motorized and non commercial status of this area remains very questionable and the section 58 was designed specifically for Callaghan Country as you can see on the map below.

snowcatwild backcountry terrain

solstice in the wildernessovernight relaxation


Clear here to download map below: Solitude Glacier Map

solitude glacier