Experiencing the Extraordinary on the Whistler Ice Cap
The world is filled with things to see, and I've been incredibly fortunate to have seen some truly unique sights, but exploring the Whistler Ice Cap is by far one of the best things I've ever done. The Ice Cap is an immense icefield that stretches 300 kilometers over a series of jagged volcanic peaks in the Southern Coast Range of British Columbia, just on the doorstep of Whistler Blackcomb. It's accessible only with Head-Line Mountain Holidays, an experience-based, luxury tour operator that I can't recommend highly enough.
Our day started after lifting off from the Whistler helipad to fly to the Ice Cap and our flight path took us directly over Canada’s southernmost ice fields. The ride itself was stunning, just an evolving landscape of ice, snow and rocks.
Once we landed, it feels like you're on Mars. The terrain is so vast and is so unlike anything else I've ever experienced that it was a little overwhelming. We were officially North of the Wall at this point. Our guides gave us a thorough safety briefing and before I knew it, we were exploring the depths of the cave. Vibrant shades of blue were revealed on the ceiling and walls and the sunlight shining through the ice made the entire cave look like an exotic kaleidoscope. Never have I experienced natural beauty this astounding. There were icicles stretching from floor to ceiling like columns and broad channels carved by glacial waters curved and converged at various depths, filtering exterior light into rich shades of blue and purple.
We were in the cave for hours and it felt like we barely scratched the surface of all there was to explore. Climbing out felt like re-entering the universe and because Head-Line is amazing, we emerged to find the chic, on-mountain picnic of my dreams. Not only was our lunch delicious, it was stunning and the views weren't too bad either.
Run, don't walk, to the Whistler Ice Cap. The slow-moving but ever-changing characteristics of the glacial shaft – called a moulin, the French word for “mill” – create a kind of frozen wonderland that is rarely seen by humans. It is so unbelievably special and needs to jump to the top of everyone's bucket list.
Any images not my own are courtesy of Marc Dionne and Justa Jeskova of Head-Line Mountain Holidays.