Watersprite lake is a lesser know sub-alpine glacial lake directly south of Garibaldi Provincial park and Mamquam peak. This area was once considered for a BCMC backcountry hut, but was put on the back burner. Rumours have it that it is now back up for consideration with the improved access from the Skookum creek power project and their service road that leads up skookum creek itself. Martin Peak is the backdrop to the south of Watersprite lake and forms a talus filled bowl terminating at an 1800 m knoll on the west side and the Watersprite Tower to the North.
This is an incredibly beautiful area and the absence of crowds (I had the whole area to myself) is a big draw especially with the proximity and relative ease of access from Squamish and Vancouver. The most popular trail in BC (Elfin Lakes) was visible across the valley.
The approach is made from the staging area and vent stack from the Penstock pipes for the Skookum creek power project. BCMC has erected a sign stating no Motorized use at this point. From the parking lot to the lake can be made in 2hrs flat, or less with a mountain bike (recommended). The first 5 km or so are on a logging road grade and then drops down into a small ditch drainage near the end of the road into a subalpine swampy meadow where the trail begins at around 1200 m elevation. You meander through the meadow along a muddy track until you get near the end of the lower valley and ascend talus slopes and steep forest loam.
Lower meadow when you first leave the road.
Further up the valley into the very serene area. Beautiful. I was hoping to see some bears in the meadow, but there were none that I ran into that day.
You immediately pop out by the turquoise Watersprite lake and a back drop with the North side of the Watersprite tower (not a true tower, more or an abutment off the main ridge forming the upper bowl.
There was no beta or trip reports that I could find for the area above the lake. Martin Peak (1877 m) was the most prominent summit in the area so I decided that would make a nice objective. There was a small rounded, unnamed knoll (1800 m)to the west that I decided to climb first and then traverse over an tackle Martin Peak. From the west, Martin peak has some pretty sporty lines and my first couple attempts stopped short of risky moves on uneven, loose footing, perhaps with a partner or a belay would make it easier, but on solo mission I decided to play it safe and find a route with better rock.
Easy never ramp leading to up near the summit, but ended in a very loose gravel filled chute that fell away to the bowl below.
Fun Scrambly boulders made as steep or exposed as you want leading up to the summit ridge.
I dropped down bit in elevation and traversed under the main summit precipice that faced the lake and gained the NE ridge that lead to the summit. This was a choose your own adventure with some really excellent scramble boulder problems that were mostly optional depending on your level of confidence. I picked a sporty line to the summit but you could ascend a moderate route to the summit approach if you take the time to route find. There are no cairns, markers or footsteps visible on this route because of the very small number of people that visit this are–so far. It is getting more popular.
Standing on the small pinnacle about 20 m below the true summit not visible in this angle.
Picture of paradise taken from just below the summit to get a better angle on the most emerald green lake that I have ever seen (looking south).
Down from the summit with Watersprite lake, Garibaldi, The Black Tusk and Little Diamond Head all visible.
The very impressive Mt Mamquam. Winter objective for some great ski Mountaineering.
Total route stats including my detours were:
- 20.5 km
- 1367 m elevation gain
- 5 hr 30 min total moving time.
- **1/2 very fun and beautiful area. Plan an overnight at the lake and explore the whole alpine area the next day for more time.
The Lions, Brunswick Mountain, Sky Pilot, Co-Pilot, Mt Habrich, Anif and Alpen peaks all visible. with some BC enhanced viewscape in the foreground.