The trip out to Beverley Lake, in British Columbia, Canada, was something I had been meaning to do for a long time. Life just seemed to be passing me by so after too many weekends of poor excuses, I finally shouldered my pack and walked out the front door. I had originally planned to do it solo but shortly into the hike, I ran into a guy who was headed the same way. Dan had just come from Russet Lake, which sits at the base of Fissile Peak on the other side of the valley.
The route to Beverley Lake starts on the west side of the Whistler valley and begins on the Rainbow Lake trail. After a mildly strenuous 7km hike through the forest, following 21 Mile Creek, we arrived at Rainbow Lake – a small alpine lake that is Whistler’s primary water source. Pets, bikes and swimming are all banned here because whatever you dunk in the lake ends up in Whistler taps.

Skirting along the shoreline of the lake brings you to a fork in the trail. Heading left takes you to the more accessible Hanging Lake, and right heads in the direction of Beverley Lake. The marked trail to Beverley ends shortly after and in the interest of preserving its wilderness, this is also where my directions end.

Cresting the ridge that overlooks Beverley, you are greeted with one of Whistler’s most pristine secluded lakes. As with all the glacial lakes in the area, the water emits a radiant blue, although Beverley is far darker than the rest. To the right, the glacier tributaries trickle down a towering slope into the lake; making far more noise than you would expect from a waterfall so small. To the left, the mountains stretch on forever into the sunset haze.

Descending to the base of the lake we were surprised to find not one, but two other groups that had already set up camp. Despite the company, and being so close to civilisation (mobile reception is readily available for most of the hike), it was hard not to feel isolated. After wolfing down a gourmet selection of dehydrated meals, we tucked in for the night. Sleep was not the easy to find following the discovery of a particularly large and fairly fresh set of bear tracks no more than fifty metres from our campsite.

We scrambled through a series of gullies made up of loose rock and scree, navigating a very exposed, steep ridge to finally wind up through a short, narrow chimney to the final section, to reach the summit of Rainbow Mountain. From the valley, Rainbow Mountain looks largely unimpressive, but the view from the top paints a completely different picture. The mountain itself consists of five or six peaks spread out in every direction, all separated by a mighty glacier.
Hiking back down from the summit to the valley is a leg-burning endeavour that makes your knees feel like they are going to explode. After four hours of whinging and complaining we reached the bottom where there was only one thing left to do; put our feet up and crack open a cold beer.

Images and words by Cam Kelsey

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