Sky Pilot (5.2) is a rising star in BC mountaineering, this is largely due to the opening of the gondola in 2014 and the influx of ascents made in that year. This has come at a very heavy price, in the first summer the number of ascents of Sky Pilot outnumbered those of the previous decade. Amongst mountaineers and climbing literature, Sky Pilot had a reputation as a serious albeit 'easy' peak. Combining the mountains reputation with very easy access and an increase in popularity has lead to 2 tragic deaths on Sky Pilot in 2014. It cannot be emphasized enough, this mountain requires helmet, rope, crampons and ice axes and more importantly the proficiency to use this equipment on glacier and mountain terrain. This is not a hike and arguably is not even a scramble but should be treated as an alpine rock climb.
Take highway 99 from Vancouver and before entering Squamish pull out onto the Mamquam River Forest Service Road (2WD). Reset your odometer. Drive 3.8 km until fork and turn right onto Stawamus-Indian FSR. Continue straight until 4.9 km and you will cross the Stawamus River. Park here for low-clearance vehicles. Continue until 5.3 km at road fork and park here with high clearance. Follow the road for 4.5 km, the road forks to the left to reach the valley between SKy Pilot and Habrich. If you reach a bridge over Shannon Creek you are off route. Hike until the road ends at about 1225 m. Past this road there will be a gully which you continue 3/4 of the way up until the trial turns to the right through open forest. Continue on this trial until you reach a large rocky basin below the northwest face of Sky Pilot.
If you have cash to burn you can pay $32 a head and take the gondola up saving a few hours of hiking.
West Buttress 5.2
Cross the Stadium Glacier towards the west ridge of the mountain. Climb the Pink Slab (5.2, 50 m) to reach the talus field under grey cliffs. Continue scrambling up the ridge, bypassing the large tower on the south side to reach a chimney gully. On the tower summit, walk the ridge toward a second steep tower and then drop down right and traverse on the exposed south-east side. Continue on the this section until you reach a shallow gully which leads into the main gully up to the summit ramp. Descend the same route.
- Crossing the Stadium Glacier requires rope, axes and crampons. In late summer the glacier ices over and poor self-arrest technique can lead to fatal slips and falls
- Pink Slab has exposed sections of low 5th slab climbing
- The descent is more dangerous then the ascent of Sky Pilot and requires down-climbing over difficult 4th class terrain. The rock slicks over with even light precipitation and the exposure is severe. There is argument over whether the rap-bolts will remain in place or be chopped, be prepared and know how to build rappel anchors in case of emergency