Brian Waddington Hut

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Brian Waddington Hut
Brian Waddington Hut (August 2007).jpg
Brian Waddington Hut (August 2007)
Overnight Capacity 24
Coordinates
Elevation 1715m
Fee $10 / night (PAY ONLINE HERE)
Reservations No
Locked No
Access Phelix Creek Trail and Phelix Creek FSR
Built 1998
Caretaker Varsity Outdoor Club

The Brian Waddington Hut (commonly referred to as Phelix Hut) erected in the Summer of 1998. You'll find it in Phelix Creek on the shores of Long Lake, near the peaks of Mt. Aragorn, Shadowfax, Gandalf and Peregrine. Access via Pemberton, is a 10km hike with 1,000m of elevation gain.

History

The hut was erected in the Summer of 1998. The structure was donated by the worker's compensation board as part of their retraining program for injured workers. The VOC paid helicopter costs to fly the cabin in to the site. The frame of the cabin was prebuilt, flown in 3 pieces and then assembled on site. A detailed account of the building of the hut can be found in the cabin logbook, and in the VOC Journal 1998.

The Brian Waddington Hut is within the LRMP special zoning, RA1-A (non-motorized, with air access), the VOC would have preferred RA1 (no air access), given that a fit party can easily reach the hut on skis in 1 day with enough time left over to still get a few runs. A (reasonably) detailed map of the area showing zoning can be found here. Further details can be found as part of the Winter Recreation zoning near VOC huts.

In 2007, a new trail was built up the west side of Phelix Creek. This new trail eliminated the two creek crossings and combined the winter and summer access routes into a single trail. Unlike the previous trail, this one is formally approved by the provincial government.

Fees and Current Condition

No reservations are taken, but please see the VOC Hut Registration page to help coordinate use.
For the most up to date information on the Hut see the Bulletins on the Hut Registration Page.


VOC huts are open to all non-motorized users. A $10 per person per night fee applies to pay for hut maintenance. The fee can be sent in to the VOC via our Showpass Donation Page or can be left at the hut in the blue drop box. If neither of these work, you can send it to the VOC by mail. VOC trips have priority during fall and winter holidays (New Years, Reading Week, Easter) so please contact the VOC before planning a trip during this time. Commercial groups are requested to contact the VOC before using any of the huts. There is a lost and found page for items in and around the VOC huts. Note that this is a bear-active area. Follow the proper bear aware procedures when hiking in this area.

Bear Activity

On the advice of a local biologist, this area is prime feeding for grizzly and black bears during the late summer - August 15th through October 15th. Although use is not prohibited during this time, it is discouraged as it may be a disruption to the bear feeding activities.

From Blair Hammond, one of the VOCers who got the hut project started in the first place:

The impetus for the voluntary closure is that the area has traditionally been important for grizzly and that there had been some history of conflicts with grizzly in the area (involving back-country recreationists). Members of the hut committee did not want to be complicit in facilitating bear-human conflicts or in displacing grizzly from habitat important to them. MOF, who approved the huts location, were quite pleased at the time that we would be giving this kind of consideration, and whilst it was not a condition of the permit, it was appreciated and a good way to build the relationship.

Commercial Snowmobiling

See the land use issues page for information about an application for commercial snowmobiling operations in Phelix Creek.

Access

Main article: Phelix Creek Trail
Main article: Phelix Creek FSR

The hut is accessed via the Phelix Creek Trail and the Phelix Creek FSR.

Facilities

The information on this page is just a snapshot. See the Hut Inventory Page for complete information on tools and materials at the Hut

Heating Coleman Catalytic "Quick-Lite Heater"

Solar Powered Air Heater

Lighting Coleman White Gas Lantern ("220F"): 2 light meshes at Hut

Coleman White Gas Lantern ("Peak 1 EASI-LITE"): 0 light meshes at Hut
Several Candles

Cooking Propane Coleman Stove

Propane Coleman Griddle
Charcoal Barbeque ("Rankam")
Stovetop espresso maker, 4-6 cups
A percolator? (for brewing coffee)

Fire Safety Two Fire Extinguisher (Both Replaced in 2015)
First Aid
Sleeping Open floor loft. No pads.
Capacity 24 persons
Drinking water Creek to the South West of the Hut (boil or filter). Fresh water bucket in Hut.
Human Waste Outhouse
Greywater North East Side of the Hut. Grey water bucket in Hut
Garbage Pack it out


The Brian Waddington Hut sleeps 24 people in relative comfort in the loft, and more in a pinch. There is an outhouse not far off behind the hut. Water can be collected from a nearby stream, even in winter. Unlike most huts in the coast mountains, this one is insulated and has a vapor barrier. This means that the upstairs windows may need to be opened to let moisture and stove fumes escape. We are gradually replacing all our white gas burners with propane burners, as they are simpler to use and less likely to cause hut fires and deplete our fire extinguishers. We do not supply fuel; you will have to haul in your own fuel.

Cooking and Water

The Propane Coleman Stoves use one pound propane cylinders which you must provide. Previously we had 2 ea Coleman double burner stoves, model 421-D Both worked, but were somewhat fussy and keep causing the Hut to almost go up in flames. These have been taken away and a Coleman stove burning propane in 1 lb cylinders has been installed. Feel free to use any partially empty cylinders that may happen to be up there. Bring your own cylinder(s) if you need to use the stove. VOC does not supply cylinders. Please bring down any empty cylinders. For cooking supplies, there is heavy fry pan, one big pot and a variety of other dishes, spoons, knives and forks. Plan on bringing you own however. There are buckets for "clean" water and grey water but we cannot guarantee that you won't get deathly ill if you use these buckets for drinking water. The blue bucket had a dead mouse in it in May 2007. There are mice in this Hut! Hang up your food or use the long thin cupboards that are up higher than the countertop (the mice can't get in these ones). The mice have been known to be tightrope artists so beware that even if your food is hanging up in the Hut, it might not be safe.

Heating and Lighting

The Hut does not have any heating, and does not expect to have any soon. This issue has been brought up repeatedly but various reasons speak against the installation of some kind of heater (the archive discusses this in detail). The best way to have a cozy cabin is still to bring a lot of friends (25 should do) and everyone's body heat will warm up the hut quite effectively. As of Dec 2014, and as currently as March 2017, there are two working Coleman lanterns at the Hut that burn white gas.

Outhouse

The location and type of outhouse has gone through a number of iterations over the years. In its current form, the outhouse sits on a pedestal above the ground. It was built this way because it was originally intended to be a compositing toilet. It was quickly discovered however that the ground for some strange reason was frozen 8 months of the years and too cold to culture the bacteria's needed to accelerate decomposition. The organic material added to the outhouse just ended up filling the pit up faster. Soon after a discussion turned to digging a new pit and where they would move the outhouse to. An ambitious VOCer in biology set out to determine the soil toxicology around the outhouse to determine if the current pit was leeching bad things into the lake. He brought samples all the way back to his lab but was told by his lab supervisor that the samples had to be fresh; aka. anything that would have been in the samples had since died. So the outhouse was moved to a spot that a bunch of VOCers estimated would be far enough away from the lake for proper filtration, close enough to the Hut for convenience, and far enough away from the drinking water creek.

Games and Music

  • There is an old steel string guitar at the hut that was originally donated by Dan Perrakis.
  • Many decks of cards, at least one of which is complete.
  • Matterhorn puzzle, some pieces missing

Library

A small library is provided for the enjoyment of hut users:

  • VOC Journals: List of VOC Journals at this Hut
  • VOC Songbook (3 new, 1 old)
  • Lord of the Rings (3 volumes)
  • Without Feathers by Woody Allen
  • Heavenly Breakfast by Samuel R Delany
  • The Cave by Jose Saramagio
  • Various printouts and photocopies of info on peaks in the area, from Bivouac, Fairley and Matt Gunn guidebooks.

Activities

Phelix offers activities for all seasons. Please note the use of the Brian Waddington Hut is discouraged from August 15 - October 15 every year, since there is bear activity at that time of the year.

Winter

Skiing

Cabin Hill from the northwest
NW Knob from Cabin Hill
"Return of the King" as seen from the base of Cabin Hill
Avalanche serious.gif Avalanche Hazard
The route and terrain described here is capable of producing avalanches. Safe travel requires the skills and equipment to assess and mitigate avalanche hazards. A professionally taught training course is highly recommended.

The Brian Waddington Hut is on the eastern (interior) side of the Coast Range, and consequently snow quality is usually very good. The hut is a great base for yo-yoing and touring, surrounded by good slopes on all aspects. There is excellent tree skiing nearby as well, so bad weather won't mean you have to sit around in the hut all day. The skiing is not beginner friendly. This is not the place to learn. At the very least, you should be comfortable with blue runs and powder snow to get the most enjoyment out of the terrain in the area.

Bunny Hill
Across the creek to the SW of the hut is gentle area with nice easy meadows for skiing. However the runs are very short. Don't go too far south or you end up in serious avalanche terrain in the bowl below Return of the King
Cabin Hill
The low knoll (1938m) above the SE end of the lake arguably offers some of the best bad weather skiing around the hut. While the northwest slopes facing the cabin are quite steep and open (and thus prone to avalanches), the northeast side offers gentler, safer gladed tree skiing. For the same reasons, the northeast side is also the preferred line of ascent. There is also very good skiing in the large bowl off the back (southeast) side of Cabin Hill. Skier's left side of this bowl (close to Cabin Hill) is steep trees whereas the skier's right side is wide open. Good tree skiing continues well down into the forest below the bowl, eventually linking up with the marked trail to the hut.
Northwest Knob
The 2050m summit immediately above the cabin has some amazing steep tree skiing on south facing slopes. The best route up is to climb west towards Mt. Gandalf until you break out of the trees, then turn back east through meadows to reach the top of the knob. This route shares much of the uptrack with the usual approach to the Aragorn Glacier (see below). Climbing the knob directly from the hut is possible, but is not recommended. The recommended route is much faster as it does not demand as many tedious switchbacks up through steep trees, and it breaks into the alpine at a lower elevation. Be careful skiing off the top of the knob, as the side that faces the cabin has a large cliff just below the top. There are good options on both the east and southwest sides.
Aragorn Glacier
This is the premiere intermediate glacier run accessible from the cabin. Although not a long run, it can be counted on for dry, light snow. The best way over is to go 500m west up the valley from the cabin before climbing up past the impressive east face of Mt. Gandalf, and then skiing along a moraine ridge and contouring around to the north side of Mt. Aragorn. A short run brings you to a small lake below the foot of the glacier. There are some crevasses to be aware of near the top of the glacier. The summit of Aragorn is an easy ski ascent by this route.
Peregrine - West Col
Peregrine peak is the summit immediately south of the cabin. The col to the west of this peak is a worthwhile destination, with good ski runs on both sides. The col is accessed from the upper lake that is about 500m west of the hut. There is a lot of good ski terrain in the bowl south of the lake, plus some steep runs down the back side of the col. If visibility is poor, keep to the treed ridge on the climber's left side of the bowl.
Gandalf - South Col
This is the col just south of Gandalf peak. There is some nice skiing in the bowl below the col, but there are a lot of boulders that need to be covered up first.
Return of the King
This run takes you from the upper lake back to the Bring Waddington Hut. Climb up to the ridge on the far left side of the bowl south of the upper lake. Aim for the prominent shoulder of the ridge (approx. 2010m elevation), and then ski down the back (northeast) side. The top part of the ski run is a wind loaded avalanche gully, so only attempt it in appropriate conditions. Be careful of the convex roll near the top on the skiers right side. The lower 1/3rd of the run is another narrow gully that drops into the bowl behind the Bunny Hill.
Copp Creek
A long run descends from the rocky ridge north of the Aragorn Glacier 2000ft. down into Copp Creek. The left side of the drainage is best higher up, but the right side offers better skiing towards the bottom. This is a committing ski run with potentially dangerous avalanche terrain. One narrow slope in particular, about 600ft long at about 32+ degrees feeds down into a terrain trap (gully). There is a good safe spot to stop on the left side at the bottom, but there is no way to avoid skiing directly above the terrain trap. On the return from Copp creek, it is likely safest to cross the lower col (swing around cliffs on climber's left) into the Cadwallader creek headwaters and then continue out past Mt. Shadowfax. Another exit (the one I did), climbs snowslopes on the climber's right side of the drainage, but presents avalanche hazard crossing steep slopes above cliffs.
Sockeye Creek
A loop over to Sockeye creek, via the col south of Gandalf and the col west of Peregrine makes a nice tour.
Phelix Creek East Side
Mt. Taillefer with it's 2500ft ski run beckons across the valley. Although a worthwhile destination, the ski run isn't as good as it looks. It's rocky up high, and steep with gullies and gnarly, scrubby trees down lower. It's also capable of class 4 avalanches; the last big one seems to have run up the other side of the valley a good 30m. Another option is to descend the southeast face of Mt. Taillefer. This is an enjoyable outing in the right conditions, and it is possible to ski down the east branch of Phelix to the main branch without putting skins on. Be prepared for snowmobiles in the lower parts of the valley. Exiting the hut via this route, while longer, allows you to avoid the large water bars in the upper part of the Phelix road.

Summer

Hiking

There are few developed hiking trails nearby, but the high alpine country makes for excellent off trail hiking. Beautiful meadows fill the small hanging valley around the cabin, and unmarked high routes go east towards McGillivray Pass and west towards Tenquille Lake.

Mountaineering

Gandalf, Shadowfax and Aragorn are three nearby peaks composed of nice, clean granite. There are only a handful of routes so far, and many unclimbed, unexplored faces. Check the hut log book for the most up to date info.

The true summits of Mt. Gandalf and Mt. Aragorn are difficult boulder problems. Aragorn can be easily surmounted with a shoulder stand move - so don't go it alone. Gandalf is not quite so easy.

There are a number of excellent scrambling routes on all the peaks:

  • South ridge of Mt. Gandalf from Phelix - Sockeye col (easy scramble), and continue along the ridge to Mt. Aragorn
  • SW face of Mt. Shadowfax (easy scramble across ledges)
  • NW ridge of Mt. Shadowfax (class 3-4)
  • E ridge of Mt. Aragorn (class 3, very exposed)
  • NE ridge of Peregrine (mostly Class 2, one half pitch of Class 4-5 near summit avoidable on left)
  • W ridge of Peregrine (mostly a ridge walk with a few easy scrambling moves. The full traverse of the ridge from the Phelix - Sockeye col is recommended, or take a shorter variation from the col halfway along this ridge).

More technical routes have been climbed on the peaks as well. The known routes to date include:

  • East face of Gandalf, Wizard of Choss 5-6 pitches to 5.7.
  • Southeast buttress of Gandalf, 5 pitches to mid-5th class.
  • North face of Aragorn, 6 pitches to 5.10a, highly recommended.
  • Northeast face of Aragorn, attempted, 5.11 A2 to highpoint.
  • Southeast face of Aragorn, Flareathon, 4 pitches, 5.10b, wide and thrutchy.

Maps

A note on wrong peak names on maps

Mt Gandalf, Shadowfax and Aragorn were first climbed by some VOCers in 1972 (see VOCJ15 1972). They named all 3 peaks, but something got messed up and the names on the maps don't match the given names - Gandalf and Shadowfax are reversed! The names used herein are the names given by the FA party, which do not match the names on the map. These are the names generally used by the mountaineering community, and by other guidebooks (Bruce Fairley, Matt Gunn) as well:

  • Aragorn is mapped correctly
  • Gandalf is the peak immediately south of Aragorn
  • Shadowfax is to the East of the other 2.

Since then, the name Peregrine has been applied to the peak immediately south of the cabin. It is not an official name. The name Frodo has been used to refer to the summit on the ridge between Peregrine and Gandalf.

Gallery

External links

Accident report from ACC of Brian Waddington's death


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