Harrison Hut route

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Organizers

At present the work has generally been organized by: Ben Singleton-Polster and Christian Veenstra at present but others are welcome to help out if they are really keen. Numerous people have helped out with the various recon missions.

Future work

1. Route work (flagging and cutting minor deadfall)
2. MEC Grant
3. Trail application
4. Trail construction

First Leg

The second largest landslide in Canadian history knocked out the road on the North side of Meager creek... so now we need to build a trail around that too. See map.

Several scouting missions have gone through the area.

Harrison_Hut_Trail_Recconaissance_June_2011 resulted in this GPX file from Christian's GPS

Harrison_Hut_Trail_Recconaissance_Round_2 resulted in this GPX file from Christian's GPS and this kmz file from Scott's GPS (carried by Ben).

Also, Ben got in contact with Squamish Mills who was observed to have an excavator in the area - seems they will be fixing the road up to Perkins Creek, and should have the bridge over Spidery Creek fixed by the end of August. Looks like the high route will be the way to go.

Things we've figured out:

  • A "low-route" right along the base of the destruction is possible, although not particularly recommended. A fast party can make it from the cars to the hotsprings in 5.5 hours, but trailbuilding here would probably be a mistake. Someone would fall into Meager Creek for sure, which would likely be fatal.
  • A "high-route" connecting the logging roads at about 900m will work.
  • There is no "middle-route" which goes just above the slide debris - the slide debris goes within 50m or so of the high route, and trying to stay just above it is a mess - we were constantly pushed up to the bench the high route follows by the terrain.

Second Leg

The old trail planning has been left here, but this is now the second leg, due to the landslide.

Planning

The VOC doesn't have a permit to build a trail (yet). First it would be good to establish the best location for a trail. More recon missions seem to be required to check the suitability of the following route options:

  • Presently flagged route from the Barr Creek FSR to the bench below Pine Bump. This appears to be the best ski route. The FSR is in pretty rough shape with lots of alder and big cross-ditches on the upper two third of the road, hence the road is unsuitable for 2WD vehicles. Moderate clearance vehicles can make it about one third of the way up, whereas 4WD-HC vehicles have made it to within a couple of hundred meters of the trailhead.
  • Same general route as above, but make a steep-ish traverse around 1650m to avoid extra uphill. For both routes it should be investigated if there are options to build a bridge (unlikely) or stepping stones (maybe) to assist crossing the creek draining the Magic Carpet Glacier. This route might be better if in a whiteout and a blizzard, rather than trying to follow cairns above the treeline. Bram and Matt P. tried this route in June '08 (partly on skis, partly bushwhacking), and it's fairly bushy. Will require a lot more work to get in acceptable shape than the high route below Pine Bump. The ideal route stays just above a burned patch of forest on the slopes southwest of Barr Creek.
  • Follow the "old 1980's" route from the Meager S6 Hotsprings Creek Spur and a steep traverse northeast of Barr Creek to the hut. The road is 2WD to the end. Bram, Meghan and Madeleine walked this route in Oct. '08. This route is shorter and more direct than the presently flagged route, but takes more time because of the moderate bushwhacking (mostly while traversing the steep slopes above Barr Creek). The route crosses a couple of avalanche gullies on these steep slopes above Barr Creek. Building a trail here will involve a lot more work than on the presently flagged route. Roland walked this route a long time ago and claims to have seen signs of snowmobiles up there. While it is not a good idea to improve access for snowmobiles into the hut, it seems very unlikely that these machines can travel over such steep forested side hills. There is some old flagging along this route. If we would go ahead and build a trail here it would be good to check out the possibilities of building a bridge over Roller Coaster Creek (the one next to the hut, should be easy to build bridge; perhaps this bridge could also be used to access new outhouse in forest on E side of this creek) and check how hard the (bigger) Madhorse Creek is to cross (drains the Madhorse Glacier west of Overseer Mountain, some people call the creek draining the Magic Carpet Glacier Madhorse Creek). The latter creek was easy to cross in Oct. '08, but water levels were fairly low.
  • There has been some discussion regarding the possibility of a route to the Hut from the South Creek FSR. This would have the major advantage that we wouldn't have to drive the road to Meager, which the authorities close in the winter due to avalanches. Nobody has actually gone in this way, so we don't know if this is actually practical. On the map, it is a long way. From the Pemberton Meadows Road (generally partly plowed in winter) it appears to be about 10km + 600vm to the end of the South Creek FSR. Supposedly the last bridge over South Creek is gone. From the end of the logging road it is at least another 13km + 1300vm through the main valley and up the South Creek Glacier to the Zygo - Frozen Boot col. From here it is 4km and 600vm down to the hut on the Roller Coaster Glacier. Perhaps the north fork of South Creek to the Overseer - Madhorse col could be an option as well (especially considering the main fork is in a very steep sided valley). This could be the easiest way to the hut in winter (1 long or 2 shorter days to go in), but might be too complicated (bush + glacier crossing + length) for summer approach.

We are now in a position to apply for a permit to build a trail, and to apply to MEC for money to build it. Do we want to do this? Do we want to work on it without a permit, which is illegal and won't get us any funding, but might save a few people from getting lost.

Note that at present the hut hardly sees any use in mid-winter. Use of the hut by backcountry skiers is limited to early winter (around Nov.) and late spring (around May-June) when the Meager roads are not snow covered. Main use of any trail on the Meager side will by people on foot who go up for hiking, scrambling and/or mountaineering in the summer and early fall, this should be kept in mind when choosing a location for the trail.

Pros and cons of Meager routes

Route Length Elevation gain/drop Road Avalanche danger Creek crossing Amount of bushwhacking White-out navigation Currently marked
Southwest side - high route (Pine Bump) 6.0km 950vm/375vm 4WD-HC to 1145m, 2WD to 830m (adds 4km, 315vm) Minor on descent past pine bump Wade creek draining Magic Carpet Glacier Moderate Open terrain starting past Pine Bump Excellent route has recently been flagged
Southwest side - low route 4.5km 650vm/75vm 4WD-HC to 1145m, 2WD to 830m (adds 4km, 315vm) Minor to none Wade creek draining Magic Carpet Glacier High-ish for 1km long sidehill Minor open terrain in creek valley and up to hut Some possible very old flagging
Northeast side (1980's route) 5.2km 775vm/0vm 2WD to end (945m) Have to cross ~4 natural avi paths Cross big creek draining Madhorse Glacier and small creek next to hut High-ish for 1.8km long sidehill No open terrain Some very old flagging

Previous work

August 13-14 Reconnaissance

Message board thread Harrison_Hut_Trail_Recconaissance_Round_2.

Investigate future trail options as shown on this google map

  • Orange lines are existing roads
  • Green lines need exploration
  • Blue lines have already been explored and are known to be passable by fit and experienced parties.

It was generally determined that the high route is the way to go considering that Squamish Mills has fixed the bridge over Spidery creek and the road up to about 900m is 4wd HC or better depending on where Squamish Mills is logging.

June 18-19, 2011 Reconnaissance

A weekend was spent looking into the general areas shown on this PDF.

The plan was to investigate the possible trail locations to determine the best route along the south side. It appears that the best route to the Lillooet and Meager junction is across the debris flow gravel bars.

wiki page
message board thread
Trip Agenda

May 31, 2011 Discussion with Norbert Greinarcher (Squamish Recreation Officer)

They are not planning on rebuilding the road on the north side however are thinking of something on the south side. The options are expensive and timber prices are low so they have no immediate plans. He said it would probably 5-6 years before any real thought of putting in a road so we are free to go for it. Apparently, Inergex who are proposing a hydro project are looking for ways to increase their public image and would possibly fund the trail. We might say that hiking below power lines is not fun but none the less it is worth noting that they were successful in the power call and the lines would run nearby. Norbert is Retiring and Paul Tataryn is going to take over in the interim until they can fill the position.

Oct. 12 - 13, 2008

Madeleine, Meghan and Bram hiked the route on the east side of Barr Creek to the hut, it was quite bushy, but not too bad.
See TR on the VOC message board, and Meghan's photos on the VOC gallery.

Aug. 30 - Sept. 1, 2008

Annual mountaineering camp was held at Harrison Hut. A money drop box was installed, as well as some more work on screwing down the loose metal roofing was done.
See VOC message board

Aug. 2 - 3, 2008

Pete and Kristen went up to the hut and did some more flagging of the trail, built some extra cairns on the traverse below pine bump and built a set of stone steps leading up to front door.
See TR on the VOC message board

June 20 - 21, 2008

Harrison Hut Recon June 2008
Door to the hut was finally installed. Some of the loose metal roofing was fixed with screws. Trail was flagged with blue flagging tape. Some of the alder on the road was cut down.
See also the VOC message board

Nov. 10 - 13, 2007

For the first time in years, a group went to the Harrison Hut. They used the newly constructed (Oct. 2007) bridge over Meager Creek.
See TR on the VOC message board