Brian Waddington Hut
|Brian Waddington Hut|
Brian Waddington Hut (August 2007)
|Coordinates (WGS 84)||10U 522643E 5608795N|
|Coordinates (NAD 27)||10U 522738E 5608593N|
|Topographic map (NTS)||92 J/10|
|Fee||$10 / night|
|Caretaker||Varsity Outdoor Club|
- 1 Facilities
- 2 Peak Names - Gandalf and Shadowfax
- 3 Skiing
- 4 Hiking
- 5 Mountaineering
- 6 Access
- 7 Current Issues
- 8 History
- 9 Hut and Trail Conditions
- 10 External links
Note: Use of the Brian Waddington Hut is discouraged from August 15 - October 15 every year. See below for more details.
The Brian Waddington Hut was 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.
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 left at the hut in the blue drop box or sent in 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.
No reservations are taken, but please see the VOC hut registration page to help coordinate use.
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
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.
The following are provided for your enjoyment:
- 2 Coleman double burner stoves, model 421-D Both worked, but are somewhat fussy, as of October 2014.
- No Coleman lantern, but we hope somebody will bring one up, as of October 2014.
- A Coleman catalytic heater, model 518E, 3000 BTU, gives off toxic fumes and should be hauled out, as of October 2014.
All of the above burn white gas (naphtha), and white gas only. Do not use kerosene, car gas, or any other fuel. Note: On pain of death, only use white gas (naptha, Coleman Camp Fuel) in the stove, lanterns and heater. Kerosene won't burn in these appliances and it will clog the fuel lines. This shouldn't be an issue, since almost nobody uses kerosene in Canada. WE do not supply fuel; you will have to haul in your own fuel.
- Solar powered air heater, designed to reduce humidity in the Hut. Runs when the sun shines. Please don't mess with it.
- A percolator? (for brewing coffee)
- Several candles.
- A heavy fry pan, and one big pot. Plan on bringing your own. There are a few spoons, knives and forks.
- Buckets for "clean" water and grey water. We do not 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.
- Many decks of cards, at least one of which is complete.
- Matterhorn puzzle, some pieces missing
- there are mice, so hang up your food or use the cupboards.
- Two fire extinguisher(s), replaced October 2011, look OK 2014
- broom, flat blade shovel, various tools for repair.
- There is an old steel string guitar at the hut that was originally donated by Dan Perrakis.
A small library is provided for the enjoyment of hut users. At present this library contains mostly more recent editions of the VOC Journal.
- VOCJ 2012-2013
- VOCJ 2003-2004
- VOCJ 2000-2001
- VOCJ 1998-99 (damaged)
- VOCJ 1997
- VOCJ 1996-1997
- VOCJ 1994-1995
- VOCJ 1992
- Lord of the Rings (3 volumes)
- VOC Songbook (3 new, 1 old)
- 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.
Updated March 2010 and Oct 2014
Peak Names - Gandalf and Shadowfax
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.
|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.
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
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.
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.
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 east 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Drive Highway 99 north to Mt. Currie, passing through Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. Drive through Mt. Currie and continue north, following signs towards the town of D'Arcy. You need to take Blackwater Road on the left, just before reaching D'Arcy itself. This turnoff is signed for Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park. If you hit the town of D'arcy, you've gone a bit too far. Blackwater Road is gravel, but is well maintained and any car can handle it. It's plowed semi-regularly in the winter, but often has compact snow. The road isn't very steep, but 4wd or tire chains are recommended in winter because it's usually covered in snow and it's a long way out if you get stuck or snowed in. At about 13km from the highway, there is a gate on Blackwater Road at the entrance to Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park. Just before the gate, turn right onto Phelix Creek Road. There is a parking area about 200m further up Phelix Creek Road. Driving time from Vancouver to the parking area at the bottom of Phelix Creek Road is usually 3 to 4 hours each way, depending on traffic and weather. If you have a 4x4 vehicle, you may be able to drive up the road in the summertime when it's free of snow; otherwise park here.
There is a recurring landslide on the road at km 0.5, which is often but not always passable by high clearance 4x4. The rest of the road can be driven to the very end, although it is a bit overgrown in places. The roughest part is the final 1km or so, starting after the second bridge. Less capable 4x4s such as Subaru Foresters, CR-Vs, etc may be able to make it this far if they can get through the slide.
To reach the start of the trail, go up the road, crossing Phelix Creek once, then keep left at a fork and cross the creek again. Just above the second bridge is another fork - go right this time. The road ends after several huge cross ditches where it reaches two clear cuts. Cross the two clear cuts without gaining or loosing any elevation. Find 2 huge white boulders at the far end of the second clearcut which is where the trail begins at a huge tree, heading north and slightly uphill across the first avalanche path.
The new trail stays on the west side of the creek, more or less following the traditional winter route. The new trail is suitable for travel in both summer and winter - but it's a moderately difficult ski due to the steep forested terrain. Skiing the trail is approximately the same difficulty as a gladed black diamond tree run. The trail has been marked with retro reflective marker diamonds, but some sections are still a little sparse. The constructed trail ends at the east end of Long Lake. From there, the best route is to follow trails around either side of the lake to the cabin.
See Phelix Creek Trail Construction for more information about the building of the new trail
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.
Two PDF files created by Matt Parisien
GPS track of the access trail and the waypoint for the hut are available here: File:Phelix trail.kml
This is Roland's GPX file for finding Phelix Hut File:2014Phelix.gpx
The datum for all the waypoints below is NAD 27, to correspond with the NTS map of the area, 92 J/10.
|0.0||524791, 5601770||700m||Blackwater Rd||Right||Turn right off Blackwater Road.|
|0.2||524726, 5601986||710m||Parking area||Straight||Summer parking for 2WD Vehicles.|
|0.6||524923, 5602246||750m||First landslide||Straight||Passable by 4WD HC in summer; maybe necessary to roll rocks off the road|
|0.8||525071, 5602334||750m||Second landslide||Straight||-|
|1.8||525250, 5603350||950m||Switchback||Straight||Road switchbacks left then right, passing a huge boulder partially on the road|
|3.1||525069, 5604244||1070m||First Bridge||Straight||Road turns right over the bridge, then left up the West side of Phelix Creek|
|4.2||524905, 5605088||1140m||Spur||Left||Phelix Creek East branch continues straight; turn left towards second bridge|
|4.4||524821, 5605155||1150m||Second Bridge||Straight||Main branch crosses back over to the East side of Phelix Creek|
|4.7||524700, 5605282||1170m||Spur||Straight||Phelix Creek West branch forks to the left; continue straight on main branch.|
|5.1||524570, 5605678||1210m||Stream||Straight||Huge ditch as a tributary crosses the road. Maybe impassable if water level is high. A fallen tree to the right creates a bridge to cross in winter.|
|5.9||524605, 5606348||1230m||End of Road||Straight||Parking for 4WD HC; continue straight across two clearcuts.|
|6.6||524481, 5606998||1280m||Trailhead||Follow flagging||A large tree 700m North of the end of the road marks the start of the flagged trail to the Hut|
|0.0||524481, 5606998||1280m||Trail head|
|1.4||524108, 5608170||1420m||Trail crosses a small stream; there is a log bridge for summer use|
|2.0||523860, 5608318||1590m||Above a large boulder field|
|2.5||523595, 5608576||1680m||Top of steep section of trail, terrain mellows towards lake|
|2.8||523368, 5608675||1705m||Outlet of Long Lake, bridge to trail on North side.|
|3.4 **||522738, 5608593||1715m||Brian Waddington Hut|
** Winter distance when crossing straight over the frozen lake. In summer this is slightly longer, unless you swim.
See the land use issues page for information about an application for commercial snowmobiling operations in Phelix Creek.
Many complaints have been lodged about the absence of a wood stove at the hut. MEC donated $3000 towards the cost of flying in the hut on the condition that there would be no wood stove. When we built the Hut, kerosene heaters were flown in along with 80 liters of kerosene. Here is our experience with burning kerosene:
- The whole 80 liters of kerosene which we flew in when we built the Hut, were used up in the first winter.
- Flying in more kerosene to the hut by helicopter is very expensive, around $3000, so this wasn't done.
- Hut users started putting "mystery fuel" such as paint thinner or wood finish into the kerosene heaters.
- They allowed the heaters to burn dry, destroyed their wicks.
- The combustion products were not vented outside (the heaters have no chimney), so it smelled bad, and moisture from combustion encouraged mold to grow on the walls.
In February 2007 we carried out the kerosene heaters as by now they didn't work anyway, and brought in a Coleman catalytic heater, which burns white gas. As of 2014, there are no working catalytic heaters at the hut.
Don't bring kerosene to the Hut. There is nothing up there which burns kerosene
There is currently no Coleman lantern at the Hut (Oct 2014)
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.
Unfortunately all the current heat producing devices vent their combustion products into the Hut, which tends to promote mold.
In 2011 we once again reviewed the lack of a vented heater, and discussed various alternatives.
A small, vented, oil-burning heater was investigated. Several advantages of an oil heater:
-- It was light weight so it could be carried in.
-- It was inexpensive (under $1k including chimney).
Disadvantages we could see:
-- Flying in barrels of heating oil would be very expensive, requiring that we raise the overnight fee, lock up the oil supply, something like the way the Whistler ACC operates the Marriott Hut.
-- Alternately, we didn't think that people would carry in several liters of heating oil, so the heater wouldn't do much.
-- Random people operating the heater could produce several types of disaster, including oil spills, or using random fuels. The heater manufacturer told us that burning naphtha or white gas in the heater would make it explode.
Propane heat, as at the Elfin Shelter was discussed. Disadvantages we could see included:
-- The need to fly in propane and fly out the empty cylinders.
-- We would need to have somebody competent to change cylinders.
-- We'd need to pay demurrage (the cost of renting the cylinders).
-- An intelligent regulator to keep the heat reasonable, and only when the Hut is occupied (and people are paying for heat), would likely be expensive.
-- Having the Hut fill with propane and explode, was another possibility we wanted to avoid.
Finally we discussed a wood heater
-- Fuel does not leak out or explode.
-- Rationing can be enforced by keeping the wood shed 100m away, and by supplying wood which needs to be cut up before it can be burned.
-- We'd have to make peace with MEC as we probably still have a restrictive covenant in place regarding burning wood up there.
-- To pay for flying in wood, assuming we collected wood from the logged-off road on the way in, would cost us around $3k per supply. We might make a supply last several years.
-- We would have to collect way more money for hut use and we felt that people would be reluctant to pay for the privilege of being warm.
The possibility of collecting avalanche-killed wood near the Hut was mentioned, but there was no consensus as to whether this would cause unacceptable damage to the meadows.
We concluded that we would not further investigate providing heat, for now, unless we could show that the hut mold is a health hazard or is likely to destroy the hut soon.
We expect to collect $10 per person per night for use of the Hut, and this, in addition to our naturally frugal nature, partially pays for periodic maintenance. There is a steel lock box in the hut so that visitors can leave a cash or cheque payment, instead of taking home an envelope and then losing it and not paying.
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
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.
Hut and Trail Conditions
- 2014/Oct/11 Road, including slide, is in good condition. Stucco mesh on "one log bridge" needs to be replaced and nailed down, as it is a hazard at present. Solar air heater still works. Two Coleman stoves are fussy, but work. No Coleman lantern up there. Coleman catalytic heater shoud not be used as it is damaged and gives off poisonous fumes. Outhouse works, but deposits a stream of runny shit on the trail to the outhouse, and is not up to Canadian standards. And marmots are eating the outhouse.
- 2013/01/21 The Coleman white gas lantern no longer works, otherwise the hut is in fine shape. Spent 3 nights, beautiful weather and tough snow conditions, variable snow with hard crust mixed with softer sections and breakable crust. Lots of wind affected snow on Cabin Hill and other places that normally have powder stash :( Will need at least 1 m of snow to cover it up.
- 2011/07/14 Big VOC trip to replace the four biggest windows ($1300) and do a little more work. Windows were carried in and replaced successfully and look good. They can be opened and closed to control humidity in the Hut, and being properly double glazed, should help to trap some of the negligible heat in the winter.
- 2010/08/14 Big thanks to Jim's group for clearing the deadfall! Road was easily 4WD HC accesible. Found a dead mouse in the trap, removed and reset.
- 2010/08/12 Large boulder has been rolled out of the way, but the slide is still only 4WD HC accessible. Jim's group has also cleared the deadfall all the way to the trailhead (Thanks!).
- 2010/07/13 Tree down (2-3 foot diameter), blocking road a few minutes beyond slide area with large boulder.
- 2010/02/08 Blackwater Road plowed and recently graded. Good coverage on logging road and trail. Soft snow to second bridge, but firmer above and through forest. Great snow quality and coverage on northern aspects. South facing aspects are tree bombed and crusty. Some minor natural activity related to cornice falls. Otherise very stable conditions. Ski out was fast (2 hours) and uneventful. New reflective blazes are well positioned and helpful. Perpetual slide at km 0.5 would make access for even HC 4x4 difficult in summer. Snowmobiles were having difficulty getting around it. Did not use any heaters (brought lots of friends) or stoves (brought our own). Coleman lantern needs new mantles. Left one lantern full of fuel (~1L). Temperatures relatively warm at -5C from Feb 5-8. No new snow during our stay. Sunny during the day and clear at night. Cleaned hut and took out garbage that others left behind. No water buckets, but one stainless pot and one kettle.
- 2009/03/09 Blackwater Road plowed but sheer ice all the way through, graded but not sanded, don't brake! Ski in was fast, icy and hardpacked sections in the forest. Ski-out was via col between Peregrine and Frodo, a bit crusty below the col and powder afterwards, almost all the way to the clearcut. No water buckets in the cabin, used the large stainless steel pot (8 L) and 4 L milk jug instead. White gas supplies low, the newer larger heater is hard to get going, the old one is easier to light. The heater warmed the upstairs to about 11°C but it was back to 0°C by 4 AM. Warm sleeping bag definitely recommended. Skiing was awesome. Slideshow: Skiing at Phelix Creek http://www.flickr.com/photos/runningclouds/sets/72157615190470223/ -- runningclouds 18:01, 10 March 2009 (PST)
- 2009/01/17 Blackwater Road plowed to end. Low snow year (approx 0.5m on logging road) with slide alder still poking through in places. Very tough, crusty conditions through the forest, but skiable all the way. Good skiing in the glades on cabin hill, and better stability than expected. Cabin in good condition. Supplies of "left over" white gas in the hut are very low; everyone is encouraged to leave left over fuel in the containers provided for refilling the lanterns etc, rather than carry it out, and maybe bring in a little extra. -- Matthew 16:28, 20 January 2009 (PST)
- 2008/01/01 Road to trailhead was partially plowed. May have to park further back and prepare for a little extra distance. Lots of snow to cover 95% of the shrubbery on the trail. Snow bridges are stable across the creek crossings now. Conditions were powder at the time. There are snow mobiles using the logging roads portion of the trail. Cabin is in great shape except the water bucket became a puke bucket during the trip. Advised to give a good wash-down before future use. Notice one mouse scurrying at the bottom of the hut and climbed the ladder to the top. Traps were set and one mouse was caught. Ensure food is stored properly.
- 2007/10/22 New west side trail is complete. Follow orange and pink flags. Ignore yellow flags
- 2007/07/14 Road is as per below. Flagging is sparse on the summer route, especially near the top. Counted about 40 blowdowns from the clearcut to the lake, making progress slow. Be prepared for a "full body hike" and a few scratches! Creek crossings are a bit dicey as well... Still a metre of snow or so at the cabin, which is in fine shape save for a broken window frame on the south side. This could be mended with a screw driver and 1/2 hour.
- 2007/06/24 Logging road is driveable by 4x4 to 300m (?) from the end where there are two blowdowns blocking progress. Lots of snow, starting not far beyond the end of the road. 1.5m snowpack still remains at the hut. Orange flags on the west side of phelix creek mark wet areas and creeks for future trail construction. Please do not remove these flags. Scott Nelson 10:08, 27 June 2007 (PDT)
- 2007/02/23 to 2007/02/25 12 VOCers tested out the new flagged trail, and hauled in a catalytic heater as well as replacement globes and mantles for the lanterns. On the way in we met 2 non-VOC ladies who had been staying at the hut. Skiing conditions were truly phenomenal, lots and lots of fresh snow above the previous melt/freeze crust but bonding well. On the way out (a warm, sunny afternoon) we saw (and heard) recent avalanches on South facing slopes in the valleys above the logging roads. We forgot to take in the new hard-backed log book, and the guitar is missing a top E string (there are spares for most other strings). If the next party could take those in, that would be superb. -- Matthew 11:58, 26 February 2007 (PST)
- 2007/01/28 Party of 4 flagged the west side ski route from the final clearcut to the lake by the hut with yellow flags. Hut is in good shape except for the lanters which need new mantels and glass. Good skiing conditions only in the narrow band between wind slab up high and melt/freeze crust down low. Contrary to the previous report, the Matterhorm puzzle seems to be ok. A previous party had assembled it on the table.
- 2006/12/29 to 2007/01/02 circa 20 VOCers warmed up the Hut over New Years. The hut was found on the 29th with the N window wide open and snow drifts inside (the picture puzzle was one casualty of this). Windows are a little tough to shut. Several non-VOC groups also showed up.
- 2005/11/13 We had a party of 10 in over the long weekend. Hut was cosy enough with 10 in it. The two vents and periodic door-opening sufficed for ventilation, we never cracked the windows. The south vent is letting water drip in along the cable from the solar panel to the LED battery. A bit of caulking could fix this, maybe. About 1m of snow at the cabin. One 4x4 made it to the second bridge, another one to the last creek crossing before the cut block.
- 2005/10/22 We also managed to drive a HC 4x4 without difficulty to about 300 meters before the first cut block. Brought up a new log book but lo and behold there was one already there. The weather was very warm at the cabin (5-7°C). No snow. We ended up wading Phelix creek at both crossings; logs were too slippery and wet to cross safely. The creek seemed high. Saw Moose prints, and Grizzly dirt but not the animals. Watch the top rung on the outhouse ladder, looks like it is about to go. Cabin is in great shape, nice and clean inside though there were a few mice type rodents that kept us company over night. We didn't use the Kerosene heater. --Troy 11:06, 24 Oct 2005 (MST)
- 2005/06/30 We drove a HC 4x4 without difficulty on the access road. M. Gunn's Scrambles book provides a good description of the drive up. The trail is also well described in the book, well marked and easy to follow. Just remember to go as far as possible to the (very very) end of the cut blocks before crossing east over Phelix Creek. if you cross early, you will bushwhack in Devils club. Unfortunately, we forgot a log book.