Archive:Fall Phelix workhike 2010

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Once upon a time, access to the Brian Waddington Hut was difficult. People would make it in well after dark or not at all. Then the club built a beautiful new trail.

The trail is in pretty good shape, but it won't stay that way without maintenance. This will be a great chance to get out and do some real, useful, but not too threatening work for the club (and one of the last chances before 4m of snow covers everything). October is a great time for these sorts of things - you'll feel good, even though the climbing season is coming to an end and ski season is yet to begin. I mean, what else could you do this time of year? Go to a hotspring?

This trip will be beginner friendly, which means the experienced people will help keep you alive if you've never done something like this before. That said, the trail into the hut is pretty good... so if necessary and you abandon trail work, just concentrating on survival, it would be pretty easy.


This trip will happen on October 23-24, with a pre-trip meeting the Wednesday before at 6:00pm in the clubroom (and will finish before the 7pm slideshow). If you can't make it, get somebody (anybody, other than me) to represent you. Be sure they know enough information so that we can make arrangements for rides, eating and sleeping.

Driving Instructions

Please have all your passengers installed and be heading over the Lions Gate bridge at 7am, or if meeting at "the" church in North Van meet at 7am (which should work out to the same leaving time, assuming you don't faff around too much switching vehicles). This leaving time does not include stopping for breakfast on the way, but does include a stop for gas (since you almost certainly have to do that not to run out) - if you'd like to stop for breakfast in Squamish simply leave appropriately earlier. Drive safely and we'll all hit the same traffic and arrive at the start (2wd parking) of the Phelix Creek FSR at the same time.

Once at the carpark we'll shuttle the logging road with our two 4wd vehicles. We will need to give these drivers extra gas money to compensate for the extra wear, tear, and gas involved. See also the driver reimbursement guidelines.

Passenger Instructions

Be proactive and get in contact with your driver. Don't make them search for you. Bring gas money for both your driver and the 4wd, and check the driver reimbursement guidelines. Assuming a reasonable quantity of passenger pickups the drive is 450km, return.

Specific Tasks

There will be a few main goals, and I'd like to divide the group up to deal with them:

Make the logging road nicer for skiing

Slide Alder, menace of the coastal skier, has been steadily encroaching on the logging road. It's still not thick enough to stop a vehicle (although it will add some racing stripes) - however it really narrows the road. Sometimes, on the flats, this is alright... but on the steep sections it's getting so bad that it's not wide enough to turn, and occasionally bad enough that it can be tough to snowplow. In an effort to keep the "skiing down an icy rut covered logging road, in the dark, without enough room to slow down" nightmare to a minimum this winter we're going to cut back the alder along the steep sections.

Fix the outhouse roof

Last summer we moved the outhouse. This solved the "full" problem, but started a new one we did not anticipate - the roof got ripped off. Theory goes that in it's new location more snow builds up on the roof, causing an enormous asymmetric snow mushroom to form. This eventually got so heavy and asymmetric that it threatened to tip the whole outhouse, but instead ripped the roof off such that it tipped over and the mushroom fell off. We're not really sure... all we know is that the roof was ripped off, but left sitting more-or-less on top of the outhouse at a funny angle, with a ~300kg snow mushroom lying on the ground beside the outhouse.

We've constructed two new rafters for the ends of the roof. We need to take the roof off, remove the 45 degree triangles, and install our new 60 degree triangles. Hopefully this does the trick, because 60 degrees as as steep as we can make it without also carrying in a new roof. This will be harder than it sounds, mostly because everything is made of 3/4" ply and really heavy. The outhouse is also really tall, complicating matters.

Make the clearcut section nicer

The trail goes through a clearcut along a deactivated logging road. It's received some love, but could use some more leveling with heavy tools like shovels and mattocks etc.

Fix up some wet sections on the trail

Some parts of the trail go through topsoil with built in aquifers. This means that the water basically oozes out of the dirt turning the trail into a mud pit. Uphill ditching along with the use of rocks, logs and transported mineral soil will turn these sections into sections which will last. Some work has been done on these already, but there's more to do.

Build benches at the East end of the Lake

When the trail finally punches out into the alpine you cross a bridge and then are spat out on the East side of the lake, on a beautiful sand beach (alpine sand beaches are rare), overlooking the lake with the hut on the far side and majestic mountains overlooking. It's a beautiful spot, and it would be so nice if a few of the washed up beach logs were shaped into a pair of benches such that, after slogging up the trail, you can sit down with a snack and enjoy the view.

General maintenance

The rest of the trail is in beautiful shape, but won't stay that way without a little TLC. Pruning back sections which are re-growing, re-digging water bars, and moving blow downs.

Carry down trash

We found a disgusting pile of debris hiding in the forest a little east of the east end of the lake. Nobody knows how it got there, but it's a disgrace to the beauty of the area. If we all take down a piece we can get rid of it eventually.

What to bring to survive

Be sure and bring everything you'll need for an overnight hut trip. It will probably be cold and wet, so as usual don't bother bringing anything made out of cotton. The hut will probably be reasonably warm, packed full of people. It won't surprise me if we find snow near the hut, but there won't be enough to require snowshoes or skis.

Bring good boots too, preferably waterproof. I don't want anybody hurting their ankles bush wacking around near the trail. For reference, I'll probably wear my double plastic mountaineering boots since they are beefy, warm, actually waterproof, and make a good tool for trail work all by themselves.

If you have work gloves or tools suitable for trail maintenance (basically, gardening tools or beefy stuff like an old axe you don't particularly love), bring them too.


Devin Todd's car

  1. Devin
  2. Riley P

Mark Robinson's

  1. Mark (Hey DJ, 778 995 2251)
  2. Fabienne
  3. Fabienne's BF
  4. DJ -->Mark, I texted you. If you didn't get that I'm going to assume 6:30am at 41 @ Mackenzie. Hopefully I'll see the Fabienne crew too.


  1. Christian
  2. Katherine
  3. Mieke
  4. Will S

Eliza Boyce's car

  1. Eliza
  2. Tom C
  3. Ginny - who for some reason isn't showing as already in the car ??
  4. Ben Singleton-Polster

Lindsay Wynne's car (Yes we're stealing it for the weekend)

  1. Greg
  2. Alex Thompson
  3. Navid
  4. Kristi Mingus

Limit is around 30, since that's how many the hut fits if we sleep on the floor, but it's not a hard limit (maybe someone will bring a tent?) so don't start a wait list, but do keep this in mind.