Burton Hut (Spring 2004)
|Fee||$5 / night + $10 to BC Parks (PAY ONLINE HERE)|
|Built||1969 (renovated 2006)|
|Caretaker||Varsity Outdoor Club|
No reservations are taken, but please see the VOC Hut Registration page to help coordinate use.
The Burton Hut, also known as Sphinx Hut, is the VOC's oldest current hut. It is located in Sphinx Bay, on the east side of Garibaldi Lake. Access is easiest in winter when the Lake is frozen. In late spring, it seems that the hut occasionally floods with water due to ice jamming the nearby creek where it flows into Garibaldi Lake.
- 1 Fees
- 2 Access
- 3 Facilities
- 4 Activities
- 5 History
- 6 Current Issues
- 7 Maintenance
- 8 External links
For ANY overnight stay in Garibaldi Provincial Park, camping permits for must be purchased ahead of time via the BC Parks Discover Camping Reservation System - https://secure.camis.com/DiscoverCamping/Garibaldi?Map
The penalty for not paying is $144 per person.
VOC huts are open to all non-motorized users. A $5 per person per night fee applies to pay for hut maintenance (*see note below*). The fee can be sent in to the VOC by mail. This is in addition to the BC Parks camping permit that must be purchased for any overnight stay in the park, regardless of whether you are a VOC fee-paying member, or not. When purchasing your BC Parks permit, it is encouraged you select a permit for an area labelled as “unlimited inventory” so you would not inadvertently pay additional reservation fees for tent pad areas, when staying in the VOC hut.
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."
*Note:* Except for Burton Hut, VOC huts have a VOC fee of $10/night. The VOC fee for Burton Hut is $5 so that the total cost of $15 to stay at the Hut is in line with the cost of staying at the Elfin Lakes Hut
Access to the Burton Hut is complicated by the fact that there is no trail for access in summer, and that Garibaldi Lake is so huge that it doesn't usually freeze until sometime in January, for access in winter.
The Rubble Creek turnoff for the Garibaldi Lake Trail is located about midway between Squamish and Whistler (Google Map), about 250km return. There is a prominent sign, Garibaldi - Black Tusk trailhead, indicating the turnoff. The road leads about 2km to the parking lot at approximately 600m elevation. Only the first 400m of this road is normally plowed in winter, up to a private driveway. Do not block access to this private driveway when parking along the road.
Mid winter access is generally straightforward. Ski / Snowshoe the portion of road which is not plowed in winter (2km), then up the trail to Garibaldi Lake (9km) and then continue across the frozen lake to the hut (4.7km) which is located just past the moraine wall in Sphinx Bay, on the North side of the river which drains the basin. Total distance and elevation gain are about 15.7km and 1100m.
It is usually possible to "short cut" the summer trail to Garibaldi Lake somewhat by crossing portions of the smaller lakes en route, but trying to go directly up the river is generally a bad idea. Make sure to scout the ice from a hill first, as the far side of the lake around the Burton Hut is always the last part to freeze, and it is not easy to spot open water from so far away if you are standing at lake level. February, March and April are the most reliable months for solid ice on the lake. If the lake is not frozen, the hut can still be reached by the summer route over Panorama Ridge and Gentian Peak.
Summer access requires walking around the Lake, usually via Black Tusk Meadows, over the Helm Glacier to Gentian Pass, and then bushwacking down from Gentian Pass to the hut. To avoid traveling on the Helm glacier, hike over Panorama Ridge to Gentian Peak and then down to Gentian Pass.
The Burton Hut accommodates about 10 people comfortably and up to 15 with a bit of squeezing. There is a lot of sleeping space (attic (6), sleeping platform (5), sleeping bench (2), on the floor underneath the sleeping platform (5) ) but space for cooking, socializing and gear storage / drying is more limited.
In summer 2006 it was renovated, and is now weatherproof and insulated, making the hut far warmer than it was before the renovation. There is an outhouse located to the NNW of the hut and a nearby stream to the South (and a huge lake to the West) for water.
Appliances present include a coleman lamp, catalytic heater and a 2 burner Coleman Stove - which all run on white gas. The old kerosene appliances have been removed.
Note: As of Summer 2011, the Coleman stove has been replaced with one which will hopefully be more reliable. It may be advisable to carry in your own stove and not to rely entirely on the hut stove working.
- One New VOC Songbook
- VOCJ 1962
- VOCJ 1967
- VOCJ 1968
- VOCJ 1970
- VOCJ 1971
- Gateway to the Empire
|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 Burton Hut is an awesome base for fair weather skiing, with amazing long glacier descents all around. There are few trees however, so it is a poor destination in bad weather or in unstable conditions. The hut is often used as a stopover on the Garibaldi Neve Traverse.
The Garbage Pile
When the visibility is so bad that you cannot tell if you are about to be avalanched if heading for the Guard-Deception Col, then you can instead go up the pile of volcanic rubble on the N side of Sphinx Valley (approx. 1570m elevation), below Polemonium Ridge, and get a few short runs down to the valley bottom. A few trees provide some hints of visibility.
Ski up to Guard Pass (the Guard - Deception col) and then continue on up to near the top of the north end of the Deception Pinnacles. An amazing ski descent of 2500ft back to the Burton Hut awaits. A safer ascent route, although less direct, is to climb the Sphinx glacier then cross under Deception near the top.
On a clear day you can't miss it; get onto the steep nose of the glacier and work your way up the corridor to the Bookworms. Avoid crevasses at the top of the corridor. You can either return the same way, or swing past the Bookworms towards Sphinx, descending to the valley parallel to, and east of, the Guard-Deception route.
The Sentinel Glacier in Sentinel Bay is just around the corner. Get there by traveling along the lake, or up over Sphinx Pass. Guard Pass is slightly lower, but the south side of the pass is steep and rocky. A long ski run descends from near the summit of Glacier Pikes to Garibaldi Lake.
There are good nearby climbs on Castle Towers, Sphinx, Deception Pinnacles and Guard Peak. Short, alpine rock routes can also be found on the Phyllis Engine and the Bookworms.
Try asking Roland Burton. The hut was built back in 1969 making it the VOC's oldest standing hut. Roland received the Gold Pin in 1970 for his contribution to building the hut.
For many years, the hut was the site of an annual Sphinx Spring Ski Camp. This used to be a huge event with dozens of people trekking across the lake around easter to ski in the basin. There's even an old 8mm movie from the 1962 trip in the clubroom archives about it.
The Burton Hut has seen relatively low activity over it's lifetime, primarily because it is only easily accessible for only 3 or 4 months every year. This pattern of relatively low use kept the hut in reasonable shape for many years.
In August 2006 the Burton hut was renovated with a new door, windows, floor, end walls, insulation and a vapour barier to help keep things warmer in the winter. The hut furniture was completely rebuilt to provide a large cooking area and a 30 inch wide bench for sitting, sleeping or gear storage. The old kerosene heater (and all remaining kerosene) were removed and replaced with a white gas catalytic heater.
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