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Backcountry Huts In The Sea To Sky

Backcountry Huts In The Sea To Sky

Brian Waddington Hut 


Whether you're a fan of Lord of the Rings or not, the Brian Waddington hut is pretty unreal. The access can range from a good adventure to a blistering experience depending on conditions, but once you get in there it's pretty easy to forget the suffering. Maintained by the VOC club at UBC it's a pretty special hut in a pretty special area. The hut is separated into two floors, a living floor with a wood fireplace, replenished by the sweat, blood and tears of club volunteers in the summer so use sparingly. The hut is first come first serve and can fit about 12 comfortably or 31 people in a “MAX SARDINES” arrangement. It's a $10 fee per night (2023) that can be sent to VOC directly or into the money box at the hut. 

The approach is 10km in total mostly along an fsr. But eventually, you get to the Phelix creek trail. The trail has a 27-degree maximum and can be icy and pretty hard going with multiple nights' worth of food on your back, not the most forgiving for those fresh to touring, but a good adventure for those happy with a pack on their back. It's an 1127m elevation gain and should take a reasonably fit party 6-7 hours. However once you into the hut itself the zone is incredible. Rich with history the peaks of Gandalf, Aragorn and Tolkien tower over the area. The runs are near inexhaustible with stable conditions and everything from a great day out to a long sloggy mission can be found to lead back to the cosy hobbit hole of the hut. Cabin hill, Return of the King and Peregrine are great favourites but plenty of less obvious runs can be found to lead back to the lake for an incredible day in the hills. Channel your inner Frodo and go have a great time!

Kees & Claire Hut 

Kees and Claire hut is a great spot for a first hut experience for those starting to get their confidence in the backcountry. Both an easy access point for the below 30-degree slopes around oboe and quick access to the steeper cowboy ridge it's a brilliant point to hang out and tour back to.

The hut itself is the most kitted out you'll find in the sea to sky. Inspired by the more glamorous European hut experience, the hut comes with a drying room, a full kitchen with gas and heated living areas. Providing you can carry in and out your food it's not uncommon for full glamourous roasts to smell up the cabin. It's maintained by a hut warden and runs off an online booking system, so bookings must be done in advance or there'll be someone in your “would be” bed!

As the hut is the first of the three planned huts for the "Spearhead hut system" to start your tour into the whistler backcountry through relatively mellow slopes and into the hut. The whole hike goes through the most mellow slopes you can, only reaching a 20-degree max gradient along its 6km duration, its estimated to take around 2-3 hours for the walk-in so it can be done in the morning leaving you the day to settle in and ski, or in the evening for a good nights rest, providing you can get in before the lifts close. 

For more serious charges, the hut system looks onto the majestic fissile peak, with plenty of lines from hardcore to really hardcore. Other than just to marvel at, or to really send it, these lines are just impressive. And obviously, just keep walking and there's more and more stuff along the spearhead right up until you get back to Blackcomb. For those looking for some more mellow times, the cowboy ridge is a great spot right from the hut, with the further you get from the hut the steeper the lines, it's got something for everyone!

Wendy Thompson Hut  

The Wendy Thompson Hut is the ‘must-do’ hut trip for ski tourers getting after it in the sea to sky, situated in the Pemberton area. The hut is managed by the Whistler Alpine Club of Canada and operates on a reservation system that can be booked up to 6 months prior, which can be made via their website for a fee of $20 for members and $25 for non members. If avalanche warnings of HIGH/EXTREME within 24 hours of the booking, a full refund is provided. Max capacity sits at 16 persons for the hut, with a kitchen station but users need to bring their own stove system, solar panels providing LED lights and USB charging and outhouse facilities. General upkeep of the hut is expected from the users when at the hut to maintain the upkeep. 

Head north on Highway 99 beyond Pemberton towards Lillooet (Duffey Lake Road), until you get to a white public works sand shed 17 km from the valley bottom and park up there. The trailhead/road starts 300m west of the parking, then stay left as the road intersects at both 200m and 1 km in. At the end of the road, the trail to the hut is marked with orange diamond trail markers up the east side of the creek, follow these markers for 2-3 hours and the Wendy Thompson Hut is located near the head of the valley at 1830m on a bench about 500m past a small lake. 

From this Hut, you have access to some of the best backcountry skiing in South West British Columbia, Marriott Basin. Providing a pleasant alpine basin of lakes and meadows in relatively gentle terrain with good ski touring qualities. Popular ski tours include Pk 2300 which is the obvious choice for recreationalists staying at the hut, with a fantastic 300m run known as Honey Bronzed and Very Desirable. Other skiable runs include options in the Upper Marriott Basin, Mt Marriott, and Mt Rohr. While a sought after route/loop is known as the Haylemore-Spruce Creek Loop which provides excellent skiing in the headwaters of Hayle Creek & Spruce Creek east of the Hut.   

Keiths (Flavelle) Hut

BE AWARE - due to the large landslide on Mt.Joffre in 2019, access to this hut requires travelling near/over the landslide so the route can slightly change each year. Snow coverage on the landslide will dictate how challenging this is. Make sure to check this before hand.

Keiths (Flavelle) Hut - Built in 1988, it stands as one of the oldest mountaineering huts established here in the Coast Mountain Range. It is located on the side of Mt.Joffre in the treeline around 1650m.

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