Built in 1998, this spacious hut sits in a subalpine basin at 1715 m beside Long Lake. It sleeps more than 25 people. The hut is open to non-motorized, non-commercial users.
Backcountry skiers visit the hut for dry snow and challenging runs. In summer, Mt. Gandalf, Mt. Aragorn, and Mt. Shadowfax are fun scrambling destinations. The VOC discourages visits to the area between August 15th and October 15th, when it is sensitive habitat for grizzly bears.
The hut has a wood stove (winter use only) and an outhouse. Firewood should be used sparingly, because it is carried in by volunteers. A creek south of the hut is open year-round for drinking water. For more information, see the VOC Wiki.
Blackwater Creek FSR is ploughed in winter up to the start of Phelix Creek FSR near km 13. This is the winter parking lot. In summer, drive 4.4 km up Phelix Creek FSR to the barricades at the second bridge and park (2WD accessible; keep left at the fork before the bridge). Walk up the road through a few cutblocks until the road becomes a trail and climbs through mature forest to Long Lake. If the lake is not frozen, walk around the north side to the hut. The total distance is 5.5 km and 600 m elevation gain (9.9 km and 1090 m in winter). In winter and especially in spring, there is overhead hazard along Phelix Creek FSR from large avalanche paths.
2021 Phelix GPS track
We parked at the roadblock before the bridge. Nice easy hike in, trail was a bit overgrown at the start but opens up as you get into the forest. Lots of muddy/minor flooded sections along the trail. Not bad all in all.
But be warned, BUGS WERE TERRIBLE!! Black flies to start the hike, millions of mosquitoes around the lake and a cloud of mosquitoes and horseflies to follow you up your objectives.
The stove at the cabin was looking in pretty rough shape. A few extra fuel bottles waiting to be used up, although with the state of the current stove, almost work bringing your own along to use instead.
Aug. 10, 2022
Trail up to the hut quite wet and muddy after the broken car and by the lake. The lake is high and has flooded out some of the trail around it. Pretty bushy at the start of the approach hike and very bushy on the trail north of the hut (towards the upper lakes and Shadowfax). Bug season is in full swing. Loads of folks (upwards of 40?) came through during the four nights I spent up there! But overall, wonderful scrambling weather up there!
Someone left a puffy and a sleeping mat - email me if these are yours!
Aug. 8, 2022
The rockslide/washout a few km up the Phelix Creek logging road was narrow, but driveable in a lowish SUV and also in a Toyota Sienna van. It looks a bit scary though so about half of the hikers stopped before it and walked the extra 3 km or so up the road. The trail itself was a bit overgrown but in good condition and well marked. Going around Long Lake was quite wet because the lake is flooding the path. It's now summer up there, so there's not all that much snow except on N aspects and the scrambles to Aragorn and Shadowfax were in good condition. I didn't actually go to the hut, but apparently there were many people camping around it and just a few sleeping inside.
Aug. 1, 2022
Approach trail to hut and up to gandalf in great shape! Snow started around 1600m, ground around hut extremely wet due to melt. Minimal post-holing on approach to hut and Mt. Gandalf.
Took about 2h40min up to hut, 2hr back down to car from hut.
Crux sections of Gandalf and Aragorn are free of snow, except the gandalf-aragorn col has significant overhead cornices.
Extra socks a must if you want dry feet :)
July 18, 2022
The road has a big washout before 1 km mark, only driveable from there with a 4WD up to 4 km. Intermitent snow starts at 1550 m and continuous snow at 1650 m. The lake is half frozen still, travel around the lake is very slow due to soft snow. We got soaked feet due to the soft snow which make you fall into snow covered creeks. Hut is in great condition.
July 10, 2022
Our 2WD hatchback made it all the way to the 2nd bridge, 4.4 km up the Phelix Creek FSR.
About 1km from the trailhead, there was a 2m wide knee-deep water crossing. We hit snow at around 1600m of elevation. All of us had snow spikes and we wouldn't have made it without them. The further we went up, the thicker and softer the snow became. We fell into the snow multiple times, sometimes waist-deep. The hike in took us a bit more than 3 hours. Snowshoes would probably be useful.
The snow on the lake and surrounding area was still melting. The scenery was absolutely beautiful as usual.
The hut was in good condition. We did not use the heater but it was warm inside. The ventilation fan and lighting were operational.
July 3, 2022
Parked at 600m up the FSR as the washout area was impossible in our VW golf all wheel drive. Hiked up the FSR to the trail head and hit snow about 3/4 of the way up. Snow is soft and snow shoes are a must as post holing was happening even in snow shoes. Because of the melting of tree wells there were many areas where we had to tread carefully on the bridge between trees and had a few close calls. Took us over 6h to hut.
Hut was well worth it though. Snow is melting around the lake in a beautiful turquoise ribbon. It was beautifully clean and spacious for the two of us. Roof is coming apart and needs some repair.
Tried to hike to Gandolf the next day but the amount of former avalanche activity turned us back. We enjoyed a leisurely day in front of the hut instead.
Going out was a challenge as snow was slippery but we made it without incident in around 4h. There is a lot of bear activity in the area – lots of Scat and we saw two black bears on the way out.
June 13, 2022
Took us 6hours in. We were taking our time because of blisters and also this was the first overnight tour for one group member. The first 1.5km is dirt from where we parked our cars. Some of us wore hiking shoes, others just did it in ski boots. The snow is slushy and melting fast on the logging road.
The forest was icy and challenging due to the steepness of the trail.
We skiied Peregrine col, and Return of the King. Peregrine col was lovely. About 10cm of fluffy powder over more hard pack snow. We took the high entrance in to Return of the King. There were some lovely parches, but also some variability (cookies). We also did a run left of Cabin Hill Left that was great.
Other then some very large cornices which we avoided as much as possible conditions were stable.
The cabin itself was in good condition besides the mice scurrying around at night.
We also saw some bear track on the way out.
April 18, 2022
Hard to get to the hut with over 60cm new snow. Skis on from Birkenhead Provincial Park Gate. Hut clean and warm. Skied laps on cabin hill, great time!! Remote triggered size ones on unsupported convexities. Witnessed size two loose wet on s aspect. Size two slab on Gandalf west col. Great skiing on mellow terrain. Skied out before warming until 1k marker! Great trip, first time in area.
April 4, 2022
Hut is in good shape but seems a little saddened by seeing the end of the season! We were the only one at the hut.
Approaching the hut:
Do yourself a favor and bring ski crampon (minimaly boot crampon). Last 3 km up to the lake is in terrible conditions but still doable on skis. Open areas are soft enough but in tight trees, snow is hardpack, crusty and with lots of bumps to circle around. Skiing down was done slowly and safely but consider conditions in your planning.
Skiing from the hut:
Variable conditions but overall, very decent spring skiing. N aspect still offer some dry dust on crust.
We saw a lot of snow coming down from S aspect caused by solar radiation and warming. So far, nothing large, mostly small cornices, wind lips, point of release around rocky areas.
Best skiing was found on N-NW aspect in lower angle terrain. We stayed away from large steep S aspect slopes. Skiing was fast. Lots of debris in Return of the King.
Run of the week: West Peregrine col
April 1, 2022
Stayed at the hut between March 26-28. Initially had the intention to stay until March 29 but the days were getting warmer and snow worse so decided to head out early
Decent riding to be had at higher elevations and earlier in the day anyhow.
Signs of previous wet slides at all aspects.
The trail had a few bald spots around the 1km mark requiring hiking short distances.
Going up, the trail in the trees was icy.
Cut off much of the trail on the way down by riding the south aspect of Cabin hill. Snow had rotten on the trail to the point that the "snow bridges" on a few creek crossings collapsed.
Melt seemed pretty rapid between our day in/ day out. Without new snow/colder temps the trail will quickly require more hiking down low.
Plenty of firewood in the crawl space if you crawl far enough. Had a fire the 2nd night and stocked up the pile beside the stove.
As previous post stated there is one or more rodents so stow your food away and hang your bags.
March 29, 2022
During our second night, 2 of us heard loud chewing all night. We both got up at separate times to look for the culprit. The other guy actually saw the rodent in the back of the lower cupboard in the south corner. He said it was a mouse but I think it was a pack rat which is why I’m taking the time to report it. When he showed me the size using his fingers he showed a good 10 cms, a bit on the large side for a mouse. I also don’t think a mouse makes that much noise chewing. You might want to investigate this since packrats do make a mess, as I’m sure you know.
We didn’t have a fire as it wasn’t that cold or wet so not sure about the wood stock.
March 27, 2022
The snow was great and very stable on Sunday/Monday but it began to rain at the hut on Tuesday evening. Snow was very heavy at time of departure on Wednesday morning.
March 23, 2022
Since my first trip up in 2019, the lights on timers and the woodstove are huge upgrades and made a -13 night very comfortable! The trail was in excellent condition and took us approximately 5-5.5 hours to get up, skins on at the car. The sun is causing a fair bit of melt on the road out, so watch for exposed rocks on the exit. Skiing was incredible, we stayed low angle and conservative. Some avalanche crowns on south facing slopes where it was quite sun affected, so Cabin Hill and the Col were our favourite spots of the trip.
March 20, 2022
Hut: As described, it's very well insulated so leave the -15 bag at home. There is lots of firewood in the crawl space; this firewood should be burned this season as it is starting to rot down there. Don't know if the propane heater buddy is still around; in any case, it is not needed as the wood stove is so effective in heating the hut. We found a propane BBQ/grill but no two burner stove. Both of said items could have been in the lower cabinets which were not explored fully, but at any rate, I suggest moving away from propane as it is heavy to transport in and out and inefficient as a fuel source compared to whisperlites/jetboils/reactors, etc.
Snow: There is a sun crust on South slopes which storm snow is having trouble bonding to. We accidentally triggered two size 1 slides on this layer. N-facing snow, especially at elevation, is staying cold, dry, and is very stable with no troubling bed surface underneath it. All ridgelines should be watched for windslab.
March 20, 2022
Road was in great condition. Skins on at the car, easy travel until the trees. Things got a bit icy in the trees but manageable at a slower pace. Wood stock was very low, use sparingly. Be aware if you got up there, there may not be wood and bring fire starter or paper. Snow conditions were top notch. We skied the shaded north facing slopes and the snow was incredible. South facing were a bit crusty and sun affected but still fun.
March 6, 2022
A group of four VOCers stayed at the hut Feb 22-24th. Blackwater road was still pretty icy on our way out, but no chains were needed as we had a 4wd. The trail into the hut was also very icy in the forest and it was faster for some of us to bootpack rather than skinning. It took us about 7.5 hours total to get to the hut. We were the only people at the hut and we tried to use the firewood sparingly. There seems to be enough left to last the rest of the winter. There were definitely mice around at night so make sure to hang up your food. We had sunny weather for most of our trip and the best snow was found on north facing slopes.
Feb. 24, 2022
4 of us were at the hut Feb 13-16 and found excellent snow in sun protected, N-facing slopes. Jan 6 rain crust is present, but saw no signs of instability with an ECT or while skiing/skinning. South faces had breakable crust. Strong winds night of Feb 15 created a 10-20 cm windslab on exposed terrain that was easy to trigger while skiing.
Trail up to hut is straightforward to find, and the last section in the forest is incredibly icy unless passing through in the afternoon. Splitboarders wouldn't have made it without ski crampons, skiers were fine without because of the warm day. Took us 6 hours including long breaks. Ski out through the dense forest is very challenging, especially for snowboarders.
Hut is in great shape and stayed warm enough with only a small fire. Should be enough wood for the winter season. Mice definitely scurry around at night, and we hung up all food and eating vessels. Outhouse is fully functioning and creek is accessible for water.
Feb. 16, 2022
A group of three went to the hut last weekend (12-13 Feb 2022). We took snowshoes and not skis due to the weather forecast and avalanche warning, as we thought we would just go to the hut and next day back. First 5K, on a crusty logging road, we had to avoid a couple of snowmobiles making their way up to the other mountain. On the way back the crust was gone. Once we left the logging road, the snow softened but was quite wet. The very different story came in the steep part in the forrest. Mostly super icy way up made us feel glad we had snowshoes and spikes instead of skis. That changed when we reached the top. Powder everywhere and we wished we has skis with us. A group of split-boarders told us they dag a pit on the north aspects and there was no facet-crust layer unlike on the south facing slopes. The north slopes were just wonderful. Only 6 people including us stayed in the hut. There is a smart access to the stream close to the hut. Not much wood left, though we only used a bit.
Feb. 12, 2022
Road is alternating icy and slushy, depending on sun exposure. A couple of minor mud slides partially block the road at around km 4. Trail is super well marked, a bit icy but otherwise easy to ski. No major windfall blocking trail. Cabin is in good shape. Trap door to crawl space/wood storage is broken (one of the T&G boards has broken off). No fire extinguisher. Everything else in good shape.
Feb. 10, 2022