Brian Waddington Hut, British Columbia TR


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

This past weekend I made my way up to the Waddington Hut in British Columbia. BC is full of incredible huts and every time I visit one I have a blast. I’d never been to the Waddington Hut before but it’s been on the list for a while. It was great to explore a new area and meet a bunch of new people.

Boarding down the south facing slopes of Frodo in the sunrise.

We arrived at the trailhead on Friday around 2:00 pm, and made it up to the hut in four hours. We expected there to be several other groups but arrived to only find one, a nice surprise. The next day dawned with good weather so we headed up to Mt. Frodo, and Mt. Peregrine, small peaks above the hut. The north faces held nice pow and we made a few laps.

That night a few more groups arrived bringing the total to 30 people. The Waddington Hut is fairly small and it doesn’t have a stove or heater, so it was great to have the extra bodies to warm the place up. One group even hauled up a giant propane canister and heater which helped even more. 30 people was just about the hut’s capacity. Over the years I’ve learned to go to huts expecting them to be overcrowded, especially on weekends. It’s most definitely not a wilderness experience but it’s fun to enjoy the camaraderie of a bunch of other powder hungry skiers.

Drying gear with the luxurious propane heater.

Skinning up to Frodo-Gandalf col on the first day.

Bobby slashing the north face of Frodo.

Bobby slashing pow on our second run down Frodo.

Elliot enjoying north facing powder.

Sunday morning, in a bid to head a little further out and avoid the other skiers, we woke at 5 am, and headed out. We climbed to a low point on Mt. Frodo once again and dropped down the south face into the adjacent valley. The steep north facing lines rising out of the valley had teased us the day before. We managed to make five laps on incredible steep north facing shots. We headed back to the hut shortly before sunset and I certainly felt the day in my sore legs.

Sunrise on our second ski day, looking at the lines we would put tracks in later in the day.

Kyle scouting the drop in with clouds moving in behind.

Monday morning we woke late, packed up, and headed out. The trail out went surprisingly quickly. Most of it was downhill. We made short work of the drive and made it back to Bellingham in time for Casa Que Pasa burritos. I broke my personal record and finished one and a half of their delicious monsters. Once again, of course, the stellar British Columbia hut system delivers. Now why can’t we have this in Washington?

Map below shows hut location in BC.


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Comments

41 Responses to “Brian Waddington Hut, British Columbia TR”

  1. Lisa Dawson February 20th, 2013 10:17 am

    Nice TR, Louie. Makes me want to be back in BC!

  2. Kyle Miller February 20th, 2013 10:58 am

    WOW! that north facing slope is $$$$$

  3. Bobby O. February 20th, 2013 11:05 am

    I want to go back! Rad shots and thanks for the trip report!

  4. Carl February 20th, 2013 11:13 am

    Was there three weeks ago, a great hut…so much terrain.

  5. TC February 20th, 2013 11:19 am

    Nice trip and a great hut!
    Lovely hiking from there in the summer too… It is a Varsity Outdoors Club (UBC) hut named after a VOC/BCMC member who was killed in an avalanche back in 1996. Brian was a great guy and someone who did a lot of major ski traverse exploration in the central and northern Coast Mountains of BC.

  6. Bob Coleman February 20th, 2013 11:49 am

    I don’t think we have huts like this because a vocal minority population wants and achieves the blocking of lands and recreational development behind “wilderness”. Two trips to Europe tell me that governments in alpine areas want their people to flourish along with the tourists, there you see lifts and trams, and trains getting people in and out of the alpine. And once there private groups and clubs running huts. And if they aren’t hiding behind wilderness, they hide behind excessive regulation.

  7. Samuel Savard February 20th, 2013 11:55 am

    This seams like an amazing spot! That north face downhill… wow! I’ll be dreaming of it for a while! Thanks for the report, I’ll definitely check it out next time I’m in BC

  8. Phil February 20th, 2013 12:19 pm

    Hm, I guess I disagree and partially agree with Bob.
    I think the ‘wilderness’ needs as much protection and regulation against development as possible since the pressures on it are so immense. In addition, the ‘minority’(?) who prefer self-propelled travel and wilderness to lifts and motorized access do have rights too. However, there are wonderful places for remote wilderness hut development . And there are certainly places in North America that could benefit from a Euro-style hut development. It all depends on the location.

    Remote, wilderness huts like the VOC B.Waddington hut are very difficult to get permitted. The vast majority of huts in BC are on public land and they have many hoops to get through if done legally (and if done illegally, get torn down or converted to public huts when discovered). I think that is appropriate as long as the regulations are clear and valid.

    For those who have skied in Europe, they know there is certainly an attraction to having some Euro hut options on this side of the pond. Not only Alps huts – check out the hut systems in Norway! Travel super light. Good beer and pastries (for Lou). Not luxurious and ultra-expensive, but comfortable and accessible to everyone in terms of effort and cost. Plus, there is often an amazing public transit system to allow everyone to get to the lifts very easily. Take a train with your skis. Hop on the lift. Skin to the hut and start your trip. Voila! That won’t all work here, but I’d settle for the beer at the top!

    However, that type of hut provides a completely different experience than a remote wilderness cabin. It is all good…. just different.

    Where would an ideal place for a Euro-hut system to be developed in North America?

  9. Lou Dawson February 20th, 2013 1:09 pm

    I agree with Bob. As for development, most of our public land that’s been made into Wilderness is USFS land that had little to no development pressure and was simply made into Wilderness because doing so made a politician look good and a wilderness club feel good.. Presently, any truly destructive development on public land has to jump through so many regulatory hoops it’ll never been an issue again and more Wilderness to prevent development is not necessary. For example, try to log or mine anywhere. You can do it, but it’s not going to be huge and destructive, instead, it’ll be tightly regulated and strike a balance in terms of our need for natural resources and natural land. A horrible unintended consequence of the big-W Wilderness worship of the past decades has been to stifle all sorts of healthy outdoor recreation and tourism. I’ve said many times here on Wildsnow that it’s indeed nice having some Wilderness. But we don’t need any more. USFS and BLM land managed for conservation as well as multi-use does fine. There was a time that I could have been assassinated for stating the above. Presently, I’m constantly amazed how many people have come to agree with this point of view — liberals and conservatives alike.

  10. Bob Coleman February 20th, 2013 2:39 pm

    Finding the right balance is quite the effort. Anyway, I’m saving for a little place on Hooks Spur just so I’ll have a Whole Foods nearby. Honeymooned in Aspen in 81, but only finally hiked to the top of Highlands in 2011. For me, I was brave and had a great ski down the east ridge then into the trees. At least there are some huts in CO.

  11. Cindy February 20th, 2013 7:47 pm

    I went to the Waddington a few times when I lived in Canada. Now back in the lower 48, I miss those huts. Thanks for the beautiful photos and words that brought back good memories.

  12. Jordo February 20th, 2013 8:19 pm

    Mmm, Casa Que Pasa . . .

    BC may have the pow and the huts, but the Ham has got the Mexican food! Seriously, there is a massive lack of decent Mexican up here.

  13. Bar Barrique February 20th, 2013 9:06 pm

    Well; the differences between British Columbia, and, Colorado are mostly geopolitical IMO. The current government of BC is inclined to privatize, and, monetize any public asset without regard for the general public interest.
    Many residents of BC have valid concerns about the possibility that the Government will grant forestry companies far more control over public land.
    The good news is that there is an election scheduled for the spring, and, the incumbents are not expected to do well at the polls.
    In my opinion; the real reason that almost every interest group has (generally) been accommodated in BC has more to do with a relatively small population relative to the land base, rather than any more pragmatic reason.

    Cheers;

    Bar

  14. Terrance February 20th, 2013 9:30 pm

    How can you call it wilderness if you’ve been there?

  15. Peter February 20th, 2013 11:20 pm

    There doesn’t need to be a conflict between hut systems and wilderness/conservation values – we have an excellent hut system in the mountains here in New Zealand without any degradation of the natural environment (to my perception anyway). These are not Euro style hust but more like the BC ones – small footprint, minimal facilities but clean and warm and a great place to spend the night and keep dry & comfortable.

  16. Wookie1974 February 21st, 2013 2:19 am

    I’ve chimed in on this subject many times – but it bears saying once again: the Euro hut system, while comfortable and indeed a luxury, is not without its downsides. First and foremost is that fact that the Alps are entirely civilized – its true that they have been for centuries, so perhaps this is the “normal” of our age. Any wildlife you see there that is bigger than a squirrel is heavily managed. (feeding, care, and culling) There are few places that one can say are remote – and in general, you will meet many other people recreating in most spots when you go for a tour or hike. A lift is generally (not always) in sight.
    I personally miss the feeling of true wilderness I had back in the States, at times. I’m not saying I would trade, no, but I would encourage all of you back there to see a middle road in all of this. Recreating Europe in the States would most probably not really work. (population densities are too low) and you would lose something in the process which you couldn’t easily get back. I think Lou has convinced me that the Wilderness we have in the States is enough. I didn’t always believe that, but he’s brought reasoned arguments that I can get behind, but I don’t see a great case for re-defining some of the existing Wilderness as Multi-Use. In my mind – a significant portion of the Wilderness out there should be a buffer against a future which we cannot perceive. It may seem excessive today – but who knows what the future will bring? I’m not talking about 10 or 20 year horizons – more like 200 to 300 year horizons. Setting some significant portion of land aside as essentially “untouchable” for that kind of time period makes sense to me. We can’t mess up things we leave alone – and we’ve messed up plenty of things in the past, even with the best of intentions

    Enough of the rant:

    Lou: what things really matter for an intact wilderness? (small w) I recognize this is probably an opinion, but I do care – and my voice matters – if only a little.

  17. Lou Dawson February 21st, 2013 6:35 am

    Wookie, your rant was less of a rant than my rant (grin), so good on you.

    Yeah, I don’t see any reason to de-comission our existing legal Wilderness, but I’d like to see more of the private land inholdings used wisely instead of being frittered away in land exchanges and such. Problem is, the vocal Wilderness fanatics go crazy when they even get a whiff of anyone with private land surrounded by Wilderness doing anything with it. For example, I’ve always felt it would be beautiful if a hut system such as 10th Mountain in Colorado would buy an inholding, then build a hut there. But they wouldn’t touch that one if their lives depended on it. Dong so is not politically correct.

    Above all, it is very important for backcountry recreation that we don’t make more legal Wilderness. We need our existing multi-use public land available so we can work out a system of use that includes resource extraction, motorized recreation — and human powered recreation. Yes, we can.

    In terms of the difference between us and western Europe, Alps in particular, yes indeed the combination of alpine agriculture and the outdoor recreation tradition has resulted in there being very little untouched land in the Alps that could be called wilderness by any definition. We simply do not have that in this country, even the vast majority of our non-Wilderness backcountry is relatively pristine — and many times actually less impacted that our legal Wilderness! But the lesson from that is that somewhat crowded land used for farming or logging can still be beautiful and viable — and provide wonderful human powered recreation.

    Incidentally, lots of land that is now legal Wilderness here in lower 48 states is not as pristine as we like to think, or at least how the politicians and Wilderness worshipers would like us to think.. Much of it has been logged, sometimes several times. Old mines abound. Wildfire is still suppressed resulting in unhealthy unnatural forests. Game management and sport hunting have resulted in a totally “unnatural” mix of wildlife (no wolves, over populated elk, for example). Eroded horse trails are common, and people trails have not fared much better. Snowmobilers still routinely encroach boundaries. And finally, recreation results in some areas that are incredibly crowded, such as many of our Colorado 14,000 foot peaks. In other words, in many cases the myth of “pristine Wilderness” is a rather ridiculous construct.

    What’s that all mean? Simply that land management for conservation combined with recreation need not focus on legal Wilderness. In fact, quite the opposite.

  18. Person you puked on. February 22nd, 2013 11:25 pm

    Nice trip report! You forgot to mention the part where you puked all over the hut and other people, then had no remorse about situation. I spent the next day washing puke out of all my overnight gear and it still stinks. Your group should be very ashamed on how you guys acted in the hut the entire weekend. It’s people like you that make me not want to stay in huts. Yes it is a shame don’t have huts in your own country.

  19. Toby Roessingh February 22nd, 2013 11:59 pm

    Waddington Hut Trip Report supplement

    You didn’t tell us about Sunday night, Louie. Please, allow me.

    To start, the Waddington Hut has a voluntary registration system. There were 14 people registered to stay last weekend and around 30 at the hut. If you plan to go, register here. You don’t have to, but you should. It helps everyone to plan and know what to expect.

    (most of personal attack redacted, including profanity)

    Then Louie gets sick. He throws up. On himself, on a few other people. He looks like he’s going to do it again and he doesn’t move. Someone says ‘Dude, you gotta get out of here’ and he wanders downstairs, leaving behind a loft packed tight with groggy skiers and a big mess. It’s mostly box wine.

    (attack redacted)

    Most of Louie’s party disowns him, since they ‘all only met a few days ago’. And they start making excuses – like ‘Well, he skied all day’. Um, like we didn’t.
    Louie won’t talk to anyone the next morning. No clean up. No apology. He just pretends it never happened. Like in this trip report.

    Communal huts don’t work unless everyone acts as if they’re part of the community.

    Check your egos at the door.

  20. Wookie February 23rd, 2013 12:31 am

    This just got good.

  21. Louie Dawson February 23rd, 2013 3:14 am

    Yep, I did throw up on your stuff, It was accidental, but completely my fault, I apologize.

    And wookie, yes, yes it did.

  22. Lou Dawson February 23rd, 2013 6:23 am

    Toby, we get that you’re angry and it sounds like Louie could have handled this better. But please leave of the heavy personal attacks and profanity. Sorry to hear Louie got sick and we get that you don’t like someone who was up at the hut. Wookie, don’t get your hopes up, we’re not going to become a forum for people to snark at each other about their experiences in a crowded hut, after the fact. Lou

  23. Lou Dawson February 23rd, 2013 7:14 am

    I’m glad I never threw up on anyone’s stuff at a hut (as far back as I remember, I’ve always made it to the toilet or door), but I’ve had some pretty embarrassing incidents. A few years ago in the Alps I was sleeping in the lager (bunkroom), coed, crowded, like sardines. I popped a few xanex to help sleep through the jetlag. Next morning I woke up and everyone in the lager was looking at me funny as we dressed. A few people said things like “are you all right? I got a really strange vibe, not bad, but different than the normal mumbled “morgan” while scrabbling for clothing and gear. Finally, a woman said something like “I’m glad to see you’re ok, you were screaming all night like you were being murdered by knives in your sleep.” I apologized as best I could with the language barrier, but felt like a total jerk for waking nearly everyone up through their earplugs. I got weird looks all through breakfast. Not stinkeye, but people seemed to be wondering if I was gonna’ get picked up by the rescue heli for a trip to a psychiatric hospital. Now I just take one of those little white pills instead of two (grin).

  24. powguy February 23rd, 2013 7:55 am

    Sounds like Louie could have done a better job apologizing. But this sounds a bit like airing dirty laundry (both literally and figuratively?). Lou, thanks for moderating. TGR is always available. What I want to know is if this is negative or positive in terms of Gnar points? Probably negative? But you have to wonder?

  25. Toby Roessingh February 23rd, 2013 8:12 am

    For the record, my original comment and Ricky’s trip report can be found here:

    thefulldudemen.blogspot.com

  26. ryanl February 23rd, 2013 11:34 am

    Stick the hog Louie!!!

    i think you handled the situation perfectly.

  27. Bill February 23rd, 2013 12:03 pm

    To me, Toby’s comments are more a reflection of his lack or grace rather than Louie’s lack of consideration. Does not sound like someone worth listening to.

  28. Rob February 23rd, 2013 12:12 pm

    Throwing up in a shared backcountry lodge is not cool, appropriate or fair to other users… especially if it was a result of excessive boozing.

    On the flipside, using the internet to shame someone is akin to acting like an immature teenager.

    I would be disappointed if either type of character showed up while I was enjoying the backcountry.

  29. Wookie February 23rd, 2013 12:24 pm

    These are community huts. If youve used them any amount of time youll have had expiriences like these, and worse, which take a lot of the fun out of using them and are also a major factor in closing some huts. A bit of shaming here is perhaps not comfortable, but shame is an effective and appropriate tool to ensure a change in behavior. I dont think it was out of call here, and Louie took his lumps.

    Somebody involved needs to bestow a light-hearted nickname, so that this may never be forgotten.

  30. J February 23rd, 2013 1:10 pm

    Live and learn. My most embarrassing hut moment came when, in the middle if the night, I half asleep and half inebriated, stumbled to the corner of the lager and took a long, loud piss on a beautiful blonde, a gal who had flirted with me that evening. She screamed and woke up everyone. It was so embarrassing, I don’t even remember the rest of the trip.

  31. Dirk February 23rd, 2013 3:08 pm

    J, don’t feel too bad, once I also mysteriously got up one night and took a loud pee on the floor of the storage closet….but at least I feel better that I missed the pretty blond.

    I dunno Louie, you got to know that they (probably) have the internet in Canada and someone was gonna call you out on this one. In the meantime, I do think a lightharted nickname is in order

  32. Wookie February 23rd, 2013 3:35 pm

    Jeez – next time I sleep in a hut, Im bringing a hazmat suit.

    So J – you get her number? I mean, you did mark your territory….

  33. Dave February 23rd, 2013 4:45 pm

    How about humping your bunk mate in your sleep? And to make it worse, it was a team building trip for a new job. Needless to say, I didn’t work there long.

  34. Lou Dawson February 23rd, 2013 4:49 pm

    Just got back from skiing.

    Good to see some humor here guys, this could have gotten a bit heavy.

    You can imagine how I feel about using our blog for shaming by name, but totally deleting the posts would have been wrong as well. A bit of a tough spot but we try to do what’s best. I did think it a bit over the top for Toby to so vehemently attack two individuals directly by name. I mean, throwing stones in glass houses and all. But he did have the chops to use his own real name instead of hiding behind a fake name. And I would have rather seen Louie own up to this in the trip report since it sounded like a real bummer for everyone (including both Toby and Louie). Like I said, tough situation for a moderated blog comment string.

    As for clever nicknames, I could see that devolving real quick into faux insults. I’d ask you guys to not start that here. Do it in the bar when you’re all having a beer together and laughing about each other’s imperfections.

    thanks, Lou (the older)

  35. Lou Dawson February 23rd, 2013 4:51 pm

    Dave, I think that’s happened more than once.

  36. Dillon February 23rd, 2013 4:58 pm

    Doesn’t sound like Louie and his group made many friends on this trip. Puking on a bunch of people in the middle of the night, not assisting in cleaning up the mess you just made and then not apologizing or even acknowledging your poor form is…poor form. That behavior is fine when its a single group of friends but to negatively impact the experience of strangers in an over-crowded hut is pretty bogus. Hopefully Louie learns from this and grows up a bit.

  37. Dillon February 23rd, 2013 5:10 pm

    PS. My comment came off a little more “high-horsey” than I actually intended. God knows I’m glad I got through that age-bracket before the whole internet thing blew up.

  38. Lou Dawson February 23rd, 2013 5:57 pm

    It’s all right Dillon, you made a good point. I’d agree that it’s pretty disturbing that something like this happens and instead of just being handled within a social group of people who’ve actually met each other in person, we somehow think it’s appropriate to work it over on the web with total strangers. I’ve been taken to task many times over the years for being “judgmental,” and probably deserved it, and I’ve certainly given up much of mine and my family’s privacy in return for a publishing business. Get back to me in about 20 more years and I’ll let you know if it was all worth it (grin). And if the web had been around when I was in my 20s, lord forbid! The nude dancing during Holloween would have shut down Youtube due to bandwidth issues (grin). Lou

  39. Ricky Federau (person you puked on) February 23rd, 2013 9:12 pm

    Hi Lou. My name is Ricky Federau. This thing got great while I was out skiing all day! The Internet is great for holding people accountable. The issue is not about embarrassment or age, this is about an adults behavior and lack of common sense of basic civilized standards.

  40. Terrance February 24th, 2013 11:12 am

    Louie just tried out a variation of the Roger Pass tip where “We feasted, and went to sleep to blowing wind and pounding snow.” This time it was “blowing chunks and pounding head”

  41. Lou Dawson February 24th, 2013 11:20 am

    Everyone, Rick and Toby had their say, Louie apologized. Any Monday morning quarterbacking on mine or anyone’s part is probably going too far now. The jokes could be funny, but they’re at someone’s expense which is never pretty in the long run. Thus, I think it’s appropriate I just shut this down now. (Please note, if you’re seeing a messed up column layout, that’s a bug in the blog software, not part of shutting down comments.) ‘thanks, lou

Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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