Wendy Thompson Magical Full Moon Hut Trip
I had the distinct pleasure of spending 4 days/3 nights at the Wendy Thompson hut in the Canadian backcountry from 2/14 -2/17. After delaying our entrance by a day due to a avalanche bulletin regarding a PWL, we loaded up the backpacks (and a sled w/ beer and 2-burner stove) and set off with low expectations regarding snow quality and on high alert for instability.
As always, the motto of "under-promise, over-deliver" worked extremely well and we were all thrilled to find new snow, cold temps, sunny skies, and no signs of scary weak layers. We spent the next 2 days exploring the embarrassingly rich playground that is Marriott basin. There is everything here from bouncy low-angle trees, to TGR-worthy cliff drops, 3k continuous descents and steep lines. The clear weather was awesome for getting our bearings, and everyone we met in the hut was friendly and down-to-earth.
Truly special to get into the backcountry for a long stretch during the winter and settle into the rhythm of eat, ski, chop wood, boil water, ski, eat, sleep. The added bonus of good snow, good company, and full-moon party laps left me feeling truly lucky.
sledding in the goods
Wendy Thompson hut in all her glory
up we go!
Full Moon Skinning
Thanks for the report, and the great pictures. Looked like the perfect trip, I want pictures of kneed deep powder figure 8’s.
Rad, especially moonlight skiing. Is the hut cook stove still there? How about firewood level? I've got a trip coming up
@kamtron, there was a cook stove but it was locked up in the caretakers room...we sledded in a 2-burner cause there were 6 of us and we were there for 4 days so it felt worth it to cook big group meals. There seemed to be plenty of firewood and one of the caretakers told me there was a new shipment coming in a few weeks. Although there are copious signs inside asking for wood to be used sparingly. Feel free to PM if you have other questions!
Hey eat ski sleep guy!
I also have a trip coming up.
How was it bringing a pull sled in. I just got a cheap sled and was wondering if I should bother making poles for pulling it in or would string do just fine?
FWIW: I have also skied into the WTH -- the middle section of the approach involved sidehilling through moderately spaced trees -- that have had tree bombed crust all three times I skied in there. That section would be challenging to navigate with a sled towed by rope on the way up.
The Paris Expedition sled is a good platform for a sled with a robust harness system to enable skiing up and down.
Another approach that people have told me about is a roll up plastic sheet type sled. These let you drag your big pack on the snow with your day pack on simple terrain , so you only need to carry the heavy load on you back when the terrain is trickier. I estimate that you could drag you load maybe 1/2 the distance to the WTH using such a setup. (on the logging road portion lower down) and once you reach the open country at the 1st lake.
Bringing in a sled was challenging (in a fun kinda way) and tiring. Randy describes the middle section well - that is by far the crux. However, I would say it was much more difficult on the descent than the ascent. The paris expedtion sled he recommends is also solid. I am unfamiliar with the other kind.
I will say, we were there for 4 days with 6 people, and the sled was primarily used for a 2-burner stove and some beer. Even then, it was slightly unnecessary, but was nice to cook big group meals. If I was going with any fewer people or for less nights, I would skip it. You can bring and use backpacking stoves just fine!
If you do decide to sled it, you are absolutely going to want rigid poles (stays) for the front, and likely a loop of rope on the back for a 'tailgunner' who can help you out on trickier parts. Make sure you get long enough stays so that your skis won't interfere with the sled, especially once you get into steeper terrain.
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