Explore the Coastal Mountains of Vancouver Island
From alpine lakes to open ridges that connect with other summits, there is a vast amount of beautiful terrain to explore from the hut. The Island’s mountains are known for being rugged, wet, bushy and adventurous. While this environment is not particularly family friendly, if you do choose to make the effort then you may experience moments that can fill your soul.
A 4x4 or AWD is required to drive the steep gravel road that leads to the trailhead. More access information is available on the Section’s website: https://www.huts.accvi.ca/
You will be visiting the traditional territory of Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nations. First Nations were the first people to summit many of the peaks in this area including 5040 Peak. They have been on Vancouver Island for thousands of years and have developed a rich culture and history. It is a privilege to share this land with them. When visiting this area please keep in mind the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation saying “His-shuk-nish-tsa-waak” which means “We Are All One”.
Modern Backcountry Accommodation
The hut runs on solar, wood pellets and propane. Solar energy is stored in a bank of batteries that power the lighting, fans and auger in the wood pellet stove. There are several power outlets for charging personal devices.
This is the only ACC backcountry hut that uses a high efficiency wood pellet stove for heating. This system is clean and straightforward to operate: guests simply ensure there are pellets in the stove’s hopper and then adjust the control dials to the desired temperature. The wood pellet stove helps ensure that visitors do not cut down the area’s old krummholz trees for firewood.
The hut has four propane cooktop burners. It is expensive to fly in propane so we ask guests to conserve propane through measures such as preheating water in a large pot on top of the wood pellet stove.
The outhouse uses an innovative urine/solid separating system. This is the first time this technology has been used in the ACC’s hut network. In the absence of urine, solid human waste can be decomposed without any bulking agents such as wood chips. Urine diversion is the critical component in creating a low-hazard and low-odor waterless toilet.
An Area of Extremes
The hut is 12km away from the wettest place in North America: Henderson Lake (or Hucuktlis Lake, meaning 'place way inside’). On average this lake receives almost 7m of precipitation a year. It can be torrentially wet in the coastal mountains.
In winter all of this precipitation makes for huge snowfalls and a deep snow pack. The average peak snowpack at the hut is 4m deep. The immense amount of snow makes for great skiing and a long ski season that often extends into early summer. IMPORTANT: the ski terrain is steep and complex. If you’re coming in winter then you should be an advanced skier who is well trained in avalanche safety. Appropriate knowledge, fitness, experience, equipment and safety precautions are required.
The hut is located near Port Alberni which is the hottest spot on Vancouver Island. Summer temperatures at the hut exceed 35°. Because of the coastal influence winter temperatures usually do not drop below -10° (without the wind chill).
5040 Peak is situated above Barkley Sound. Strong marine winds funnel up the Sound and then accelerate as they are squeezed into valleys that head up to the peak. Hurricane force winds occur at the hut. In January 2018, Category 2 hurricane winds of over 160km/hr were recorded at the coast. Winds may have been considerably higher at the hut.
Keep on top of weather forecasts and be prepared for extreme conditions in the coastal mountains.