ALPINE CLUB OF CANADA ASULKAN CABIN
Because we feature many of the classic Rogers Pass tours elsewhere on the site (see here) this write-up will focus on the Asulkan Cabin itself. Scroll down for some pics and don’t miss the “cook’s tour” video at the bottom of the page.
Location, Location, Location.
The Asulkan Cabin is situated at the head of the Asulkan Valley, in Glacier National Park, at 2100 metres, in the middle of some of the best skiing in Rogers Pass. Rogers Pass arguably has some of the best backcountry ski touring anywhere. Add up those facts and it’s pretty clear that this is a good place to be if you are as backcountry skier. To get to the cabin, start at the parking lot off the highway to your right and before the interpretation centre and motel, if you are coming from Revelstoke. Follow the trail along an old railway road until you come to a clearing (historic site of the old Glacier Hotel). Head right here. Go left and you’ll arrive at the Wheeler Hut. The trail snakes along next to the Asulkan Creek and through a number of terrain traps, including the infamous Mousetrap near where the trail opens up into the Asulkan Valley. This is where the views start getting big and spectacular. The last stretch is up through trees and over a couple knobs ‘til you eventually come to the cabin. If you are breaking trail, this slog in can take as long as five hours, easy. Give yourself lot’s of time and enjoy the walk.
Big Views of the terrain.
Light at the end of the tunnel. After a major slog in, the cabin makes itself visible.
Cabin profile looking east.
The front door with the Seven Steps of Paradise and Young’s Peak behind.
The cabin is a “panabode” style building that sleeps twelve at capacity. It seems like there is always an extra bunk or two but don’t count on it. All the bunks are upstairs and feature comfortable foamies so there’s no need to bring a mattress. Bunk choice is a factor. The first night I made a bad move and slept on one that didn’t really accommodate my 6’2”. See who is in your group and work it out. If need be, some of the bunks can be moved away from the wall freeing up more space. As with any hut situation, ear plugs are a must. There always seems to be at least one snorer in the group. One of the recent upgrades is that the thermostat is now on a timer. This means that the hut can’t get cooking too hot in the night if someone neglects to turn off the heat (or chooses not to). It you like colder sleeps, go for one of the bottom bunks and position yourself near a window.
The bunks upstairs.
The cooking possibilities at the Asulkan are pretty impressive. A four-burner propane cook top, good quality, thick- bottomed cookwear, and all the plates and utensils you need mean that if you choose, you can get ambitious with your meals (if you don’t mind hauling the food in). With the cabin at capacity, you have to take turns at dinnertime but there’s enough room to accommodate everyone. There are two tables which can sit 6+ each—perfect for a meal or a game of cards. Water comes from melting snow in one of the big pots provided. There’s a grey water system and all the relevant instructions are posted.
Good stove situation.
Dining and chill area shot from above.
Ok. We said we were going to focus on the hut, but maybe just a little on the skiing. It is at least half the reason you’ll be at the cabin in the first place. Weather and avalanche conditions are obviously huge factors but, regardless, there’s always some good skiing/snowboarding to be enjoyed in relative safety. The Seven Steps of Paradise, Asulkan Pass, Sapphire Col and the Dome Glacier can be reached as day trips from the hut. If things are sketchy, there’s great skiing to be had on the Triangle Moraine and the Tree Triangle directly below the hut. A reminder for you—we list many of the routes here on the site so check ‘em out.
Powder in the Tree Triangle.
The Triangle Moraine. Worked.
Looking down valley with Sapphire Col just out of the frame at left.
Booking for the Asulkan Cabin is now done through the Alpine Club of Canada. For more info on the cabin, click here. Reservations are done with the ACC by telephone at: 1 403 678 3200, or you can email them at: info@AlpineClubofCanada.ca . The hut books up way in advance (especially for the weekends) and advance bookings can only be done by ACC members. The tab is 36$ a night for non-members. There are many pricing levels, so check out the ACC site or call them for the full scoop. Whatever you do, you should start planning several months in advance.
The cabin is in the Rogers Pass area of Glacier National Park, between Revelstoke and Golden B.C.
Price: $36/night/person CDN
Ammenities: Propane heat, 4-burner propane stove, foamies, dishes, cutlery, out-houses
Location: Glacier National Park, Rogers Pass
Spending time at the Asulkan Cabin, you feel like you are at the centre of the backcountry skiing universe. There are few other huts, if any, that are accessible by foot/ski which offer a snow/big terrain combo of this calibre out the cabin’s front door. Hitting it on a good day, with good weather, the skiing experience is truly legendary.
The slog in can be a little rough for the uninitiated or if there has been fresh snow (a mixed blessing).
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike huts for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation. Check back mid-season to see how our review stands up to our in-the-field testing.