McKirdy Mountain Y.O.R.A. Cabin
If you're looking for powder and super fun times in a cramped cabin - looking to drink one beer and pass out because you're too exhausted from the hike in. This is it!
All jokes aside, this YORA cabin has always been a favorite hike of mine. Whether its a quick trek up or a muli-day back country experience, each trip is always unique in its own way. Although this cabin is more difficult to access in the winter, it is still do-able and and well worth the extra effort. Up McKirdy meadows there is often tons of fresh powder, accompanied by spectacular views and a near-by cabin, making this an excellent place to earn your turns.
The trail head is only acessible by snowmobile during the winter months and begins at the very top of 5 Mile road. Where the main road begins to narrow, you can find a parking spot for your snowmobile and from here you begin walking. From the trail head to the cabin it is a 3.1 kilometre hike with a steady incline and a total of 500 metres in elevation gain. Snowshoes or ski touring gear with high traction skins are definitely recommended. Sometimes the trail is packed down and obvious, sometimes its not and you have to break trail, make sure to pay attention to the trail markings and ribbons on the 2 - 3 hour journey up. I've been up here quite a few times and I've still found myself a little lost without a packed trail in the winter, everything always looks so different with snow on it.
A good half way mark would be a wooden bench settled at the top of a steep hill, the views from here of Kinbasket Lake are rewarding and just a sneak peak of what awaits ahead.
Eventually you will find yourself at a junction with a sign that points you in the direction of either the YORA Cabin or McKirdy Meadows, you're almost there! Take the left hand turn towards the cabin, but make sure you side hill and don't proceed down hill of the gully, there are fairly obvious trail ribbons, you just need to find them first. I've totally made this mistake once and had an awful time trying to find the cabin in knee deep snow... in the dark. It wasn't pretty haha.
The cabin comes equipped with foamy's, a coleman cooking stove, pots, plates and utensils. You could comfortably fit 4 adults in the sleeping area upstairs (its also dog friendly!) It is wood stove heated with firewood provided. Water can be found in a small creek just metres from the cabin, and if that for some reason is not available, there is never a shortage of snow that can be melted down and boiled. Literally all you'll need to pack up is food, toilet paper, a sleeping bag and a green coleman propane tank (found at Home Hardware in town). We normally spend our nights playing cards and reading through the ancient guest log books provided. Make sure to share your experience in one of these books for the next person to enjoy!
Once you get settled in, the meadow is only a 30 minute hike away, this is where you will discover untouched powder and incredible views of the valley, Kinbasket Lake and on a good day, the king himself, Mount Robson. Directly behind the cabin is where you will find the trail that brings you there. Obviously if you're not comfortable taking this route, you can always back track to the "Cabin or Meadow" junction and follow the ribbons from there, although this route will take a little longer.
The meadow is a mellow slope. It's perfect for new skiers and boarders, or even for seasoned riders that haven't quite yet mastered the skill of shredding in the deep powder. If you're looking for something more technical, you'll find this on the back side of the meadow and in the surrounding areas. It's a great place for any skill set!
When it finally comes time to pack up your things and head out, you will be tempted to try and ski or snowboard down the trail that you had originally hiked up. This challenging at times ride is easily the fastest way out. Make sure to pay close attention to your surroundings while riding down the gladed run, because it isn't uncommon for people to ride too far, making it hard and sometimes impossible to find the hiking trail. Going too far may result in having to hike a fair distance back up to find the main trail. Just a fair warning! Happy touring everyone!