IntroductionMore than 100 years after its inception, the Alpine Club of Canada plays a very visible and central role in the mountaineering community in Canada. The A.C.C. has 19 regional sections and supports a membership of approximately 10,000 people. Organized mountain adventures catering to virtually any mountain endeavor are provided to the A.C.C. membership throughout the year. But, for many, the true pride of the club is its network of 28 backcountry huts.
The backcountry huts of the A.C.C. provide shelter for climbers, mountaineers, hikers, backcountry skiers, cross-country skiers, or those simply looking to retreat to the mountains from the rigors of everyday life for a few days. And the huts themselves are as varied as the pursuits of those who sleep under their roofs. Some of the huts could be categorized as remote bivy shelters, while others, such as the Kokanee Glacier Cabin, are truly comfortable stays.
The Alpine Club of Canada owes much to the strong support of its volunteers and the huts are no exception in this regard. All but two of the huts are upkept largely by the efforts of their volunteer custodians. The Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboo mountains and the Kokanee Glacier Cabin are the only huts equipped with a permanent custodian during their summer seasons.
I created this list merely to display the array of huts the Alpine Club of Canada has to offer and maybe to highlight some of the prominent attractions that bring people into the respective huts. In no way should this page be considered a proper resource for preparing to venture into any of the huts. It is imperative that thorough research is done regarding any of the approaches to Alpine Club of Canada Huts before venturing into them. Although some of the huts require nothing more than a hike in, many of the approaches expose individuals to various hazards such as glacier travel, crossing avalanche paths, technical climbing, or navigating up treacherous scree slopes - just to name a few of the challenges one might face on the approaches. Having proper knowledge and gear for the terrain that will be traveled in is essential before going into some of the huts. Please read any pertinent information provided by the Alpine Club of Canada links and contact the Alpine Club (403-678-3200) beforehand to discuss requirements for the trip, what current conditions are, and for any other specific information that will be useful for your trip.
Please feel free to attach any pictures you may have of your experiences at the huts of the Alpine Club of Canada! To maintain some focus for this page, I only ask that the picture content fall into one of these categories:
- Pictures featuring the hut itself
- Pictures taken from the hut
- Pictures taken from the approach into the hut
And with that, here are the huts of the Alpine Club of Canada.
Abbot Pass Hut
Located at the top of Abbot Pass on Mount Victoria, the hut straddles the border between Banff and Yoho National Parks. The Abbot Pass Hut is Canada's second highest permanent structure and is used primarily a base for mountaineering attempts. The pass and the hut are named after Phillip Stanley Abbot who fell to his death while attempting Mount Lefroy's first ascent in 1896. This was North America's first mountaineering fatality.
Popular Climbs in Area:
Situated at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park. Best known for use as a base for backcountry skiing and summer mountaineering in the Asulkan Valley. Some of the ski objectives in the area are Young's Peak, Seven Steps of Paradise, Saphire Col, and Castor Peak. Mount Sir Donald is in the area of the Asulkan Cabin.
Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadow) Hut
Located in the Adamant Range of the Selkirk Mountains. Considered one of the finest backcountry ski destinations in Canada. Home to many classic climbing routes on granite peaks in the Adamants and the Gothics. The rock on the Adamant peaks has been compared to that of the Bugaboo and Vowell groups. The Fairy Meadow Hut is a frequent location of the A.C.C.'s General Mountaineering Camp. Some objectives in the area include Sentinel Peak, Pioneer Peak, The Gargoyle, Gibraltar Peak, Mount Fria, Mount Wotan, Unicorn Mountain, Mount Pythias, Mount Damon and the big walls on the Adamant-Austerity massif.
Located on the edge of the Wapta Icefield and Bow Glacier in Banff National Park. An excellent base for both mountaineering and ski touring. One of the four huts that are a part of the Wapta Traverse on the Wapta Icefield.
Popular Climbs in Area:
Saint Nicholas Peak (aka Mount Saint Nicholas)
Castle Mountain Hut
Perched on Castle Mountain in Banff National Park. Significantly exposed scrambling is required to reach the hut and it is not recommended as a winter outing due to the avalanche dangers that would exist in the steep gullies on the approach. One of the smaller huts with a capacity to sleep 6 people.
Conrad Kain Hut
Located in Bugaboo Provincial Park in the Purcell Mountains. A beautiful hut complete with many amenities including electricity provided by a hydro-powered generator. The Bugaboo Mountains are a climber's paradise with their numerous classic routes upon a multitude of granite spires. Other than the Cobalt Lake hike and the Eastpost Spire scramble, this is a destination primarily for climbers. Little hiking can be done in the area due to the glaciers and the spires. Nonetheless, the beauty of the area makes it an attraction for anyone.
Here are the best known spires in the area and my attempt to summarize some of the more popular routes in the Bugaboos. Undoubtedly, I am neglecting to mention countless great routes.
Krause McCarthy Route
Howser Towers and The Minaret
Becky Chouinard Route (aka West Buttress) (South Howser Tower)
Southwest Ridge (Scramble)
Hound's Tooth Spire
Elizabeth Parker Hut
An easily accessed hut near the shores of Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park. Named after Elizabeth Parker, who along with Arthur Wheeler, founded the Alpine Club of Canada. Her role was integral in the club's early success and in visualizing the A.C.C. as an independent organization from the American Alpine Club. The hut serves as the perfect base for over 80km of hiking trails, various mountaineering objectives, cross country skiing, and backcountry skiing. The alpine beauty of Lake O'Hara is hard to be surpassed. This is one of the Alpine Club of Canada's finest huts.
Popular Climbs in Area:
Elk Lakes Cabin
Easily accessed hut located in Elk Lakes Provincial Park. Used by hikers, skiers, and mountaineers. The hut can also be accessed by bike following a trail along the hydro lines into the hut. However, biking is not allowed anywhere else in the park.
Some of the objectives in the park are Fox Mountain, Mount Joffre, Mount Aosta, Mount Foch, Mount McCuaig, and Mount Nivelle.
In 1927, the Fay Hut became the first facility built by the Alpine Club of Canada. Sadly, the forest fires of 2003 entirely destroyed the original structure. In 2005, an army of volunteers proudly rebuilt the hut as one of the ACC's finest. Remarkably, the new hut was completely burnt down in April 2009. An explanation can be found at the ACC link below.
The Fay Hut was located in Prospector's Valley in Kootenay National Park and served as shelter for hikers, skiers, and snowshoers. The hut was also used as a stopping point for those going into the Neil Colgan Hut or for those wishing to access the Valley of Ten Peaks overlooking Moraine Lake.
Popular Climbs in Area:
Great Cairn Ben Ferris Hut
Situated on Mount Sir Sanford, the highest peak in the Selkirk Mountains. Home to many mountaineering and climbing objectives, with Mount Sir Sanford being the most popular reason for accessing the hut. However, the mountaineering and climbing on the Adamant and Gothic ranges are excellent as well. The rock on the Adamant peaks has been compared to that of the Bugaboo and Vowell groups. Other objectives include Silvertip Mountain, Citadel Peak, Cornice Peak, The Footstool, Belvedere Peak, Turret Peak, and Mount Austerity. Ski touring is also popular within the Mount Sir Sanford area or as an objective from the Bill Putnam/Fairy Meadow Hut. The hut is one the Alpine Club's least accessible, requiring a substantial trek in with considerable route finding needed. Helicopter access is available out of Golden or from the Gold River Bridge.
Kokanee Glacier Cabin
The Kokanee Glacier Cabin is located in the Selkirk Mountains on the shores of Kaslo Lake (Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park). Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park is an excellent location for hiking, scrambling, and backcountry skiing. In fact, the area is such a popular backcountry skiing destination that reservations for the winter at the Kokanee Glacier Cabin are determined by lottery the preceding May.
A few of the objectives in the area include Outlook Mountain, Sunset Mountain, The Battleship, Giant's Kneecap, Mount Esmeralda, Cond Peak, Kokanee Peak, Mount Giegerich, Grays Peak, the Keyhole scramble,and Mount Kane.
Virtual Tour of the Kokanee Glacier Cabin and Area
The Kokanee Glacier Cabin was built with funds raised by the Trudeau family and the Friends of West Kootenay Parks organization through the Kokanee Glacier Alpine Campaign. The campaign was started after Michel Trudeau, the youngest son of former Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, was killed in an avalanche accident in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Michel was an experienced outdoorsman and an avid lover of the outdoors. A sign hangs on the wall of the Kokanee Glacier Cabin commemorating the 13 who have died from avalanches in the park.
Lloyd Mackay Hut
Located adjacent to Mount Alberta in Jasper National Park. A base for summer mountaineering and hiking or for those en route to attempt an ascent of Mount Alberta or Mount Woolley. The hut was recently renovated for the 75th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Alberta and a composting outhouse has been installed thanks to joint fundraising efforts with the Japanese Alpine Club!
The rugged beauty surrounding the Lloyd Mackay Hut is second to none.
Mount Colin Centennial Hut
Located beneath the SW Face of Mt. Colin in Jasper National Park. Primarily a climbers' hut as hiking and scrambling opportunities are few in the area. Climbers can enjoy attempting a multitude of routes on the sunny limestone faces of Mount Colin or the neighbouring CR6. The SE ridge of Mount Hawk is one of the few scrambling opportuniuties in the area.
Neil Colgan Hut
At an elevation of 2957m (9700 ft.), the Neil Colgan Hut is Canada's highest permanent, habitable structure. Situated at the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park, the hut serves primarily as a base for those with mountaineering objectives. To a lesser degree, the hut is used for ski touring.
Abbreviated list of Climbs in the Area:
Peter and Catharine Whyte (Peyto) Hut
The most northerly hut on the Wapta Icefield Traverse in Banff National Park. Used as a base for both summer and winter mountaineering or for those doing the well known Wapta Traverse. As the northern-most hut on the icefield, the Peyto Hut is either the first or last hut visited on the Traverse. Mountaineering objectives in the area include Mount Baker, Mount Thompson, Trapper Peak, Peyto Peak, and Mount Rhondda. All these can be done as ski mountaineering objectives as well.
R. J. Ritchie (Balfour) Hut
Located on the Wapta Icefield in Banff National Park. Used as a base for both summer and winter mountaineering or for those doing the well known Wapta Traverse. The two main objectives from the hut are Mount Balfour and Mount Olive. The hut can also be used for skiing in the area - particularly on the Diableret Glacier and Mount Gordon.
Scott Duncan Hut
Located on the Wapta Icefield, Banff National Park. Used as a base for both summer and winter mountaineering or for those doing the well known Wapta Traverse. Common objectives in the area include Mount Daly, Mount Balfour via the normal route from the south, or some of the limited rock climbing on Mount Niles.
Silver Spray Cabin
One of the three A.C.C. huts found within the borders of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park lies within the Selkirk Mountain range. The Silver Spray Cabin is a beautiful and rugged destination for strong hikers and mountaineers. Peaks in the area include Mount McQuarrie, Sunrise Mountain, and Evening Star Peak.
Stanley Mitchell Hut
Situated in the Little Yoho Valley of Yoho National Park. A beautiful hut providing a great base for hiking, climbing, scrambling, and ski touring. Approached by either the Little Yoho Valley Trail or the Iceline Trail. The Hut is named after Stanley Mitchell, who served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Alpine Club of Canada for over 20 years during its infancy.
Some of the more popular objectives accessible from the Yoho Valley are the President, the Vice President, Mount McArthur, Mount Kerr, Kiwetinok Peak, Mount Polinger, and Isolated Peak.
Sydney Vallance (Fryatt) Hut
Located in the Fryatt Valley of Jasper National Park. A relatively little known area with many hiking, mountaineering, and ski touring possibilities. The hut was completely renovated in 1999.
Objectives in the area include:
Three Blind Mice
Situated in the Tonquin Valley of Jasper National Park. A perfect base for whatever you are looking for. Alpine rock and mixed routes, scrambles, hikes, and many potential ski trips are all possible from the hut. Hikes in the area include the Amethyst Lakes, Eremite Valley, Maccarib Pass, and Campus and Tonquin Creeks. The Ramparts are known for their rock quality (solid quartzite) and the peaks which are accessed from the Wates-Gibson Hut can be considered among the best in the Rockies in terms of solid rock to climb on.
Objectives in the area include:
(A. O.) Wheeler Hut
Situated at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park. The most easily accessed of all of the A.C.C.'s huts. In fact, the hut can be reached by vehicle in the summer - the only hut where this is possible. In the winter, an easy 2 km approach on a level trail will get you to the hut.
The hut is named after the first president of the Alpine Club of Canada, Arthur Oliver Wheeler, who, along with Elizabeth Parker founded the A.C.C.
Located in the birthplace of North American alpinism, the potential for activities from the hut is pleasantly excessive. The brief list provided by the A.C.C. to whet the appetite is:
Summer hikes to Asulkan Pass or up the Great Glacier Trail to the Illicilewaet Glacier.
Summer climbs to Sapphire Col, Mount Sir Donald, or Avalanche Peak.
Winter ski tours to Young's Peak, the Seven Steps of Paradise, or the Dome Glacier.
That should be enough to get a person started!
One of the three A.C.C. huts found within the borders of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park lies within the Selkirk Mountain range. Located north of the Woodbury Glacier, the hut is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers. The hut can be used on a traverse to the Silver Spray Cabin.
Section HutsIn addition to the 23 huts run by the Alpine Club of Canada's national organization, there are 5 huts which are run by the various regional sections of the club.
They are as follows:
Bon Echo Hut
Located on Mazinaw Lake, approximately 300km northeast of Toronto. The hut was built in the early 1960's by the Toronto Section of the A.C.C. to cater to the needs of the members who went climbing in the area and it remains one of the main focuses of the Toronto Section. The hut is not for sleeping in, but rather serves as a day hut and cooking shelter for the adjacent campsites. There is a sauna down by the lake. The Bon Echo Hut can be reached by a daylong hike, however, it is mostly accessed by a boat service to and from the hut run by the Toronto Section. The boat service is also used to get to the base of the climbs at Mazinaw Rock which hosts over 120 routes of every difficulty.
Jim Haberl Hut
Located in the Tantalus Range, near Squamish, British Columbia. Built and owned by the Vancouver Section of the A.C.C. The primary objectives in the area are mixed snow and ice routes on such peaks as Tantalus, Dione, Alpha, Serratus, etc. The hut also is a base for those climbers doing the full traverse of the Tantalus Range.
The hut serves as a memorial to Jim Haberl, an internationally certified full mountain guide, freelance photojournalist, national best-selling author, and motivational speaker, who lost his life in an avalanche accident in Alaska.
A 103 acre parcel of land located within the Adirondack Forest Preserve in northern New York State. The Keene Farm is owned by the Montreal Section of the A.C.C. A two storey log hut overlooking the Ausable Valley exists on the land. The farm caters to virtually every mountain endeavor imaginable - rock and ice climbing, hiking, biking, canoeing, backpacking, mountaineering, snow shoeing, and cross-country and downhill skiing.
Located on the eastern shore of Lake Lovely Water in Tantalus Provincial Park. The hut is run by the Vancouver Section of the A.C.C. and is an excellent base for many mountaineering objectives including Mount Tantalus, Serratus Mountain, Mount Dionne, and Alpha Mountain.
Wendy Thompson Hut
Located in the Marriott Basin, north of Whistler, British Columbia. The hut is run by the Whistler Section of the A.C.C. The hut is best known for its ski touring possibilities and a number of peaks exist in the area.
Wendy Thompson was an avid lover of the outdoors and a very involved citizen in the community of Whistler. Tragically, she lost her life in an airplane crash on a humanitarian flight to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1995. Wendy's estate provided the capital required for the building of the Wendy Thompson Hut. Click on the "ACC Whistler Section Link" link below to read more about Wendy Thompson's life and the Wendy Thompson Hut.
ACC Whistler Section Link
External LinksThe Alpine Club of Canada
Banff National Park
Yoho National Park
Jasper National Park
Kootenay National Park
Glacier National Park
Bugaboo Provincial Park
Elk Lakes Provincial Park
Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park
Tantalus Provincial Park