Fairy Meadow Alpine Granite
Editor’s Note - Most of us probably know the Fairy Meadow (Bill Putnam) Hut as a base for world-class ski terrain, but did you know that when the snow’s gone there’s uncrowded Bugaboo-like granite to climb?
For the first time ever, the ACC is offering multi-day package flights into Fairy Meadow for the summer, so we thought we’d highlight what the amazing granite in the Adamant and Gothics Group have to offer for those looking for seclusion in the hills and a cozy hut base.
A little hut history…
Built in 1965 by the ACC as a project proposed and largely overseen by William Putnam, the hut has since seen extensive renovations which have transformed the two-storey wooden building into a deluxe backcountry destination. With a complete propane system which includes an oven for baking, two very efficient wood stoves and a fully stocked cooking area, comfort is guaranteed. There is sleeping space for 20 on the second level and a spacious common room with adequate space for hanging gear. A large and very hot wood-burning sauna is an absolute treat at any time of the year!
The hut itself is in a small grassy meadow in the Northern Selkirk Mountains, south of the Granite Glacier, and north of the Gothics Glacier, in the area referred to as the Adamant Group of the Selkirk Mountains. It has been the location for three GMC’s since 1981, and for good reason!
What’s the rock like over there?
The Adamant and Gothic groups are composed of dramatic dark granite, surrounded by long glaciers, comparable to the Bugaboo and Vowell groups of the Purcells, with the addition of remoteness and isolation. The rock quality is generally excellent, with an array of routes of varying difficulty.
Class I and II routes are available close to the hut for shorter days, and Class IV and V rock routes from 5.10 - 5.11. Bigger routes in the Austerity Cirque require a day approach, with two peaks (Adamant and Austerity) being over 11,000 feet.
The area is increasing in popularity, but the difficulty of access (either by helicopter from Golden, or by logging road plus a long hike up a bushwhacky route) keeps the crowds away.
Selected Fairy Meadow classics
Pioneer Peak, NE Face, 55degrees 400m AD+
The Gargoyle, Spiral Route, 5.0 AD
East Peak of Gothics, NW Ridge, 5.5 AD
Pioneer Peak, Upper NE Ridge, 5.6 AD
Mount Quadrant, The Black Rib, 5.7 AD+
Mount Quadrant, West Face, 5.8+ D
Gibraltar, NF, 5.9 D+
Post Peak, South Ridge, 5.10b D+
Mount Thor, South Buttress, 5.10b D+
Gibraltar, South Buttress, 5.10+ A2 TD+
Belvedere Peak, South Face, 4th F
Adamant Mountain, West Ridge, 5.0 AD
East Blackfriar Peak, South Ridge, 5.4 PD+
Turret Peak, NW Ridge, 5.6 AD+
Adamant Mountain, Integral North Ridge, 5.7 D+
Adamant Mountain, South Buttress, 5.8 D+
West Blackfriar, West Ridge, 5.8+ D-
The Horn, West Buttress, 5.10+ A1 TD+
Turret Peak, Southwest Buttress, 5.11 A3 ED1
Colossal, Southwest Face, 5.12 ED1
For the full comprehensive guide, check out David Jones’ Selkirk North.
Drop into granite towers
The Fairy Meadow Hut overland summer access route can be a pain – particularly when you have to schlep a mountaineering pack for 5 or more hours. For summer 2019, the ACC is offering hut plus flight packages for those who want to travel with a bit more gear and save their uphill walking mojo for the peaks.
All packages require a minimum group size of 5 people. Bookings are made by emailing Rob Shears at the national office.