Glacier Circle Hut Maintenance - Summer 2017
Editor's note: The Alpine Club of Canada maintains 26 backcountry huts – plus another 6 that are maintained by local sections – which range from family-friendly cabins set in alpine meadows to backcountry powder paradises and remote climbers’ refuges. ACC huts provide basic, rustic shelter for backcountry travellers, offering protection from the elements, and communal cooking and sleeping areas. All of this requires year-round maintenance to keep the wood stocked, the outhouse barrels fresh, and everything in between. Remote maintenance poses its own challenges, as described in the story below by ACC Staff member, Nicole Larson.
Glacier Circle Cabin
The Glacier Circle Cabin is one of the more unique huts the ACC operates. It’s tucked away in a deep cirque surrounded by Mt. Macoun, Mt. Fox, Mt Selwyn and Mt. Topham. The surrounding scenery is dramatic and beautiful in every direction with hanging glaciers, large rock walls and tall peaks.
Getting there on foot is not easy. It is a mostly glaciated, 14 km approach over technical terrain which usually takes between 8-12 hours.
Diving Right Into the Unknown
This was our maintenance group's first time visiting this hut so none of us were sure what to expect. The ACC has serviced the hut in the past, and even completed a relatively major restoration in 2007, but none of our current team had ever seen it. We didn’t know if we could land anywhere close to the hut or what condition it would be in. It is positioned amongst some very tall trees so after flying in circles for about 10 minutes and attempting a couple of landings, we found a suitable landing spot in a boulder field about 200m from the cabin.
Picking our way through the woods
After we unloaded all of our gear, food, tools and other items from the helicopter the pilot took off leaving us standing on a boulder looking at ta pretty unpleasant trek over to the cabin. The route involved rock hopping through a granite boulder field with variably supportive snow patches, a creek crossing over a collapsed bridge followed by a "trail" (bushwhack) up to the hut. This proved a challenge as we did not pack for effectively for hiking.
After several trips of filling and emptying our backpacks, we were ready to get to work. The rest of the day was spent assessing the hut and outhouse and cleaning the interior. A few cleaning supplies and dishes were brought in.
Thanks to the team for all their hard work on this one!