The Top 5 Images from our Huts Photo Contest


Canadiana. Yeah, that's it.

A few weeks back we put out an informal call on our Facebook page and in the NewsNet e-bulletin for photos of the ACC Huts. We called it a contest but provided no guidance whatsoever on the content of the photos (other than the unspoken assumption that they should include one of our huts). Well, it seems our members don't need formal invitations and were pretty keen to share. We received hundreds of images from dozens of photographers.

After reviewing the images and picking our favourites, we saw a pattern and so we retroactively set the contest theme to "Canadiana." Without trying to sound too much like a beer commercial, these photos capture qualities about who we are as Canadians and make us at the ACC proud to be Canada's National Mountain Organization: high summer in the alpine, crisp starry nights, year-round adventures.

Each of the five winners below received a certificate for 2 nights for 2 people at one of our huts. We'll do this again soon, and next time we'll announce the contest theme ahead of time. Thanks to everyone who shared their photos and congratulations to the winners. Feel free to leave comments below and we'll post some more of our favourites in the coming days.

Abbot Pass Hut on Canada Day by Robert Hughson


The history of the development of western Canada and of the Rocky Mountains is deeply linked to Abbot Pass and this hut. Built in 1922 by Swiss guides employed by the CPR, it's been a base for mountaineers climbing Mt. Victoria and Mt. Lefroy for over 90 years. It is the second highest permanent, habitable structure in the country. (What's the first highest you ask? This one.)

We have many photos of Abbot Pass Hut and many of them are great, but this one has some good things going for it. This angle gives a great perspective on how massive the mountains are and the image, with the hut and the lines of Mt. Victoria behind it, is balanced in the frame. We like that the colours are vibrant and compliment the hut's stonework but the hut is not completely camouflaged like it can be. 

EP Under the Stars by Darren Foltinek


The Elizabeth Parker Hut, located in a meadow near Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park is a popular destination in both summer and winter. This shot, by Darren Foltinek was taken on a chilly -30 night this past winter so it might not have been as popular on that day as it was on some other days. And what's more Canadian than embracing the winter, getting out and getting after adventures no matter the weather? Right?

We think the composition in this photo is really good, with the snow covered mountains that surround Lake O'Hara - from Wiwaxy Peak to Glacier Peak — really standing out against the night sky. The cloud hanging over the middle of the mountains contrasts the clear sky and makes the night look as cold as it was. But mostly this photo creates a sense of place for the viewer inside the hut and makes us think of warm beverages, warm hut camaraderie and a roaring fire. It's hard to beat a clear sky night in Yoho.

Mount Colin Hut by Clayton Anderson


The Mount Colin Centennial Hut at the base of Mount Colin in Jasper National Park is not one of the ACC's flagship huts. It's a simple panabode structure used pretty much exclusively by climbers looking for multi-pitch rock routes with some backcountry adventure thrown in.

As for Clayton's photo — it's a straightforward shot of the front of the hut, but it's adorned with the cams, ropes and helmets that are the tools of the trade for outings on Mt. Colin and of course we love the Canadian flag in the doorway. It's a quaint image of a quaint hut - as one of our staff said: "I wish this was my house". Our Canadian summer is often too short — the high-summer wildflowers and sunshine in the background of this photo make us want to grab that rack and get up high.

Mountaineers and Peyto Hut by Barbara Budenz


The Wapta Icefields is one of the most popular areas for ski touring and mountaineering in Canada (see what we did there?) and is home to four ACC Huts. The Peyto Hut (properly the Peter and Catharine Whyte Hut) is the most northerly of the four and the most common starting hut for the Wapta Traverse. It's also a great base on its own for summer mountaineering and many climbers have celebrated their first mountaineering summits on the sunny deck of this simple hut.

Where the Mount Colin Hut photo hints at what the hut is used for, this image by Barbara Budenz shows Peyto life in action: mountaineers are leaving the hut, heading for glacier and mountain adventure. It's also got great composition and is taken from an interesting vantage point that gives the viewer a sense of being right there with the rope team. The orange jacket on the blue hut is a nice touch of complimentary colours.

Sapphire Col Hut by Gregg Cronn


The ACC operates the largest network of backcountry huts in North America (24 huts operated by the National Club, plus another 6 huts operated by our various Sections), which means that for every Abbot Pass or Elizabeth Parker Hut there are probably a few that most of our members have never been to, or perhaps even heard of. The Sapphire Col Hut high in the Asulkan Range at Rogers Pass, would be one of those remote, less-visited lesser lights. A simple aluminum structure with modest facilities, it's used as a base for the exceptional granite mountaineering in the Asulkan Range and as a stop over on winter ski tours.

This photo, by Gregg Cronn, shows the hut for what it is: a sturdy backcountry refuge made for shelter from the wicked mountain weather. The hut, the mountain, the snow and the cloudy sky, all in very diffused light and colour, make for interesting composition. We found our eye continues to move around the image in a circular motion, from the hut to the peak and back down the slope to the footsteps that lead back to the front door. There's a sensation of silence and beauty.

What do you think? Do you see what we see?

Did we overlook things? Please feel free to set us straight in the comments below.