Alpine Club of Canada

ACC_Gazette_Winter2018_FINAL

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6 The Alpine Club of Canada Gazette Winter 2018 By Paul Mower with photos by Eric Petersen (Instagram @GotMountains) The ACC operates 32 huts - the largest network of backcountry huts in North America. Six of our huts are operated by our regional sections, from Whistler to Montreal (with a new Vancouver Island section hut coming on line soon). This inspiring story describes one man's quest to visit all 26 huts operated by the national club by hiking and skiing (no helicopters). We relate to this story for a few reasons, not least of which is the clear 'love of the journey' motivation rather than seeing it as a list to be ticked. As Paul's story shows, journeys to many of the club's huts call on real skills, fitness and good judgement. If you're considering a hut trip, call our friendly reservations staff for advice – we're here to help. - ed W e have all felt the same way when entering an ACC back‑ country hut for the first time at the end of a long hike—exhausted, at the end of one's physical limits, maybe hungry, cold or perhaps injured and hurting. It is a feeling of utter relief and joy to have a dry, warm, safe and comfortable place to rest and recuperate with the added benefit of being in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Your next thought might be: I wonder how many of these places exist? Most of us will then quietly make a mental note to try to visit as many ACC huts as possible. I know a lot of people who have been to a lot of ACC huts. I also know a few who have been to almost all the huts, but I wanted to see every single hut the ACC owns and operates under my own steam. This summer, I finally completed my 11‑year quest to visit every single hut. There are now 26 backcountry huts managed by The Alpine Club of Canada. It has been an amazing journey that has taken me to many magical places with many wonderful people. I am certainly no super athlete with extensive mountain‑ eering experience, just a keen amateur outdoorsman pushing 60 years old. I do try to stay active but if I can do this, you probably can do it as well. When the ACC route description to the hut says the hike will take "five to eight hours", I am the guy who takes eight hours. Most ACC huts have comfortable foam sleeping pads, some with wood stoves with a supply of wood. Although some are more spartan, all of them are infinitely more comfortable than the option of packing tents, sleeping pads, stoves, pots, etc., and they provide the added benefit of being warm and safe from inclement weather and dangerous wildlife. While the huts can be as opulent as the Kokanee Glacier Cabin with its flush toilets, hot showers and self‑generated electricity, or a simple tin box such as the Sapphire Col hut, all offer welcome respite for a tired back‑ country traveler. The hut culture in Canada was intro‑ duced by Swiss mountain guides hired by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to promote tourism in the Canadian Rockies. The first alpine huts constructed by the CPR included The Wiwaxy Cabin at the Elizabeth Parker Hut, Glacier Circle Cabin, and the Abbot Pass Hut which was built by the Swiss guides. Incidentally, the Abbot Pass Hut was once a part of the hotel chain Hut Quest

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