Alpine Club volunteers building new backcountry hut near Lake Louise
First new cabin to go up in 22 years
Hundreds of volunteers with the Alpine Club of Canada have been busy this summer building new digs that will allow backcountry enthusiasts to explore a remote area of Yoho National Park.
"We are using helicopters to fly all the materials, all the volunteers into the site," said Lawrence White, the club's executive director.
"It's not a cheap price tag by any means, which is one of the reasons why we haven't built one in the last 20 years."
White says through donations and a robust membership, the club raised about $550,000 to build the hut, located northwest of Lake Louise, Alta.
The largest gift came from Richard Guy, a 98-year-old retired University of Calgary math professor.
Guy and his late wife, Louise, were avid mountaineers who volunteered with the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) for more than four decades.
White says The Louise & Richard Guy Hut will provide safer backcountry travel on the east-west ski traverse between Bow Lake and Little Yoho Valley on the Wapta Icefield.
Currently, the north-south route from Peyto Lake to Wapta Lake — which is served by four ACC huts — is most popular route across glacier.
"By providing one more facility in that area, it will take a little bit of pressure off that north-south direction...let people explore the westerly edges of Banff Park and then the easterly slopes of Yoho," said White.
In order to not disturb bear habitat, he says the shelter will only be open in the winter months.
The two-storey structure will sleep 18 and provide bunk beds, sleeping pads and cooking equipment. It's expected to open its doors to backcountry guests in January 2016.