On the Great Divide Ski Traverse, you pass by a few Alpine Club of Canada Huts. We had the luxury of staying in each and every one. Here are some pictures and stories from our stays:
The First Night we made it to the Wates Gibson Hut in the Tonquin Valley. It is well equipped, with a wood burning stove, propane stoves, lighting, and even ovens! We even made Creme Broule – not bad for an expedition eh? 🙂
The Wates Gibson is a fantastic destination for both summer and winter. Being a rather large hut, it sleeps 26 in the summer and 24 in the winter. It makes a perfect base for climbing, skiing, and hiking. There are many mountains of varying difficulty nearby (Ramparts, Thunderbolt Peak, Old Horn, Clithero, Mount Fraser). I look forward to returning and trying to tackle some of the peaks by Mount Fraser. The only thing is it can be rather tricky to find the location in the winter, it could be very helpful taking a GPS.
I loved the stone fireplace. It added class.
Sadly we only stayed at Wates Gibson for one night. Since it is rather a long approach, especially in the winter (over 20km) it is well worth staying longer.
35 Nights Later we reached the next hut – Peyto (also known as the Peter and Catharine Whyte Hut). The view from the hut is outstanding. The hut has large windows, so even though it is not heated, the sun soon makes it cosy. This is also a fantastic hut to use as a climbing/skiing base. There are many moderate climbing summit nearby, such as Peyto Peak, Mount Baker, Habel, Thompson, Rhonda, and Trapper. I would love to come here and spend a New Years. And being only 10 km from the Icefields Parkway, it is a comfortable distance for a day ski in. It fits 18 in the summer, 16 in the winter.
Enjoying tea and the scenery from Peyto Hut.
Peyto Hut is perched on a small rock outcrop. You can see Peyto Peak in the background.
Descending to Bow Hut – the most luxurious of the Wapta Huts. It has a wood burning stove and even a small oven, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It also makes a tremendous base, with nearby climbing objectives such as St. Nick, Olive, Collie, and Ayesha. Being only a few kilometers from the highway, you can usually reach it in just a few hours. It is a great and comfortable hut – perfect for family trips and big bashes.
We cooked cinnamon buns in the oven. They. Were. Amazing!
We also cooked pizza on top of the Wood Stove. Not bad, eh? 🙂
The view from Balfour hut is breathtaking. It is located right below the crux of the Wapta Traverse – Balfour High Col. This was probably our favorite hut, as it was small and cosy, with an amazing view. It sleeps 18 in the summer, 16 in the winter.
Making burritos with a million dollar view.
The most southerly Wapta Hut – Scott Duncan. It is also the highest at – 2773 m. It was originally built so parties would not have to descend steep ski slopes late in the day. Instead they can enjoy the comfort of the hut and leave early in the morning. While Scott Duncan may have been the most basic, the view was the best, esp from the outhouse. It also catches the evening sun far later than all the others. The hut also serves as an excellent climbing base for nearby Mt. Balfour. It sleeps 12 both in the summer and winter.
Jake looking back towards Mt Balfour (to his left). Balfour hut is just on the other side.
The ACC Huts added both luxury and enjoyment to our traverse. It was a fantastic way to end the Great Divide Traverse. Thank You ACC for providing such tremendous huts to such humble travelers. We would highly recommend them and if anyone reading this is interested you can get more information from their website: http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/