The long-awaited Spearhead Huts project crossed one of its final hurdles last week after BC Parks gave the go-ahead to several backcountry huts in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Last Friday, Feb. 12, BC Parks issued a Park Use Permit allowing for the construction of three year-round huts along the 40-kilometre Spearhead ski traverse, connecting the Spearhead and Fitzsimmons ranges behind Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
“We are extremely thrilled to finally get the green light on this project,” said Spearhead Huts Committee (SHC) chair Jayson Faulkner in a release. “This moment has been several decades in the making, and to have our permit application approved means now there’s nothing in our way from seeing this vision come to life.”
Work on the hut system can now begin. The Russet Hut, which will replace the aging Himmelsbach Hut, is expected to be the first completed. Huts at Mt. Pattison and Mt. Macbeth will be built after the Russet Hut. The estimated opening is expected for winter 2018.
“With stunning alpine meadows in the summer and breathtaking views in the winter, coupled with its proximity to Whistler, the location is a logical choice for the first hut,” the release read.
The Spearhead Huts Committee originally submitted its park-use permit application in December 2014. It included a management plan, project description, safety plan and avalanche, geotechnical and environmental assessments.
The huts will provide modest facilities to support self-sufficient backcountry users, and will be designed to accommodate winter ski-touring.
“The shared objectives of the hut system are to increase the comfort and safety of backcountry travelers, minimize environmental impact on the area, leave a lasting legacy for passionate local skiers who have lost their lives in the mountains, and enable other backcountry enthusiasts to experience this outstanding region,” the release continued.
The system will cost an estimated $3.5 million to complete. The SHC is planning several events and initiatives in the coming months to raise funds for the next stage of the project.
The SHC is made up of representatives of the Alpine Club of Canada’s Whistler and Vancouver chapters, the B.C. Mountaineering Club, the Kees and Claire Memorial hut Society and the Brett Carlson Memorial Foundation.
More information is available at www.spearheadhuts.org.
For more on this story, check back with Pique on Thursday.