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4 – Building of the Gothic Arch Huts

After the success of building the Batzer Hut, the BCMC, in collaboration with the BC Parks Service, built two more huts. Once completed, the huts would be donated to BC Parks and open to the public.

Three hikers sit near their backpacks all wearing sunhats looking out across at the distant mountain peaks. The peaks in the distance are covered in snow and clouds hang in the sky above them.

Hikers enjoying the view of Mount Fee from the meadows near Russet Lake and the trail that leads into Singing Pass. Singing Pass is a longer trail route that hikers can take from near Whistler Mountain to the North Shore Mountains across from the city of Vancouver.

In the background, sits a range of mountains with small patches of snow. The flying helicopter is in the foreground carrying a load underneath the cockpit dangling from a cable.

Helicopter carrying load to the Hut site near Russet Lake in 1967.

The next hut was to be built in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Russet Lake at the head of Singing Pass. This location was chosen because it would be accessible year-round and for its proximity to the emerging ski resort of Whistler.

Snow covers the ground and the slope and three members of the construction crew attempt to assembly the Hut.

The first attempt at erecting the Himmelsbach Hut in the fall of 1967.

In the fall of 1967, the first attempt to construct the hut was hampered by the weather and a load of materials being dropped by the helicopter operator. By the time the club was able to reattempt the assembly, winter had set in, so members constructing the hut dismantled what was built and planned to resume construction the following summer.

Video file with transcript: Building the Himmelsbach Hut

On August 3 & 4, 1968, the Himmelsbach Hut was constructed[6]. The work party included Werner Himmelsbach, Martin Kafer, Gernot Walter, Joe Copper, Hans-Peter Munger, and Jack Apps. Thus began the busiest three year period of hut building for the BCMC.

In 1969, the BCMC built a hut in honour of Paul Plummer, who died in a plane crash along with his wife and two children. The hut was completely financed by the family and friends of Plummer. The club provided the glulam arches and assumed responsibility for maintenance of the hut.

Construction on the Plummer Hut is underway. Men attach aluminum siding to one wall. A vast landscape of snowy mountains fills the background.

The construction of the Plummer Hut is moving along in the summer of 1969.

The same year, the club built a fourth cabin at Wedgemount Lake, again with assistance from BC Parks. The club chose this site over Mount Brew Meadows because of its idyllic location and access to Armchair and Wedge Glaciers.

Listen to Werner Himmelsbach discuss how they chose Wedgemount Lake[7]:

The Gothic Arch Hut front entrance with its brown front end-wall and bright white door sits next to the turquoise water of the glacial lake. A dark peak dotted with snow is visible in the background.

Audio clip with transcript: Wedgemount Lake Location

[6] Credits: British Columbia Mountaineering Club; Source: North Vancouver Museum and Archives; Date of film: 1968; Accession number: unknown.

[7] Oral interview with Werner Himmelsbach; Interviewer: Jeff Slack; Source: Whistler Museum and Archives Society; Date: 2015; Accession number: unknown.