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12 – Club Trips

These huts provide the opportunity for clubs to plan group trips into the alpine with a destination to reach. This helps club members promote outdoor education and learn new skills and techniques to further mountaineering and ski-touring pursuits. The huts also provide shelter in which to wait out bad weather when attempting a peak summit.

Club members enjoying spending time with one another and eating a warm meal at the dining room table.

UBC-VOCers enjoying a warm meal and the chance to socialize and develop friendships.

Of course, the shelters are a place to warm up in the winter and have a cooked meal, but they also provide club members a chance to build friendships and an opportunity to re-build morale in a group if equipment has failed or weather has discouraged further exploration in the mountains. The huts are a social gathering place where members can learn from one another.

The BCMC has a long tradition of arranging club trips on holiday weekends and in particular around Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the early years of the club, these trips provided members an opportunity to get to know one another and eat a great feast, occasionally culminating in impromptu theatre skits.

UBC-VOC Club trips have long held the tradition of playing card games. Club members are playing a game of UNO around the gray dining table inside the Hut. In the foreground, the right arm of a man wearing a blue shirt, holding his cards. A man in a green jacket stands at the far end of the table and a woman wearing a grey and red short sleeve shirt stands behind the 4 members sitting at the table. Another women in pink with her back turned is working away at the cooking station.

Card games have been a long tradition held by the UBC-VOC Club; singalongs are popular as well.

Similarly, the UBC-VOC would arrange social events around the holiday weekends or reading breaks in the school calendar.

In both clubs, trip reports provided a synopsis of what happened on each trip and what the members did on each trip.

Certain trips provided more of a challenge than others. For example, the UBC-VOC Journals have numerous trip reports regarding the Brew Hut and the difficulty of finding this hut even in perfect conditions. There were also trips that never found the hut or trips that turned into EPICs.

Three members near the front door of the hut are busy clearing the snow away. Off to their right a group of members are taking off ski equipment and organizing gear.

UBC-VOC Club members arriving at Brew Hut III at 4 a.m.

For the uninitiated, EPICs are club trips that were supposed to fit within a certain time frame but for whatever reason they did not go according to plan. These trips could involve equipment failure, poor navigation (like getting lost or not finding the proper trailhead), creek and bridge washouts, bushwhacking and/or extreme weather conditions preventing members from reaching their intended destination. While not enjoyable or comfortable at the time, EPICs build strong bonds that last a lifetime.

A rocky peak looms in the background with a light dusting of snow and the completed hut sits in the foreground surrounded by deep snow.

The completed Plummer Hut with the front door ajar.

John Baldwin, author of Exploring the Coast Mountains on Skis, recalled that one of his trips to the Plummer Hut in the Mount Waddington area.

I have also spent a few nights in the Plummer Hut near Mt Waddington. It is in an incredible exposed area on a tiny piece of rock ridge surrounded by towering peaks and huge glaciers. The storms have battered the cabin so much that the front side of the cabin looks like it has been sandblasted. The grain of the wood and any nails or screws were raised out of the wood.[16]

Keith Rajala[17] has written extensive trip reports on his mountaineering adventures in the Coast Mountains and around the globe. He wrote on his first trip to the Batzer Hut with his friend Dennis Brown in the 1970s.

[16] John Baldwin – e-mail correspondence – phone interview, July 2017.

[17] Keith Rajala – e-mail correspondence – July 2017.