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8 – The Evolution of the Gothic Arc Hut Design

Between 1972 and 1974, the BC Parks Branch built two of their own Gothic arch huts. While there were no formal discussions on the use of the Batzer plans, the BCMC and BC Parks Branch were in contact quite frequently, especially with the Himmelsbach and Wedgemount Lake Huts being situated within BC Parks (as was the Burton Hut, built by the UBC-VOC). It is unknown how much involvement the BCMC had in terms of assisting BC Parks with their hut design.

These drawings give the technical specifics needed to build each part of the Hut structure and what the Hut should look like once put together.

Architectural drawings for the BC Parks Gothic Arch Hut built in Bugaboo Provincial Park

Since the BC Parks Branch had access to professional carpenters and machine shops, the Gothic arch huts they built were significantly larger and could accommodate more guests than the huts built by the BCMC and the UBC-VOC. The huts built by BC Parks also had windows built into the side walls, whereas the club huts only had windows and doors on the end walls.

The first of the BC Parks huts was built near Elfin Lakes and was placed near the site of the Diamondhead Lodge, which was owned and operated by the Brandvold and Mathews families until 1964.

Two lakes sit in a green alpine valley and a gothic arch hut can be seen on the left of the smaller of the two lakes. Opal Cone can be seen in the distance and is free of snow.

Elfin Lakes and Elfin Lakes Hut

The Elfin Lakes site was chosen because of its popular destination for both mountaineers and ski-tourers, and the hut still operated year-round. The Elfin Lakes Hut is the largest Gothic arch hut in the Coast Mountains and can accommodate up to 35 people at a time.

The Hut with its mint green arched roof, multiple windows and doorway framed in white sits surrounded by evergreen trees. A large glacier cascades down a steep slope behind the Hut.

Conrad Kain Hut with the Anniversary Glacier in the background

The second hut was built in the Purcell Mountain Range near a popular climbing destination called the Bugaboos. The BC Parks Branch turned the responsibility for maintaining and operating the hut over to the Alpine Club of Canada.

The hut was named after Conrad Kain, who was the first alpine guide hired by the Alpine Club of Canada and was the first person to explore the Purcell Mountains in 1910. The hut is primarily accessed during the summer months because of its proximity to the Bugaboos.

Interestingly, this is one of only a few Gothic arch huts located outside of the Coast Mountains. Another fun fact is that the parking lot where users of the hut must park is near a breeding ground for porcupines. As a result, there are plenty of reminders to put up fencing around your vehicles, as porcupines are known to enjoy eating through brake lines and other hosing.

The blue vehicle is parked and the chickenwire mesh covers the bottom half of the car along with rocks and sticks. Two people stand near the parked vehicle chatting. Other cars can be seen with a similar setup.

Protection of vehicle undercarriages by chicken wire, rocks and small logs at the trailhead parking lot for the Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboos.