Skip to main content

6 – The Rebirth of Alpine Hut Construction

In 1970, the BCMC Cabin Committee chose to build a hut that was closer to the Lower Mainland; they were aiming for a two-hour drive from Vancouver to the trailhead, and a two-hour hike from the trailhead to the hut. The committee chose to build the Mountain Lake Hut above the town of Britannia Beach, located near Mountain Lake. The club had to negotiate access to the hut site because the site was potentially located on property owned by Anaconda, a mining company. The company allowed the club to use the land, and also provided road access to the trailhead.

The photo was taken from an angle and the hut is located on the right hand-side with the front door open wide. The towering peaks across the valley from the hut stand out against the evergreen lined slopes.

The completed Mountain Lake Hut, located above Britannia Beach in 2012.

After completion of the Mountain Lake Hut, which ended the busiest three years of hut building by the BCMC, the club shifted priorities and membership dwindled to its lowest numbers ever by the end of the 1970s. The 1980s brought back more members and the club activities grew once more. This led to the club building another Gothic arch hut at North Creek.

Two men stand on a tree that has been maneuvered into place across a fast moving creek while maneuvering another large log next to the one they are standing on.

Repairing a creek crossing on the trail to the North Creek Cabin in 2012.

North Creek was an ideal location during the winter and spring months for backcountry ski touring and snowshoeing. During the summer, however, the trail was known to be quite an unpleasant experience due to all the stinging nettles and slide alder shrubs.

The front end wall of the gothic arch hut in the winter before maintenance was performed and the hut was repainted.

The look of the North Creek Cabin prior to maintenance in 2013.

The North Creek Hut was built over a week in late August and early September of 1986. After completion, the BCMC spent many years focused on other activities like mountain education, conservation, and environmental protection.

It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that David Scanlon took on the project of getting legal tenure from the Provincial government and First Nations for the club huts built at both Mountain Lake and North Creek. The BCMC gained full legal tenure of their hut sites in 2009.

Following this, Scanlon began to work on finding a new hut site for the BCMC. This new hut would address the increasing demand for backcountry access.

After seven years of careful study and site selection, the Watersprite Lake Hut was built in the late fall of 2016.

The wooden frame of the gothic arch hut during construction. A silver and blue tent sits on the main floor of the hut and a red gasoline can sits in front of it. Off to the right hand side, two workers can be seen standing near piles of lumber.

The Gothic arch frame of the Watersprite Lake Hut, taken from the back side of the Hut. Construction of the Hut began in the Fall of 2016.

The Watersprite Lake Hut’s glulam arched beams were manufactured at Fraserwood Industries located in Squamish; the club built these beams on their own time. According to Scanlon, each half-arch weighed close to 80 pounds.

The hut was completed after manifold hours of volunteer work, including selecting the site, obtaining permits from the government, laminating the beams, and the final construction of the hut.

The bright red aluminum siding covering the roof of the arched Hut stands out against the dark green evergreen trees next to the hut. A light dusting of snow covers the ground and trees near the hut.

The bright red exterior of the Watersprite Lake Hut during construction in the Fall of 2016.