November 2015 – Project Status
- Park Use Permit is Near – We are excited to be in the very final stages of developing and signing the Parks Use Permit with BC Parks and the Alpine Club of Canada, which is a critical milestone before proceeding further with this project.
- Design Update – Schematic design for the first hut (Russet Lake location) is in progress by our architects Don Stuart and Chad Manley.
- Site Visits – Late this summer, architects and committee members visited the Russet Lake area to review specific siting options for the hut, study approaches, views, sun angles, access to water, etc. In October, two representatives from the Lil’wat Nation completed an archaeological assessment of the hut site near Russet Lake. Also in October a qualified septic installer reviewed the terrain at the Russet hut site, looking at soil conditions and potential field locations for the hut’s wastewater system.
- Research – Being done on the water system, foundation systems, material choices, and more. Lots to explore.
- Volunteers needed – The project is really ramping up now that the Parks Use Permit is near and there is some substantial fundraising efforts still ahead. Please contact us to get involved with the project.
December 2014 – Project Status
A lot of progress has been made this year. In many ways, this has been a remarkable last few months as the previous work of the last 5 years has culminated in getting to this point. We would like to thank the great work from all of the people who have contributed, worked, volunteered, assisted and supported this initiative and very important project. Below is a brief list of some work done in the last few months.
- September 4 – Site Visits. Members of the committee escorted project manager Glenn Campbell from BC Parks and geotechnical engineer Paul Schlotfeldt of Golder Associates to all three hut sites. Paul made an initial assessment of the terrain and the conditions for hut foundations. Key features at the sites were surveyed by John Franko of Bennett Land Surveying.
- September 21 & October 8 – Site Visits. Two further trips were made to review potential hut sites in the Russet Lake area. Ron Goldstone, Recreation Section Head for the Lower Mainland for BC Parks, attended. A hut site was selected near the existing trail, on the ridge southwest of Russet Lake, and this site was surveyed by Trevor of Bennett Land Surveying.
- Hut Sequence – After several discussions with BC Parks, the committee agreed to design and build the Russet Hut first, followed by the Pattison Hut and Macbeth Hut.
- November Meetings – Meetings were held with key stakeholders, such as Whistler Blackcomb, and input was sought from Whistler Search and Rescue.
- Permit – Through November, the committee prepared our official Park-Use-Permit (PUP) application and submitted it to BC Parks on Dec 2. This was an important milestone for us
- The PUP application describes our three selected sites at Russet, Pattison, and Macbeth, the concept for the huts, and financial and operational details. It also includes an environmental impact assessment, a draft safety and emergency response plan, and reports from both geotechnical engineers and avalanche risk assessment professionals. When issued, the permit will cover all three huts.
- Current Status – We are now charging ahead with budgets and project planning for the design and construction of the Russet Hut. We are also preparing to launch a public fund-raising campaign sometime in the New Year. Lots of exciting work and times ahead!
October 15, 2014 – Project Status
It has been a very busy few months for the Spearhead Huts Project. After over 5 years of hard work we have now moved into the final stage of getting our Park Use Permit which will be the last approval needed before we are able to start construction. We were selected by BC Parks as the proponents to build and operate the three hut system. We also received endorsement and support from our MLA Jordan Sturdy, MLA Ralph Sultan and Minister Yamamoto as well as the Liberal caucus, and other important milestones that were needed to advance to the final stage. The Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb are also helping us to move this project forward to completion.
After careful review, site work and analysis we have decided we will build the Russet lake hut first and expect to begin foundations summer of 2015. Design work has begun as well as putting together a number of other details in anticipation of the coming summer building season.
The collaborative effort of some remarkable people dedicated to making this happen with support from the backcountry public, the memberships of the various clubs and groups, is what has made this happen.
We will begin our fundraising efforts this fall and leading up thru the spring. Thanks so much to everyone for your supreme effort. More news to come soon!
March 3rd, 2014 – Project Status
We are excited to announce that we have successfully reached an important project milestone. After an extended wait and much anticipation, BC Parks has published their final Garibaldi Park Management Plan Amendment for The Spearhead Area. The Plan Amendment provides clear direction to allow huts in the Spearhead area. For full details, view the Management Plan Amendment for The Spearhead Area online, section 6.2.4 in particular.
We look forward to advancing through the RFP process and remaining project milestones.
December 2013 Status Statement
We are currently waiting for BC Parks to complete and publish the Garibaldi Parks Management Plan Amendment. We currently understand this amended plan is in support of a hut system in the park, and we look forward to reaching this exciting next milestone. More information on BC Parks Website.
October 2012 Status Statement
The Spearhead Huts Committee submitted its proposal for review by BC Parks in May 2012. We are awaiting comments from BC Parks on this proposal in order to move forward.
October 2011 Status Statement
The Spearhead Huts Project has been approved to proceed to a Stage 2 review by BC Parks. Stage 2 ‘the Detailed Screen review’ will require significant site location work, which includes environmental, social, cultural and economic components. The Spearhead Hut Committee (SHC) must identify impacts, determine significance and recommend mitigation measures. Once this stage is completed, the SHC will submit the results to BC Parks for approval to move to Stage 3. The Spearhead Huts Committee is very pleased to have identified and surveyed the three prospective hut sites. They are: Mount Pattison Ridge, Mount Macbeth West Ridge and Russet South Bench. The prospective sizes of the huts have not been finalized nor have hut designs been undertaken yet. Summer access trails and connecting trail networks have been identified. Current traffic studies are expected to be undertaken over the coming winter to identify current backcountry visitor usage in the range.
The SHC is seeking funding from donors to assist with the significant costs that will be incurred for the next phase of review. Over the coming months, studies and continuing data collection will be done along with conceptual designs for all three huts with a goal to complete the Stage 2 review.
September 2010 Status Statement
The Spearhead Hut Committee has formally submitted a conceptual plan to BC Parks for the construction of hut system along the Spearhead Traverse (the Spearhead and Fitzsimmons ranges), the spectacular mountain ranges that connect Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. This proposal comes from a working group comprised of representatives from the Alpine Club of Canada Whistler Section (ACCW), The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Section (ACCV), the Alpine Club of Canada National, The British Columbia Mountaineering Club (BCMC), memorial groups (the Kees and Claire Memorial Hut Society and the Brett Carlson Memorial Group) and other interested parties. This coalition of support represents a broad base of non-motorized backcountry user groups, committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The Spearhead Hut Committee (The Committee) is the organizing and advocacy group that will design and build this system of huts.
The Whistler Section of the Alpine Club of Canada will operate and maintain the hut system, for the benefit of mountain enthusiasts who wish to experience this dramatic area of Garibaldi Provincial Park. The vision of a hut system for this area was first contemplated and proposed in the mid-1960’s by the BCMC.
When completed, the hut system will be comprised of number a huts, spread at intervals along the 40 km circuit. The huts will provide summer and winter shelter with overnight accommodation, heat, water, toilets and self-serve cooking facilities. The hut system will allow winter and summer backcountry travelers to experience this remarkable environment relatively unencumbered by equipment and heavy packs. Establishment of the hut system will also mitigate and control the current random user/uncontrolled camping impacts that are occurring throughout this area. The huts will also broaden the potential user base of the Spearhead range to include both younger and older people, and those with less experience than would currently be able to experience and enjoy this region of the park in the summer and winter seasons.
The Spearhead Range is unparalleled in North America in its combination of length, quality of terrain, accessibility and position within the alpine wilderness of Garibaldi Park. Skiers and backcountry travelers from around the world have begun to discover this opportunity. The proposed hut system would support what is undoubtedly one of the most sought after backcountry trips in North America, and would likely be considered one of the great alpine hut tours in the world. It is anticipated that this would be a legacy project as BC Parks celebrates it’s 100th anniversary in 2011.