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Canada’s Famous Abbot Hut to Be Replaced

One of the Rockies most adventurous alpine climbers from 50 years ago will be supporting the project

The Abbot Hut was built by hand in 1922 by Swiss mountain guides using locally quarried, hand-cut stone and supplies ferried by boat, carried on horseback and on foot to the 2,925-metre col. The stone hut blended with the background and had withstood a century of snowstorms and gale force winds.

The connection to the golden age of Canadian mountaineering made it a national historic site. A number of famous alpine rock and ice climbs were accessed from the hut. The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC), which ran and operated the hut, removed the hut n 2022 due to extreme erosion.

The ACC, along with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides and Lake Louise Ski Area have partnered to develop a plan to replace the hut. Parks Canada will be part of the process.

One of the Rockies boldest alpine climbers from the 1960s and 1970s, Charlie Locke, will be supporting the project. Locke is the current president of Lake Louise Ski Area and a former mountain guide. “I am pleased to support both The Alpine Club of Canada and the ACMG in the replacement of the hut,” said Locke. And Carine Salvy, executive director of the ACC, said, “Abbot Pass is a very special place for our members and for the mountain community; we are very pleased that we are proceeding with planning for a replacement hut.”

Timeline of Abbot Hut

1922: Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin (Abbot Pass Hut) constructed
1968: Dominion Parks Branch (known today as Parks Canada) acquires the hut
1973: Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin is restored
1985: Alpine Club of Canada assumes operation of the hut
1992: Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin is designated as a national historic site
2012: Parks Canada completes roof and drainage upgrades
2014: Parks Canada completes stone masonry restoration
2016: Initial slope instability reported to Parks Canada.
2017: Slope stability geotechnical assessment begins.
2018: Hut closed and initial slope stability work conducted to install rock anchors below the hut
2019: Additional slope stability work not completed due to unfavourable weather conditions causing safety concerns at the site.
2020: COVID-19 health measures prevent additional slope stability work from being completed.
2021: Further slope erosion occurs, impacting the base of the hut
Area closure expanded to include Abbot Pass and its two approach routes.
Second geotechnical assessment conducted.
Heritage recording completed.
2022: Abbot Hut removed.