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New Rockies Hut is Missing Link on Wapta Icefield

The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) is working hard to complete the new Louise and Richard Guy Hut.

The new hut is the missing link on the Wapta Icefield for skiers traveling along the east to west ski traverse between Bow Lake and Little Yoho Valley.

Volunteers have been helping build the hut this summer by being shuttled into the site with the materials on helicopters.

“It’s not a cheap price tag by any means,” said the ACC’s executive director Lawrence White. “Which is one of the reasons why we haven’t built one in the last 20 years.”

The Louise and Richard Guy Hut.  Photo ACC
The Louise and Richard Guy Hut. Photo ACC

Through donations, the ACC raised over $500,000 to build the hut that is close to the famous Icefields Parkway in Alberta.

The hut is named after Richard Guy, a 98-year-old retired University of Calgary math professor, and his late wife, Louise, who were both ACC volunteers and avid mountaineers.

The ACC hut system on the Wapta gives access to amazing glaciers, high summits and powder skiing.

The most natural route across the Wapta is North-South from Peyto Lake to Wapta Lake and that route is served by four huts and is very popular in summer and winter.

There’s always been a missing piece: the route from Bow Lake to the Yoho Valley near Field, B.C. has always involved either a very large day between the Bow and Stanley Mitchell Huts, or a night out in a snow cave on the shoulder of Mont des Poilus.

The Louise & Richard Guy Hut will fill that gap, allowing for more comfortable and safer travel on this route. In order to not disturb bear habitat, the shelter will only be open from late fall to early spring. 

The two-storey shelter will sleep 18 and will have bunk beds, sleeping pads and cooking equipment. It’s expected to open its doors to backcountry guests in January 2016.

Construction has started on the structure, visit the ACC here and here for updates on progress

Louise and Richard Guy 

As of 2014, 98-year-old Richard still went to the University of Calgary five days a week to work (for free) as a professor in the mathematics department.

He doesn’t teach anymore, but he is an advisor to staff and students. He still climbs the Calgary Tower every year in support of the Alberta Wilderness Association.

Richard and Louis Guy.  Photo ACC
Richard and Louis Guy. Photo ACC

When he was 96, he climbed his last mountain – Ha Ling Peak in Canmore – to take the ashes of his lovely wife Louise to the top.

Louise Guy died four years ago at the age of 92. She was one of the most caring and genuine people you could ever meet.

She is, among other things, credited with saving the ACC’s General Mountaineering Camp from demise in the 1980s by personally promoting the event through personal letters and phone calls to our members.

The GMC thrives today, but if it weren’t for Louise that would not be the case.