Spearhead Huts Project: Construction of the Kees and Claire Hut

Visitors to Garibaldi Park this winter will see the new Kees and Claire Hut, high on the terrace overlooking Russet Lake. The Spearhead Huts Society has worked hard this summer, from May to October, to raise the hut from its foundation and make it weather-tight for winter. Challenges due to product delivery times, forest fire season and the weather mean that the hut will not be open for ski season. Work will continue on the interior in the spring. Nevertheless, there is a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in getting the hut this far.

The work progressed in stages. The foundations were built and surveyed in summer 2017. Then in late May and June, they were dug out of the snow and the septic and water tanks were airlifted in. The steel and wood framing was erected through July and August. The windows and doors, steel stairs and wood decks were installed in August and September. Then the most complex part of the work— the building envelope consisting of membranes, insulation, roofing and cladding—was completed through September and October.

The wood framing was pre-fabricated and erected by BC Passive House, and the steel structure is by Wide Open Welding. (Photo: Liz Scremin)
Windows by Innotech and doors from Kolbe are installed at the upper floor dining and lounge areas. (Photo: Manrico Scremin)
The roof and fascia nearing completion. The west elevation of the hut will feature steel stairs to the entry deck with a wood guardrail. (Photo: Nick Gorjup)
The south elevation with views to Russet Lake and the Spearhead Range beyond. (Photo: Carol Evenchick)

After years of planning, fundraising, design and engineering, it was indeed wonderful to see the 3-dimensional form of the hut appear this summer. Now the physical approach to the hut, its scale, and relationship to the surrounding landscape can be appreciated. It was a joy to walk through the spaces, to get a sense of their proportions, see the views from each window, and imagine how the whole hut will function once complete.

The logistics of working at a remote site are complex. All materials, tools, water, fuel, food and people were flown in via helicopter from the Whistler Heliport or from a staging area at the base of the Harmony chair. The project demanded and received tremendous dedication, care, patience, and flexibility from everyone involved. The Society is grateful to BC Parks and to all the donors, volunteers and professionals who believed in the vision and shared their dollars, energy and expertise to make the hut happen.

For a full list of our supporters, see: spearheadhuts.org/how-you-can-help/special-thanks

Work will continue intermittently through the winter and in the spring of 2019 to complete the interior finishes, cabinetry, bunks, toilets, plumbing, electrical and more, with the intent of opening as early as possible in 2019.

Ultimately, the hut will be a great and long-lasting facility for the outdoor recreation community in southwest British Columbia.

If you ski past the hut this winter, please respect that it is locked and still very much a construction zone. We encourage everyone to watch over it for us as it gets through its first winter, and to volunteer to help out next year.

For more details and to sign up for the project newsletters, see www.spearheadhuts.org.

Kees and Claire Hut. (Photo: Liz Scremin)

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