The West Coast’s Tan­ta­liz­ing Moun­tain Shel­ter

Gripped - - THE HUT - K2: Dreams and Re­al­ity Gripped tsekílx.

The Jim Haberl hut sits at 2,030 me­tres at the Ser­ra­tus-Dione Col. The mod­est sin­gle-storey shel­ter has a wood frame, which is topped with a me­tal roof and cladding. There is a large kitchen and com­fort­able sit­ting room that of­fers stun­ning view to the south, west and north. The two sleep­ing rooms can sleep six peo­ple each. For those who ar­rive un­planned and can’t ac­cess the hut, there is an emer­gency vestibule to es­cape the weather in.

To ac­cess the re­mote hut is about a six-hour hike above Lake Lovely Wa­ter or a two-day 14- hour trip from the Squamish River. The hut was built in hon­our of Jim Haberl, who died in 1999 in an avalanche. In 2002, peo­ple who knew Jim helped cre­ate the Jim Haberl Hut Fund in hopes of rais­ing enough in­ter­est to re­place an older hut al­ready at the site. One such mes­sage for sup­port read, “Plans for fund-rais­ing, de­sign­ing and build­ing the club’s new hut to re­place the Red Tit Hut are un­der­way. Our vi­sion is to cre­ate a prac­ti­cal and wel­com­ing hut with com­fort­able ameni­ties in the Ser­ra­tus-Dione Col that will serve the moun­tain com­mu­nity well and stand as a fit­ting me­mo­rial to moun­taineer and guide Jim Haberl.” The hut was pieced to­gether on site from the sum­mer of 2005 to spring of 2006 by the acc and Haberl’s fam­ily and friends. The pre­fab­ri­ca­tion of the frame was com­pleted with the as­sis­tance of the 192nd Air­field Engi­neers dur­ing the sum­mer of 2004.

More im­pres­sive than the hut is the man the hut in named af­ter. Haberl, who was a moun­tain guide with the As­so­ci­a­tion of Cana­dian Moun­tain Guides and the pres­i­dent of the West Coast sec­tion, lived in Whistler and died on April 29 while climb­ing Ul­tima Thule Peak in the St. Elias Na­tional Park, near the Alaska and B.C. bor­der. While he was break­ing trail up a 20- de­gree slope the snow frac­tured a ways above him. The slow avalanche trapped Haberl and car­ried him about 400 me­tres down the slope and over rock bands. He was a highly ac­com­plished moun­taineer, alpin­ist and skier. Along with Dan Cul­ver in 1993, Haberl made the first Cana­dian as­cent of K2 with­out sup­ple­men­tal oxy­gen. On the way down, Cul­ver died. The climb­ing team was awarded the Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal of the Or­der of Canada for their climb. Be­fore he died, Haberl was one of the Canada’s lead­ing guides and men­tored a num­ber of as­pir­ing climbers. Hav­ing pub­lished two books, called and work­ing on a third about Alaska at the time of his death.

The hut is lo­cated in the beau­ti­ful Tan­talus Range, which is a sub­range of the Pa­cific Ranges of the Coast Moun­tain. If you have ever driven the Sea to Sky High­way and looked west then you have seen the im­pres­sive glaciated peaks of the Tan­talus. The range is only about 40 kilo­me­tres long and 15 kilo­me­tres wide. The high­est peak is Mount Tan­talus at 2,603 me­tres and like many of the other moun­tains of the range and the range it­self, it got its name from Greek mythol­ogy. Leg­end has it a climber named the area Tan­talus be­cause he was tan­ta­lized, much like Tan­talus was af­ter he was ban­ished to the un­der­world (Hades) and sub­merged in cold wa­ter with fruit so close it was tan­ta­liz­ing. And yes, tan­ta­liz­ing has its roots in the word Tan­talus. Another leg­end has it the area got its name be­cause the spires and sum­mits are sub­merged in icy glaciers. To the lo­cal in­dige­nous peo­ple of the area, the name of the Tan­talus Range is

There are dozens of worth­while routes in the Tan­talus for in­ter­me­di­ate and ad­vanced alpine climbers. There is a va­ri­ety of snow and rock routes of all grades. Tan­talus was first climbed in 1911 di­rectly from the Squamish River. A clas­sic route on the peak is the north ridge. The nearby Mount Dione is 2,590 me­tres and has a num­ber of mod­er­ate routes to the sum­mit. Mount Al­pha is 2,305 me­tres and has a route up its East Ridge with pitches up to 5.8. The short­est of the main peaks is Mount Ser­ra­tus, which is 2,326 me­tres. Three well-trav­elled routes up Ser­ra­tus are the icy North Face and ice and mod­er­ate routes up the East Ridge and West Face Couloir. The hut is con­ve­niently lo­cated for climbers want­ing to make the full tra­verse of the Tan­talus Range. A highly rec­om­mended climb.–

he was Reser­va­tions are re­quired at all ACC fa­cil­i­ties. Reser­va­tions are made through the na­tional of­fice at the Canmore Club­house.

403 678 3200, ex­ten­sion 0

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