Opening access for all – trimming the Fairy Meadow Hut trail

Clearing the Fairy Meadow trail for summer access

The Bill Putnam Hut, or as it is more widely known, Fairy Meadow Hut is located in the Adamant range in the northern Selkirk Mountains of BC. It is well known for being a powder skiing mecca. Week long trips are booked through a lottery system at The Alpine Club of Canada and if you are lucky enough to win, you’re almost guaranteed to have the best ski week of your life.

In winter, this is a self-guided helicopter access hut that is coveted by many. The winter ski camp the ACC runs annually sells out every year and faster than any other camp we run.


The Fairy that watches over all who pass beneath her – Photo ACC Collection


Welcome to the back porch of the Bill Putnam (Fairy Meadow) hut – Photo by Dave McCormick


The Adamants. World Class? We’ll let you decide – Photo by Dave McCormick


So many objectives and never enough time

In the summer the Adamant range is at the doorstep of the Fairy Meadow Hut and is a world-class climbing and mountaineering locale. Sadly, summer access into this area has, over the past 10 years, slowly degraded and become overgrown to the point where it became known to be helicopter-access only. The last known group to go to the hut, early in 2016, took just over 12 hours to thrash their way up to the hut. This is a far cry from the 5 – 6 hours it should take when the trail is clear. Because of this overgrowth and the cost of a helicopter flight, the Adamants have seen few visitors.

So a keen group of ACC volunteers on two separate weekends, organized by the national office, put themselves to work clearing the trail up to the hut.


Nathan Dahl fighting his way through the brush during a recon mission on the trail – Photo by Jeff Stewart



Kristine O’Rielly leading the way, clearing all that stands in her way – Photo by Jeff Stewart


Alders, alders everywhere

Who likes alders? No one, no one likes alders. On Aug 19 – 21, 2016, a crew of four volunteers from Calgary, Canmore, Salmon Arm and Saskatchewan camped at the trailhead into the Fairy Meadow Hut and after two days, 1.3 km of thick brush was cleared. But the group was thirsty for more.


Emily Doyle throwing herself with wild abandon at the work ahead – Photo by Jeff Stewart



Gordon Hopper and Tess Sanson waging the war and winning as the trail starts to take shape – Photo by Jeff Stewart


Returning to finish the job

A month later on September 23 – 25, eight strong volunteers were back on the trail. Working in two teams of four, major gains were made upwards towards the hut. This second group cut 1.6 km the first day and pushed the remaining 200 m to the start of an old growth section where the trail was indistinct (flagged) but not overgrown. With this success it is estimated that of the 9.1 km long trail, 5.4 km is cleared for easy passage and only 3.7 km remain to be cleared.


A happy crew in the old growth where a little respite from alder clearing was welcomed – Photo by Jeff Stewart


With a top down approach coming late June, early July, 2017, the Fairy Meadow hut will be officially be open for foot traffic and access to a world class mountain environment will be restored to those who have a thirst for adventure.


What still lies ahead. The final project for spring 2017 to finish the trail – Photo by Ryan W


Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

The ACC wouldn’t be the organization that it is today without the support of dedicated volunteers. This weekend was a showcase of the above mentioned volunteers that are willing to donate their time and energy to helping create a community that is dedicated to getting outside and making it all happen. So I would like to thank Nathan Dahl, Bob Thrasher, Kristine O’Rielly, Clark Bostrom, Clyde Bostrom, Emily Doyle, Brian Baum, Matt Marshall, Tess Sansom and Gordon Hopper for their energy, smiles and excitement to help clear a path back into the remote Adamant mountains and the Fairy Meadow Hut.


Left to Right: Matt Marshall, Jeff Stewart, Tess Sansom, Clyde Bostrom, Emily Doyle, Clark Bostrom, Brian Baum and Kiran the dog – Photo by Gordon Hopper


Important access information


On the main forestry access road near the 50 km mark and onward, the road will almost become impassable even with 4×4 vehicles during heavy rain events. If driving in in wet conditions, please make sure you are a part of a convoy and have towing capabilities. There is active logging from km 60 onward and at the trail head parking. Please be aware that these side roads are worse off than the main road if wet. Please park well onto the shoulder to allow forestry vehicles to pass. We do ask and recommend that anyone traveling in by foot to bring a small saw and help keep this trail open and accessible for years to come.

Fairy Meadow Hut – further access information is found on the FM page

Don’t miss out on opportunities such as this all across Canada. Check out the 22 regional sections across Canada and join the one that suits you best. Or simply join for the other awesome benefits such as our national level trips, discounted hut nights, affordable guide books and maps etc. Need we say more?

Great people, great opportunities all lead to great memories. How can you say no?

Join Here

Leave a Reply