Louise and Richard Guy Hut Access

The following is an update on access to the new Louise and Richard Guy Hut at Mont des Poilus from the authors of the guidebook Summits & Icefields 1: Alpine Ski Tours in the Canadian Rockies and Summits & Icefields Map: Wapta Icefields and Bow Summit.

Getting to the Guy Hut from the east (and traveling to the east from the hut)

Safe arrival at the Guy Hut. Photo by Zac Robinson

Chic Scott wrote the Yoho Traverse description in the guidebook before the hut was built. His “safer alternative” route on Page 182 that describes a way along a ridge to gain the Glacier Des Poilus from the Mt Collie area passes right by the hut. This is the easiest way to get to the hut from the east. The image below has this route marked on a snippet of map. Some additional route finding information for this option follows:

Gain the ridge via a small col at the base of the “prominent rock cliff” mentioned in the guidebook. This col is at MGRS 296157, 2750 m. Although it is possible to contour into this col from the glacier, that route traverses a steep slope and it is probably safest to ski a nice pitch down the glacier until just below the col and then skin up to the col (you will need to skin along the ridge for a short ways regardless). There are a couple of open crevasses below the slope used to get to the col. On the ridge itself be very careful of large cornices and the crack between the ridge and the cornices (the cleave); skiers have fallen into the cleave here. The cornices may be difficult to see in poor visibility.

The route to the hut from the east which is marked on the map by a red line is possible but it is not the easiest or safest way to get there. The advantage of this route is that it initially gives a good ski run. However, from the bottom of that run at about 2500 m in the moraine below the glacier it is necessary to ascend to the hut, and the safest way to do so may be a bit difficult. The following would be the safest way (this is not exactly as shown on the map):

Gain the base of a ridge to the southwest and follow it all the way up to the main ridge about 100 m above and to the north of the hut. This main ridge is the route described in the guidebook. You can skin partway up this route but at one point you will need to walk and this would include negotiating some small rock outcrops. It could be difficult especially in unconsolidated snow conditions.

There are also two other ways from the bottom of the glacier run. Neither of these routes is the easiest or safest option and should only be attempted by more experienced parties:

One goes up the ridge then crosses a large and very steep avalanche slope to the hut. Although southwest facing, it seems to get wind loaded. There has been an avalanche accident here in the past.

The other possibility is complex and awkward. It goes up the ridge and then back down and across to the west across some small avalanche terrain that is also exposed to a large, steep slope above (remote triggering possible). It then requires a short bootpack up a short but very steep windloaded slope with a cornice. This is the approximate route as shown as a red line on the map.

Traveling between the Guy Hut and the Glacier des Poilus

The safest way to get to the Glacier Des Poilus from the hut is to use smaller, disconnected terrain starting from the south end of the col and bumping slightly skier’s left a few times. There are still some steep slopes here but they are smaller than a direct route between the hut and glacier. This spot will be difficult route finding in poor visibility. This route is marked in green on the image below.

Note that the glacier has receded drastically since the glacial dataset for the map was created and there is now an ice cliff and a lake at the toe.

Chic Scott, TJ Neault, Mark Klassen