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Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut

Banff + Yoho, Alberta

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Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut

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  • Approaching in summer starts along the shores of the Bow Lake. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Bow Hut with the Crowfoot Glacier Beyond.- Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Looking up at the front of the Bow Hut.- Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • The massive chock stone is the easiest feature to spot. The trail goes right over top before following a winding trail above the gorge. In winter you approach this spot from southern side of the gorge. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • It is common for serac fall to occur off the Vulture Glacier. It is possible to stay well clear of this as the chunks rarely get as far as the track up to the hut. All the same, standard group risk strategies for overhead hazards should be observed.- Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Looking up at the Vulture Glacier from the porch on the Bow Hut's south side.- Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Fancy meals at the Bow Hut.- Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Prepping food for the stove top oven. A good example of the fully stocked kitchen at the hut (minus the food).- Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Late night checkers in the main kitchen area.- Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • A cozy evening in the hut with skins drying. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Gearing up for a climb on the glacier.- Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • The bunk room. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Entering the woods at the end of the lake. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Having a map and compass is essential for this route because visibility often becomes poor. In the valley there are few good landmarks, so you will need to basically follow a bearing, time it, and then head north and use the cliffs as a handrail. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • The broad open valley beneath the Vulture Glacier. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • Heading up the final section between the cliffs. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
  • There are plenty of sweet turns to be had near the hut. - Alpine Club of Canada Bow Hut
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Big hut. Beautifully positioned. Patio. Only need to bring in consumables and a sleeping bag.
Cons: 
Busy in the high season. Not a lot to do around the hut if you aren't crevasse rescued trained.
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Region:
Banff + Yoho, AL
Access: 
Vehicle
Congestion: 
Frequently full
Pets allowed: 
No
Reservation email: 
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
National or state forest pass
Price per night: 
$1-70/night
Reservations possible: 
Yes
Sleeps: 
9+
Current Local Weather:

Details

Reservation Information

Reservation phone number: 
1 (403) 678-3200
Reservation email: 
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Property Description

Property Description

Pro Contributor

The Alpine Club of Canada's Bow Hut is one of the most popular alpine huts in the Canadian Rockies. Through the spring season it is often packed to capacity. The approach to the Bow Hut is incredibly scenic. It differs a bit between summer and winter, but either way it is a beautiful walk in. The trailhead begins about 40 minutes north of Lake Louise on the Icefield Parkway. Follow signs to Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. There is a broad parking lot here with plenty of washrooms. The trail begins down by the lake. 

The summer trail follows the edge of the lake for a couple of kilometres. It's a decent singletrack trail that gets flat as it meanders through the gravelly floodplain at the western edge of the lake. Cairns and eventually signs lead you to a gorge and a set of stairs. Just beyond this steep climb is a huge boulder. Here you can head straight for the hut or make a side trip to the Bow Icefall, a popular day hike. You hop over this, and continue along a small trail above the gorge, the route eventually ducks briefly back into the gorge, up a talus field, and back above the gorge before opening up into the alpine. 

Winter adventures to the hut require specific training and awareness. You should have completed Avalanche Safety Training 1 before going to this hut. There are several avalanche risk areas, and you will need to be prepared with the right gear and training. Accidents have happened in the past, and thanks to the frozen lake, it's a straight shot across. In the early season, be careful to check the ice for signs of weakness.

To begin, follow the lake and keep heading toward the constriction of the valley. Where the gorge begins hang a right. There should be a solid skin track heading through the woods. If you are on snowshoes, please, please, please do not walk on the skin track. Snowshoes destroy skin tracks, and as the destroyed tracks solidify into a hard and cruddy mess, the trail becomes unusable for people following behind. 

It's a good idea to speak up as you move through here because people will be ripping down. Keep an eye out. Past this is a straight shot along the edge of the trees before a short but steep and awkward descent. It's a bit of a tricky ride with skins, and this is often the hardest part of the day for beginners. Past this it's up through the gorge. Be mindful in hot days of the snow above you. It's best to move some distance apart here, too. Early season, it's also worth minding the ice, as it may not be fully frozen yet. 

You'll get to a tight squeeze, awkward kick turns will help you gain a small bowl, and then it is up into the trees. Eventually you come out looking up the huge alpine bowl beneath the Vulture Glacier. Taking the south side of the valley, it eventually flattens out. You should be able to see the hut here on the ridge to your right. You have to pull a wide jay into the hut. There is a break in the cliff bands ahead that gains the ridge. Be very mindful here. There was a avalanche in 2016 that took a guy out when people skiing above triggered a slide. Take the appropriate precautions, and be sure to get some training first. 

From here it's a quick hike up to the hut. Hopefully someone will have the fire going! 

Amenities at the hut include:

  • Gas cookers
  • Two wood stoves for heat
  • Drop toilets
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Pots, pans, crockery, and cutlery
  • There is normally one working French press, and there may be two if you're lucky. 
  • Mattresses

In terms of hut ettiquette, the best way to behave in a hut is keep others in mind and leave the hut better than you found it. ACC huts are not the place to host your stag night or other parties. It's there so people can make the best of great outdoors. There are ample cleaning supplies, so be sure to make use of them. Bedtime is at 10 p.m.; after that, you can stay quiet. There are often snorers, so if you're a sensitive sleeper, bring ear plugs and plan accordingly. The good news is that the kitchen and bunkroom are seperate, so more than any other hut you have a chance to escape if need be. Make sure to keep your gear contained.

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