I was a little concerned about Day 2 since it was the day we'd be skiing into the ACC Wates Gibson hut - a hut which was notorious for being a little hard to find. To make things worse, I forgot my guidebook at home although Bob and I both had mapping GPS's.

On Day 1, we ran into a group who were forced to build a snow cave since they were unable to find the hut. At least we knew not to follow their tracks.

Here's the first part of Day 1 which was a quick descent from the Cavell Hostel to the Astoria River.

Somewhere along this stretch, I wiped out and lost a blue 1L Nalgene bottle. Luckily, I carried a spare bottle while Bob carried a water filter.


Here's the typical view of the Astoria Valley as it winds westwards towards the Tonquin valley.

As you can see, it's hard to get lost due to the snowmobile tracks.

We noticed that the snowmobiles (which made their way to the Tonquin lodge) made at least 2 trips per day and were carrying a sled full of building supplies for a possible expansion to their operations. It was a little distracting to hear and smell the snowmobiles as they passed but at least they groomed the trail. It probably didn't make a huge difference for Bob but it sure made the skiing a lot easier.

The tracks would lead to within a km of Chrome Lake where a small sign indicated the turnoff towards the ACC hut.


Here's a look back towards Mt. Edith Cavell. What a beautiful day!

The temperature never dropped below (an estimated) -5C during the trip. It was warm enough that I never wore more than a Goretex shell over a T-shirt.


Here's a hawk owl we found about 20m off the trail.

About 30 min later, I was lucky enough to round a corner and see a wolf walking in the snowmobile tracks. Unfortunately, it took off immediately so I wasn't able to take any pictures.

We also noticed another pair of tracks which always seemed to be close to us on the trail. Bob thought that they were cat-like so we concluded it must have been a Lynx.


The routefinding to the hut was a lot easier than I expected.

Having read the guidebook a dozen times at home, I remembered the basic route to the hut and when we combined that knowledge with the map on our GPS, we were able to use common sense to find the easiest route to the hut. We also knew that the hut was located on the shore of Outpost lake so it'd be pretty hard to miss.

Bob led the way and quickly disappeared into the whiteness as he flew up the switchbacks to the hut.

In the picture to the left, you can see a small sign in the snow which indicates that you're 500m from the hut. A set of steep switchbacks leads you up the hill to the ACC Wates Gibson Hut.


And here it is!

The first thing that caught my attention was the snow surrounding the hut. The trails around the hut must have been at least 100cm deep and thanks to the snow falling off the roof, the areas immediately around the hut were amost 3m high!

Here's Bob bringing some firewood to the hut. It's a typical shot of Bob because he was always doing something. Whether it was building a fire, cleaning the kitchen or melting snow, he was an absolute workhorse!


For some reason, I was under the impression that the Wates Gibson hut was very rustic and had nothing more than a wood burning stove and a few Coleman stoves. It turned out that it was even more luxurious than the Cavell hostel.

The common area was just as large and the kitchen was bigger than the one I have at home. It was probably better equipped as well. I mean, how many remote mountain huts have a potato mashing tool?

Bob and I had the hut to ourselves for 2 nights so we decided to sleep in the common area once again. The sleeping area upstairs was completely unheated and very cold.

Back to Day 1

Day 3