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The Spearhead Traverse's Kees and Claire Hut hopes to reopen in February

Hut can only open if B.C. lifts its current pandemic travel restrictions
spearhead Kees and Claire hut
After keeping its doors closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Kees and Claire hut at Russet Lake hopes to reopen to backcountry users on Feb. 6 if B.C. lifts its pandemic travel restrictions.

After initially keeping its doors shut this winter due to COVID-19 restrictions, one of Whistler's most popular backcountry huts hopes to reopen to the public on Feb. 6, pending "the lifting on social gathering restrictions" in B.C.by Provinical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

In a post to its social media accounts on Monday, Jan. 25, the Spearhead Huts Society shared that the Kees and Claire Hut, located at Russet Lake along the Spearhead Traverse, has once again begun accepting group reservations. "After much careful deliberation on COVID-19 safety protocols," according to the post, the hut's winter operations are tentatively starting back up with the intent to accept bookings until April 30, 2021.

Representatives from the Spearhead Huts Society said upcoming bookings will be subject to the same restrictions implemented for the hut's summer 2020 season.

Under those rules, only single groups of up to 16 people will be allowed to book the hut at once. Each group will be required to book Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights only, to allow for the hut to be cleaned between visitors. No mid-week bookings will be accommodated. 

Each booking will be subject to a fixed flat rate of $2400, regardless of how many people are in the group. Hut custodians also ask guests to wear a mask "whenever possible in the common areas of the hut," except while sleeping, eating, or washing.

"It is recommended to only visit the hut within a dedicated social bubble that you’ve been recreating with for the whole season," the post cautioned.  

After years of planning, the Kees and Claire Hut officially opened in September 2019. “We were operating at 90-plus-per-cent occupancy until COVID hit and we had to shut down in the middle of March,” Spearhead Huts Society chair Jayson Faulkner told Pique last fall.

“We had bookings until the end of May and then beyond. All those had to be cancelled. It was as bad as it gets. We couldn’t reopen because of the BC Parks closure. That was really unfortunate.”

The hut managed to reopen in August with the same strict rules listed above, despite the fact that the hut normally operates with a 38-person capacity.

This story was updated on Feb.1 to clarify that the hut will only open if the public health officer lifts current pandemic travel restictions.