Fundraiser for memorial hut to mountaineer Jim Haberl to be held at Escape Route 

Getting more people out to hike, climb and explore the Tantalus Range would be just the kind of thing Jim Haberl would love.

One of Canada’s best mountaineers and the first to reach the summit of the world’s second highest peak, K2, Haberl loved to hike and spend time in the area with his wife Sue Oakey.

This Thursday, July 25, Oakey and others will gather at the Escape Route in Marketplace at 7 p.m. for a silent auction to raise funds for a Tantalus Range alpine hut in memory of Haberl.

He died in an avalanche in Alaska in 1999.

"That area for him was very special," said Oakey.

"He named his publishing company after it and we spent quite a bit of time up there and he thought it was quite a stunning place.

"So I think it is a nice resting place and a nice place for people to go in and visit with him."

Oakey will be placing some of Haberl’s ashes in the foundations of the hut. Site preparation is to get under way this fall, and the rest of the hut will be completed next summer.

"I think it is a lovely opportunity to move into the present and the future with everyone helping out," said Oakey.

"I think he would like the idea that everyone is lending a helping hand and they are creating something for the future, which I think is very hopeful."

Fund-raising for the hut has already reached $43,000. The goal is to raise $60,000 for the alpine shelter.

James Retty, new owner of the Escape Route, heard about the fund-raising effort about six weeks ago and was determined to help out.

"(Haberl) was such a fantastic guy," said Retty.

"And there are a lot of climbers in the community. It is a mountain town so to be able to support something like this is great, and the Coast Range is such a beautiful range."

The new alpine hut will be located not far from the FJ Green Memorial Hut, affectionately known as the Red Tit hut. It will be built in the Serratus-Dione col near Tantalus Provincial Park and will be visible from the Sea to Sky Highway.

The stone and wood hut will be able to sleep up to 16 people and there are even discussions underway about heating it through solar or wind power.

Plans for the hut will be available for viewing at the Escape Route fund-raiser.

Along with thousands of dollars in mountaineering gear up for grabs at the silent auction there will also be beer by donation, thanks to the Brew House pub.

To find out more about the fund-raising effort or to volunteer go to

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