Wendy Thompson Hut to officially open next week 

Alpine club shelter already popular with backcountry users

The Whistler section of the Alpine Club of Canada will celebrate the grand opening of the Wendy Thompson Hut on Wednesday, Aug. 22.

The hut, located in an alpine basin between Cayoosh Mountain and Mount Marriott off the Duffey Lake Road, was a popular destination for backcountry skiers last winter but wasn’t "officially" open, according to section chairman Todd Bush.

The shelter is named after Wendy Thompson, a former Whistler resident and paramedic who was killed in a 1995 airplane crash in the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Bush said the club expects about 50 of Thompson’s friends and family to attend the ceremonies, which get underway at 2:30 p.m.

The hut is a two-story, gothic-arch design – similar to the Himmelsbach and Wedgemount huts near Whistler – that sleeps 24 people in an upstairs loft. It also contains a kitchen and common area.

The outhouse, which currently consists of a primitive two-bucket waste system, will be upgraded after the ceremonies. The club will use $2,000 of grant money from the ACC national office for the improvements.

Bush also told Pique Newsmagazine that the ACC is currently working with the Whistler Museum and Archives Society to find a permanent home to display the history of Coast Mountain climbing.

"It’ll be a great drawing card, kind of like the Whyte Museum in Banff," he said.

In other ACC news, the local alpinists are joining forces with the ACC’s Vancouver section to renovate the Red Tit Hut, located in the Tantalus Range south of Whistler. The hut is popular for summer hiking and mountaineering.

Bush said the hut will be renamed to honour Jim Haberl, a popular local mountaineer who was killed by an avalanche in 1999 while on an Alaskan expedition.

Meanwhile, the local section has reached an agreement to hold its meetings and slide shows in the Millennium Place theatre.

The ACC’s Whistler section, which was welcomed into the national organization in 1997, currently has more than 100 members. The section offers a number of activities and services – including guided trips, instructional clinics, gear discounts and social evenings – to its members.

For more information, contact Bush at 938-9762 or Christine Mathews at 938-2101.

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