Canwell Glacier - Hut repair trip
Region: Delta Mountains - Alaska Range
Date: July 2003
Elevation Gain: ?'
Partner: Alaska Alpine Club: Stan, Sandy (her 2 friends), some kid in cotton
Links: Alaska Alpine Club | AAC Huts
The Alaska Alpine Club has a couple huts that it maintains in the Delta Mountains for mountaineering purposes. 2 Huts are on the Canwell Glacier. The lower one across the glacier from Institute Peak was in need of some repair. So in winter, a snowmobile transported the necessary supplies out to the hut, for a repair this summer.
So when the call for volunteers went out, I jumped at the opportunity to do a nice backpack and glacier hike. I even packed a drill I had, along with a set of drill bits. If only I had brought the jig along, then it would have been useful!!! Dead weight in the pack, again.
An old 4WD road goes along the southern part of the glacier, so we were able to cut a lot of distance of the hike to the hut. This road has since been taken over by a mining company, so I can only assume it has been improved from the narrow bush scratching paint insanity it was.
From the end of the old road, we started off on our way. I was expounding on the virtues of using a GPS while hiking. Useful for the major stream crossing we had to make along the way, as well as for navigating across the glacier.
It was a rather warm day, and we hiked at a reasonably brisk pace. Though when we stopped for a break, the pitfalls of wearing cotton were made clear. The 18yr old kid we had along, got chilled as we lunched. The rest of us in out synthetic gear were perfectly happy. Live and learn!
Of course I learned a few things later on. Crossing the glacier was rather flat and easy. But now we had to get up to the hut on the lateral moraine. Here's where I hit the energy wall. Thankfully Sandy's friend introduced me to GU, and I had the instant energy fix to "bound" up the last hill.
We found the hut was being used by a variety of small animals that had chewed through the door and came in through the old floor boards. So we set to work fixing these problems, making the roof stronger and had a professional stone mason work on the surrounding barriers around and under the hut.
By evening, the inside was good enough to habitate, and just large enough for those of us who didn't want to carry tents.
On the hike out, we took a slightly different and much easier route. All the mid glacier crossing way points, for naught. But we still used the major side stream crossing way point, as that was the location of the south side trail.