Ben Ferris (Great Cairn) Hut

Ben Ferris (Great Cairn) Hut

Built 1965

The Great Cairn Hut is a very small and remote stone cabin located in the northern Selkirks of BC. The Great Cairn Hut offers the perfect location to enjoy both solitude and excellent adventure opportunities. The hut is located on a red bedrock bench overlooking Mt. Sir Sandford, the highest peak in the Selkirks. Mt. Sir Sandford is the most obvious climbing objective, but there are many other excellent climbs and peaks in the area.

Hut Facilities

Ben Ferris (Great Cairn) Hut Features

Open All Year

Features

A base for excellent mountaineering

Mount Sir Sandford, the highest summit in the Selkirks, is without a doubt the prime attraction of the area. There are nearly a dozen routes and variations on the peak, the most worthwhile being on snow and ice. Other moderate snow and ice routes exist on Silvertip, Citadel, Cornice Peak, the Footstool, and others.

An exception to the generally poor rock climbing in the Sir Sandford area may be the rock on the northwest side of Ravelin Peak. No routes exist, but the potential seems great. To the northwest, there are brilliant routes on the excellent granite peaks of the Adamants. The Blackfriars and Belvedere Peak are accessed best from the Great Cairn – Ben Ferris Hut. The exceptional rock routes on the south side of the Stickle, Turret Peak and Austerity are accessed from the hut, but usually involve a bivouac.

An alternative to the peaks is a crag below the snout of the Silvertip Glacier. It is undeveloped, but faces southeast, provides very fine rock and enjoys a fabulous position overlooking the hut and Mount Sir Sandford. Some limited but exceptional bouldering can also be found on this formation. Information on these mountain routes can be found in Columbia Mountains of Canada, Central.

Trail Access

Access in summer and winter is via helicopter. Travel arrangements through Alpine Helicopters in Golden (250-344-7444).

Member Rates

  • Standard $40

Non Member Rates

  • Standard $49

Features

A base for excellent ski touring

The Great Cairn – Ben Ferris Hut is not the ski destination that its rich cousin the Fairy Meadow Hut is: the telemarking slopes are not as extensive and the facilities at the hut are more limited (no propane stove, no firewood). Rather, the Great Cairn – Ben Ferris is a remote hut with fabulous glaciers and tons of potential for exploration and touring. It is occasionally used as an overnight destination from the Fairy Meadow Hut for small groups looking for something a little bit different and a challenging backcountry adventure.

Trail Access

Access in summer and winter is via helicopter. Travel arrangements through Alpine Helicopters in Golden (250-344-7444).

Member Rates

  • Standard $40

Non Member Rates

  • Standard $49

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Hut History

Between 1908 and 1912 Howard Palmer traveled, climbed and extensively mapped the area around Mt. Sir Sandford, the highest mountain in the Selkirks. In 1912 he succeeded in climbing the peak, and in 1914 wrote of his adventures in one of the greatest books ever published on mountaineering in Canada: Mountaineering and Exploration in the Selkirks. The Silvertip, Haworth, and Sir Sandford glaciers have all receded substantially since Palmer’s expeditions; the present site of the Great Cairn Hut was under 20 to 30m of ice where the three glaciers met in Palmer’s day.

In 1953, a party from the Harvard Mountaineering Club was on a climbing trip in the area and on a rainy August day built a 20-foot high cairn, known as the Great Cairn. In 1963, Bill Putnam and Ben Ferris visited the area and began plans for the construction of a climbing hut. The hut was built the following year and finished in 1965. The Great Cairn Hut was financed by Putnam and the ACC, and was built from the stones of the Great Cairn, which was dismantled for its materials.

Conditions May Apply

Rab Canada sponsors the ACC hut network.
We thank them for their support.

Guests who have immediate plans to travel to one of our huts in Jasper National Park please respect the wildfire closures. We will be in contact with guests affected by the closures shortly.

We are asking guests with future reservations at ACC huts in Jasper National Park to please be patient as the situation is evolving. We will update our guests on any future closures as we receive updates from the emergency response teams.

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