R.J. Ritchie Hut

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
R.J. Ritchie (Balfour) Hut
alpine hut
Balfour hut aug 2005.jpg
Balfour Hut with Mount Balfour in the background - Sept 2005
Named for: Mount Balfour
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
Region Banff National Park
Location Wapta Icefield
 - elevation 2,470 m (8,100 ft)
 - coordinates 51°35′30″N 116°27′18″W / 51.59167°N 116.45500°W / 51.59167; -116.45500
Built by Alpine Club of Canada
Style Metal Shelter cabin
Material Metal
Governed by Parks Canada
Operated by Alpine Club of Canada
For public Reservations required
Capacity 18 in summer / 16 in winter
Heating None
Lighting / Cooking Solar / Propane
Sleeping Dormitory style
Drinking water Creek (boil or filter)
Human waste Outhouse (helicoptered out)
Website: Balfour Hut at the Alpine Club of Canada

The R.J. Ritchie Hut (Balfour Hut) is an alpine hut located at an altitude of 2,470 metres (8,100 ft) between the southern tip of the Wapta Icefield and the northern tip of the Waputik Icefield in Banff National Park. The hut is at the half-way mark for the Wapta traverse and is usually used in conjunction with the other huts in this chain while attempting a cross-glacier ski trip. The hut is maintained by the Alpine Club of Canada.[1]

The hut sleeps 18 in the summer and 16 in the winter. It is equipped with propane-powered lamps and stovetop.

The hut requires approximately three to five hours of glacier travel to get to from the Bow Hut, or six to eight hours from the Scott Duncan Hut.


The hut is found on low, rocky hills at the toe of the Vulture Glacier. It is east of Balfour Pass and the continental divide, just inside the boundary of Banff National Park.[2]


The original Balfour Hut, a fibreglass igloo built in 1965 at Balfour Pass in Banff National Park, was the first hut on the Wapta Icefield. Construction was undertaken by the Alpine Club of Canada and the Calgary Ski Club. It survived until 1971, having been disassembled and reassembled entirely with Swiss Army Knives, airlifted by helicopter, and inadvertently dropped onto a glacial moraine. Eventually, marauding bands of wolverines destroyed it.[dubious ]

The second Balfour Hut was constructed in 1971 of cedar logs on the south side of Mount Olive to the west of the continental divide in Yoho National Park. It lasted for 18 years.

In 1989, the current metal hut was built at a new location in Banff National Park: the toe of the Vulture Glacier.[2]



  1. ^ "R.J. Ritchie (Balfour) Hut". Alpine Club of Canada. 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  2. ^ a b Haberl, Keith (1997). Alpine Huts - A Guide to the Facilities of the Alpine Club of Canada (2nd ed.). Alpine Club of Canada. ISBN 0-920330-32-0. }