Revelstoke guide proposes alpine hut network in Monashee Mountains

Mountain guide Jeff Bellis applies for tenure to develop three huts connected by trails in the Gold Range south of Revelstoke

The Gold Range features many alpine meadows scattered with small lakes and views of glacier-capped mountains.

A Revelstoke mountain guide is proposing to build three new huts in the Monashee Mountains south of town that would enable people to go on hut-to-hut hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking trips.

Goldrange Alpine, which is run by Jeff Bellis, filed a Crown land application to build three huts in the Gold Range. One would be near Cranberry Mountain, one near Gates Peak and one near Mount Odin. The huts would be accessed via trails that would extend up mountain valleys from nearby logging roads.

“I grew up in Revelstoke and I love cruising around the mountains,” said Bellis. “I’ve been to Europe and it’s awesome to be able to go hut to hut without carrying all your gear.”

The Gold Range is a subset subrange of the Monashee Mountains that extends from the Trans-Canada Highway to about 60 kilometres south of Revelstoke. It encompasses landmarks like Mount Begbie, the Blanket Glacier, Mount Thor, Mount Odin and Mount Fosthall near the south end of the range. It features narrow valleys, glaciated peaks that approach 3,000 metres in elevation, and many small lakes and meadows.

“It’s amazing back there,” said Bellis. “It’s a bit hard to access so a lot of people don’t get in there. It’s really beautiful, rugged terrain.”

While the east and west flanks of the range are criss-crossed by logging roads, the heart of the mountains is mostly untouched by humans, with only a few trails entering the area. Two backcountry lodges are located in the range the Blanket Glacier Chalet near Revelstoke, and Sol Mountain Lodge to the south.

Bellis, 40, was born and raised in Revelstoke and has spent most of his life exploring the mountains in the area. He has been a certified ACMG mountain guide for about a decade, guides for CMH Revelstoke and runs his own company, Global Powder Guides, which leads trips around Revelstoke and in Greeland.

Photo: The tenure Goldrange Alpine applied for is outlined in red. ~ Google Earth image by Goldrange Alpine

He has applied for a summer-only tenure over 210 square kilometres, stretching from Blanket Mountain in the north to Mount Odin in the south. He has divided the area into three zones: Cranberry, Gates and Odin, from south to north. Each zone would contain a small, 750 square foot, 12-bed hut with a kitchen, drying area, living space and outhouse.

Trails would be built to access the huts from the logging road network above Shelter Bay, and a fourth trail would connect the Cranberry and Gates huts. Trips would be guided and could involve mountain biking, hiking or mountaineering. Winter operations are not part of the plan as the area overlaps CMH Revelstoke and Eagle Pass Heliskiing winter tenure.

“The experience offered is a remote backcountry experience in an isolated mountain setting,” Bellis wrote in his application. “The rugged nature of the Monashee mountains, the numerous glaciers and alpine tarns, and the abundance of sub alpine meadows will create an unforgettable guest experience.”

When asked if guests would be flow in, Bellis said you’d have to either hike or bike into the huts on the proposed trails. “The whole idea is to stay away from the helicopter,” he said. “Those valleys are short enough. It’s about 10 kilometres to get in so it’s doable by your average person in a day.”

Bellis says he hopes to start working on the project next summer, but knows that right now it’s in the hands of the government.

“I think this is a great thing for Revelstoke as summer tourism takes off and more people come to the community to mountain bike and hike,” he said.

You can read the management plan here.

 

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