scramble to Conrad Kain hut in the Bugaboos

Photographer Phil Armitage has a terrific photo gallery that any hiker will love. His best photos are available for sale.

I was particularly interested in Phil’s pics from a hike to shoot “The Hound’s Tooth” in the “Bugs”, a granite range in the Purcell Mountains of eastern British Columbia, Canada.

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From Phil’s trip report:

Bugaboo spires trailhead, at the end of the road in Bugaboo Provincial Park.

Although this is by far the most popular spot in the Purcells, it’s still pretty remote – you’ll need to violate the spirit as well as the letter of a rental car contract to negotiate the 30 miles of dirt roads between Brisco (18 miles north of Radium Hot Springs on Highway 95) and the trailhead.

You’ll need detailed directions from a guidebook, or from maps available locally, but it’s not too tricky to find. In summer 2006 the road was pretty rough, with plenty of potholes, but numerous low clearance 2WD cars and vans had successfully made it to the Park. …

The hike to the Conrad Kain hut is very short – just a 6 mile round trip – but brutally steep. There’s 2200 feet of elevation gain to the hut, all of it attained in the last two miles.

In places the route is protected by cables bolted into the rock, and in one spot you climb a steep section with the aid of a metal ladder, but the trail is in excellent shape and at least in dry weather these aids are more for reassurance than for necessity. The views of the Hound’s Tooth, with the Bugaboo glacier flowing past the spire and down the valley, are continual and astounding throughout the hike. When we did this in mid-August, there were nice patches of wildflowers in several small meadows along the trail.

The hut is perched on a rocky shelf with a panoramic view of both the spires and the valley along which the trail ascends. It’s a great spot for lunch. You can also scramble off-trail without much difficulty to attain a small ridge that allows a closer vantage of the glaciers. This feels about as wild a spot as can be reached by mere hikers. I highly recommend this hike – it’s one of the best short day hikes I’ve done.

Day hikes in the Bugaboos and Purcell Mountains of British Columbia

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I checked with a local hiking buddy who had done this trip a few years ago. He confirmed it was one of his best hikes ever.

We’ve added Conrad Cain to our list of the best hikes in North America.

Bugaboo Provincial Park
– official website

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