Situated in the heart of the Coast Range, McGillivray Pass Lodge was built in 1972 by a group of outdoor enthusiasts as a base for winter skiing and summer hiking. The magnificent log cabin is recorded as one of the earliest backcountry lodges in British Columbia.
For the past 20 years, the Andrews family have held the keys to the lodge, initially using it as their ‘getaway home,’ but more recently opening it up to clients of their mountain adventure operation. Ron Andrews, referred to by many as the McGillivray Pass Lodge patriarch, began hosting winter ski trips at the lodge in the early 1990’s. Yet, it was his son Lars, IFMGA trained Mountain Guide, that saw the potential and opportunity to grow a business from these outings.
Since these early days, the Andrews’ business of backcountry adventure has snowballed into Whitecap Alpine. Adding backcountry yurts, a sauna room, warm showers and fully catered meals; this once rustic lodge has been
transformed into a charming alpine retreat. As the operation has grown, so have its offerings. This summer, Leah Evans and Hayden Robbins have joined the team to spearhead Whitecap’s summer hiking program. This pair of ACMG hiking guides is bringing a new energy and fresh ideas to the world of hiking trips.
Hayden, who has been working alongside Lars as a winter ski guide for the last seven years, is excited to develop curated hiking programs as part of Whitecap’s summer schedule. This will involve bringing in experts from various fields (e.g. birders, artists and ecologists) to combine education with the hiking experience. Leah has let leak that they are also planning to build new trails, a floating sauna in one of the alpine lakes, plus an outdoor activities platform for concerts, yoga and star gazing. After chatting with these two, it is obvious that Whitecap’s summer adventures will offer far more than your average hiking getaway.
While Leah and Hayden have taken charge of the hiking operations, there is no way that Ron will be giving up his summer post. Describing his greatest summer pleasures to be “the refreshing cool dawn walks in the meadows, watching a day begin through shadows from the low early morning sun,” and “long lazy days in the mountains following twilight as the sun sets beyond a silent horizon of distant peaks.” He will remain present to watch over the operation as Leah and Hayden add their flair.
Situated in the broad valley of McGillivray Pass just North of Pemberton, Whitecap is the closest backcountry lodge to Vancouver. It is incredible how quickly you can be transported to the peace and solace of wide-open mountain spaces and feel calmly distanced from the industrial world. History runs deep here and a true passion for the outdoors combined with a real love of mountain culture can be felt through the lodge’s wood framed walls.