Nothing can escape the effects of climate change, not even historic buildings such as the Abbot Pass refuge in Canada, which will be demolished this year, the centenary of its construction, after a century hosting mountaineers and several decades being an important tourist stop in the agenda of thousands of people.
The country’s National Parks administration service, Parks Canada, reported the sad news in a statement at the end of February. In it, they explained that despite the efforts made to preserve the building, it had finally been decided to withdraw it as it was already a risk for visitors.
The cabin had been closed for several years, since stabilization work worth $600,000 began in 2018 to add embankments to its structure to prevent a possible collapse. Work had to stop in 2019 due to bad weather conditions, and a year later due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The role of climate change
Global warming has played a fundamental role in the deterioration of the construction, as the building was built in 1922 at 2,926 meters above sea level on a blanket of ice and snow between Mount Victoria and Mount Lefroy on the border between the Park Banff National and Yoho National Park.
The rise in temperatures over the decades has caused the ice and snow, which held the earth and rocks on which it is built, to disappear, so its structure has become very unstable. Thus, far from this shelter, its base is eroding, especially on its southeastern slope.
Parks Canada tried to save the refuge by carefully deconstructing it and then relocating it elsewhere, but the significant slope at Abbot Pass and the current state of construction make it possible to carry out this plan without endangering workers.
In addition, it is built mainly with limestone, a material that could break while it is being removed or during its reconstruction, so the idea of placing it in another place ended up being discarded by the administrators.