The area around Valleycliffe is known for its hikes and climbing routes. Though it’s apparent that many other outdoor enthusiasts have been here before, we’re also tracing the same steps as some of the earliest settlers of the Squamish Valley, including the pioneer Jack Habricht.
Valleycliffe, or Skunk Hollow?
Habricht emigrated to Canada from Poland in his late teens, arriving just before the turn of the twentieth century. After short stints in the riverboat and locomotive industries, he arrived in Squamish—Valleycliffe, more specifically, though at that time it was known as “Skunk Hollow”.
In a secluded clearing just behind what’s now the former Cliffside Pub, Habricht constructed the low, sturdy cabin that would be his home for the next fifty years. He made work for himself trapping and prospecting in the Squamish Valley, and even had a small mining property by Goat Creek. Old photos suggest, as well, that he had a penchant for the accordion!
Naming Mt. Habrich
Habricht’s legacy was cemented when a small group of surveyors came across his cabin while surveying the surrounding mountains. Habricht permitted the surveyors to use his cabin as a base camp while they worked. At the end of the project, the surveyors were so appreciative that they named the mountain—which is directly south-east of the Chief—Mt. Habrich, after their generous host.
Habricht died on August 2, 1950 in his cabin. The Squamish Advance immediately ran an obituary for him, calling him a “pioneer” of the Squamish Valley.
Jack’s Legacy in Today’s Trails
Today, folks exploring the area at the top of the Sea-to-Sky Gondola might come across a winding, 7-kilometer trail called Al’s Habrich Trail, which provides stunning views of the Squamish Valley. At its peak, Mount Habrich is directly visible to the south-west. From here, you can imagine the sort of view that Habricht had while trapping and prospecting in the mountains, and for a moment live through the eyes of an iconic early settler-resident of the Squamish Valley.