Canmore, Alta. man spends 7 years documenting alpine outhouses for new book
CALGARY -- There's many books available showing picturesque views of the Rocky Mountains, but a Canmore, Alta. man's latest offering may just contain some that are among the most unique.
Gavin Boutet’s new self-published book is titled, Poo With A View.
He took upward of 5,000 photos over the last seven years while working with The Alpine Club of Canada as a hut services worker.
It operates the two highest permanent structures in Canada that, along with a number of others, serve as lodging for climbers and back country skiers.
Boutet and his team visited alpine cabins in the Rockies and their job was to clean the outhouses.
The human waste is collected in barrels and has to be removed by helicopter because of their elevation and remote locations.
“Flying the poo barrels, or honey buckets as we called them, were part of the yearly service if not bi-yearly service, depending on locations,” said Boutet.
He started out making calendars for his friends and family of all the spectacular views he photographed, including the outhouses, then realized he had enough material to put a book together.
“Once I thought about focusing on this project, Poo With a View just seemed like an obvious choice,” said Boutet.
He’s publishing the 56-page book himself, which contains about 70 of his photos.
“It’s a small book meant for the toilet,” said Boutet. “It’s an easy read, coffee table book so that was kind of the intention was to keep it small and compact.”
Boutet says it’s coming out at a time of the pandemic when people might need something to smile or laugh about. But he takes his time as a hut service worker seriously keeping the delicate high alpine environment clean for generations to come.
“We wouldn’t be able to survive today without human waste management, as we know, so in the hostile environment of the high alpine this increasingly becomes an important issue as we’re seeing more traffic and more humans adventuring into these areas,” said Boutet.
It gives a whole new meaning to the saying, 'pack out your trash' that many hikers live by. Learn more about the book online.