08 October 2012

Cheap and Effective

I've been mulling over the idea of a cheap and effective replacement option for De la Beche Hut since its removal in February of this year.

The hut site of De la Beche is still completely viable and useful to skiers and mountaineers passing through, or climbing from, the mid Tasman Glacier area. The subframe for the hut is in excellent condition and is onsite just waiting for a new shelter.

From the fairly low use the hut  receives it would seem that a sleeping capacity of four people would be suitable for a replacement structure. Looking at the hut used to replace Ball Shelter, it would seem that the same design could be reused with only minor modifications for the harsher more alpine environment. The low cost of the Ball Shelter ($26k) also makes the proposition very achievable.

I look forward to working with other keen people with the Club, DoC and the climbing community to turn this idea into a reality.

Footnote: With the possible removal of Murchison being required in the next two years, due to the same internal rot problem, means we may need to duplicate this effort again in the near future.

27 June 2007

Standard Alpine Huts

2012 Update: Back in 2007 when I started this website I had the idea of a standard design for a 6-8 bunk alpine hut. I posted the following as examples of huts that might make use of such a design. I've moved on now to just concentrating on mini replacements for De la Beche and Murchison, but thought I would just leave this post up for interest's sake:

In this section we'll look more closely at the 'standard alpine huts' where a 'standard alpine hut design' may be applicable.

Whangaehu Hut (NZAC)

A small slightly forgotten hut in the NZAC network which currently is in adequate condition. It did house equipment for lahar monitoring by DoC, but with the big lahar now gone this second use for the structure, and resulting interest, from government departments is gone. In the future if replacement of the structure was required a standard small design would be very suitable for this location.

Syme Hut (DoC)

Currently in excellent condition and run well by DoC. Located in the harsh environment of Famthom's Peak this hut had an amazing location. Far into the future if replacement is required this could be a candidate for a standard design.

Barker Hut (CMC)

A great hut operated by the Canterbury Mountaineering Club on the flanks of Mt Murchison. This faciltiy from my memory was in excellent condition and should last for a good few decades yet. Usage patterns must be low for this hut and therefore the standard solution may be applicable.

Murchison Hut (NZAC)

In poor condition with various problems with both internal and external cladding, not to mention framing and windows. This hut is the catalyst for thinking on a standard alpine hut due to the questions of how much money to spend on repairs to an old structure.

Godley Hut (NZAC)

Its location at the far end of the Godley Valley makes for a strategic rather than tactical climbing location and the historic value of this hut also means its replacement may be another century off. I leave it in the list in case of fire or natural damage resulting in the need for complete replacement.

 De la Beche Hut (NZAC)

This hut is to the same style of design as Murchison Hut but has the added disadvantage of an eroding hut site which may make this location unsuitable. A mid Tasman climbing hut is very important but whether two huts on either side of the mid Tasman are required is the debate. So when replacement time comes should a new hut be built in place of De la Beche or a new Beetham Valley hut supported instead?

Beetham Hut Site (no hut at present)

A wonderful location in a magic valley. As already covered in the De la Beche entry the debate centers around whether a new Beetham Hut could result in the removal of the De la Beche Hut location when erosion or major repair work becomes uneconomic.

Copland Shelter (DoC)

With the major changes to access in the Hooker Valley this hut is now no longer used in the same fashion for the Copland Crossing. If it was to be replaced, even in another location, a standard alpine design may be appropriate.

Hooker Hut (DoC)

Now cut off by changes in the Hooker Glacier, the decsion has been made to relocate this hut as an historic curiosity to the public walkway near Aoraki Mt Cook Village. If access to areas around the Copland Pass improve in the future the site may be suitable for a replacement hut, though this seems unlikely.

Gardiner Hut (DoC)

An amazing location for a hut in a spectacular alpine climbing location. Currently well looked after by DoC replacement is not expected to be needed for many years yet.

Empress Hut (DoC)

Owned originally by the CMC, this hut is now operated by DoC as I understand the situation. With the Hooker Valley as a no fly zone this area and the huts in it receive very little use. Even with the provision of flying again in the future the nature of the route in the area ensure this will always be a relatively low use hut and therefore suitable for a standard design.

Sefton Biv (DoC)

Recently restored by flying out and then flying back in, this hut sire could well site a larger hut in the future if this historic structure is damaged or in need of replacement.

Hasst Hut (DoC)

Access to the grand plateau is difficult at best and this hut used to provide a good halfway point rest stop on the way to Plateau Hut. I think this hut is to be removed and perhaps no replacement is the bext policy in this case.

Ball Hut (DoC)

Movements and changes in the Tasman Glacier will eventually threaten this hut with removal or relocation. Whether a new hut is required at this site depends on the way the Ball Crossing route is managed, and the access available to the Tasman Glacier via boat services on the ever increasing glacier lake.

Barron Saddle Hut (DoC)

This an important climbing hut which enables access to this part of the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and provides for a true climbers experience away from the tourists of Mueller Hut. It is constructed in the same manner as Copland shelter and Gardiner Hut and would certainly fit into the standard alpine hut model in the future.

Almer Hut (DoC)

An historic hut and so probably well protected and looked after by DoC well into the future. If damaged or requiring replacement in the future the location of such a hut would have to be carefully thought about as access is not good now from below and so there may be more useful sits for a hut in this lower neve area for ski touring.

Chancellor Hut (DoC)

An historic hut and so probably well protected and looked after by DoC well into the future. If damaged or requiring replacement in the future the location of such a hut would have to be carefully thought about as access is not good now from below and so there may be more useful sits for a hut in this lower neve area for ski touring.

Esquilant Hut (NZAC)

A fairly new and well looked after structure which is sometimes a little small for its location. A standard hut may be a better solution in many decades time when replacement is required.

Liverpool Hut (DoC)

A site which may have suited a standard hut, though it is now to be replaced with a larger DoC alpine structure. I believe this decision would be to try and relieve useage pressure on French Ridge Hut from 'tourist' users.

Mt Brewster Hut (DoC)

Now replaced with a large flash alpine hut. No future replacement required for mnay years and useage paterns at this hut may well mean a larger hut is really required.