Project Timeline

2016 - Home of Mountaineering Canturbury Community Trust loan paid off.
2015 - Replace De la Beche Hut
2014 - Replace Murchison Hut
2013 - Rebuild Beetham Hut
2012 - Construction of huts begins.
2011 - Major fundraising year for the project.
2010 - Confirmation of funding from DoC and other major supporters required.
2009 - Development of design and construction details.
2008 - Decision made by the Accommodation Committee that Murchison Hut should be replaced in the medium future rather than have major repairs undertaken.
Idea of building three huts for Beetham, De la Beche and Murchison hut sites proposed.
2007 - Proposal for a Erica Hut withdrawn due to concerns over the access route to the new hut site. Concept of a 'Standard Alpine Hut' developed.
2006 - November Club Committee meeting passes motion: "THAT the replacement of Beetham Hut be put on hold until the development of Unwin Lodge and identified urgent maintenance on the existing huts network is progressed to the…

Avo, Geo and DoC Reports

When talking about a new project like this clearly there are steps to be taken first to ensure that such a proposal is in fact feasible in terms of current policy and planning documents for the National Park, and that avalanche and geological risks are acceptable. This work has been completed for the proposed Beetham Hut site.

Department of Conservation Management Plan for Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

This plan under went review and was approved by the Conservation Authority in 2004. It specificity includes Beetham Hut and treats it as an existing 'hut site' under policy 4.2.7(a) & (c) on page 90 of the plan..

Aoraki Mt Cook Management Plan Park Policies (1.7M pdf)

Geological Baseline Inspection Report

An inspection of the site in 2005 came to the following conclusions:

The foundation rock at the proposed new site for Beetham Hut is strong and stable, and shows no obvious deterioration or foundation collapse.The proposed new site is located on an old glacial bedrock bench, which…

Finanical Plan

Money is the basis of all new project proposals and so I want to put some thoughts on paper as to how a trio of huts could be built together to provide for the needs of De la Beche, Murchison and Beetham hut sites.

Expected Cost:

Hut Building in Christchurch:
$5,000 - General Costs
$20,000 - Hut Construction Materials
$5,000 - Toilet Construction Materials
$10,000 - Building Costs
$10,000 - Contingency 20%

Hut Flying and Construction On Site:
$5,000 - General Costs
$25,000 - Helicopter Time
$10,000 - Foundation Alterations
$10,000 - Contingency 20%

$100,000 Subtotal per hut

$300, 0000 TOTAL for three huts

Funding Proposal:

$100,000 Department of Conservation
$100,000 Commitment from NZAC spread over 10 years as a loan
$50,000 Donations from commercial operators
$50,000 Grants, sponsorship and fundraising

$300, 0000 TOTAL for three huts

There are a couple of ideas that could be used to leverage money from grants or sponsorship includin…

Future of the Tasman Glacier

The future of the Tasman Glacier and its surroundings is very important to this project as the Beetham Valley sits on the eastern side of the glacier, about half way down its length. I first visited the Beetham Valley in 1992 and, having seen the change in the glacier condition and lake since then, predicted in 2001 that one day getting to Beetham would be by boat. It seems that won't quite be the case but certainly pretty darn close in another 10 to 20 years time!

There is a link to a BBC news clip and the full Herald article is quoted below.
Scientists: Alps largest glacier gone within 20 years7:30PM Wednesday April 23, 2008Climate change will see most of the Tasman Glacier in the Southern Alps melt away over the next 20 years, scientists say."In the past 10 years the glacier has receded a hell of a lot," said glaciologist Dr Martin Brook."It's just too warm for a glacier to be sustained at such a low altitud…

Standard Alpine Hut Concept

In order to move this project forward it has become clear to me that a clever low cost solution will be required. It also occurred to me that a 'new' project such as this will always complete with the maintenance and operation requirements of all the existing alpine huts in the mountain regions of New Zealand. Some of these existing huts are becoming old and run down and questions are being asked about their continued existence into the future.

Combining these two thoughts, along with the way DoC have reduced costs by standardising designs for tramping huts, gave me the concept of a standard small low cost alpine hut. This type of design could be used to replace existing huts and be used for a new hut in the Beetham Valley. For more information on this idea please visit my blog on the subject here:

New Zealand Alpine Huts (


The dream of Erica Hut is no more.

Funding was always the key to a new facility and all options seem to close off at the same time on this project. The New Zealand Alpine Club in its wisdom swallowed up the future projects fund to pay for general hut maintenance, the trust fund decided that the access to the hut site was too risky, and the Department of Conservation said that no funding would be available for many years.

Oh well, at least it is a beautiful valley to camp in!

Erica Hut Design Criteria

- environmentally friendly
- zero waste
- 20 to 24 bunks
- wardens quarters included
- helicopter landing site down on the Tasman Glacier
- ownership by the New Zealand Alpine Club
- management by DoC via the Aoraki Mt Cook Huts Agreement

Moving a Dream to Reality

Alpine huts are expensive as there construction must stand up to the rigors of the mountain environment. Also climbers are not the most gentle of occupants, and they are of course located in areas where construction material must be air lifted into place. The cost of a new hut depends on many vaiables including size, design, voluntary labour input, donations of materials, etc.

Currently the financial cost of building a new Erica Hut may fall between $300,000 and $400,000. No one source of funding is able to cover this considerable outlay and so more creative thinking is required. Splitting the cost four ways would spread the cost and possibly enable the dream to move to reality.

The Erica Beuzenberg Trust has an amount of money available for the project and is keen to move forward with further fundraising and planning.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) who owned and managed the old huts in the area has always expressed support for a new hut and this view was confirmed in the recently …