Showing posts from October, 2006

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 …

A Memorial for Erica

The loss of Erica Beuzenburg was a terrible shock for the climbing community. Erica was a passionate climber and held a great love for the Aoraki Mt Cook region.

Gottleib Braun Elwert and Erica's family felt that a memorial to her in the form of a mountain hut would be a very fitting tribute. After informal meetings with several interested groups including the New Zealand Alpine Club, the concept of a replacement hut in the Beetham Valley area came to the fore as a very appropriate project.

The vision of Erica Hut was formed.

The Loss of Erica Beuzenberg

10.03.05 by Monique Devereux, New Zealand Herald

Erica Beuzenberg, one of three climbers who fell to their deaths on Aoraki Mt Cook yesterday, had a string of firsts: first woman to climb Mt Cook in winter; first woman to winter climb the Balfour face of Mt Tasman; first woman to the summit of South America's Cerro Fitz Roy in winter - one of the most difficult mountains on Earth. By comparison it was a tame alpine slope that yesterday claimed the life of New Zealand's greatest female climber.

She was guiding two male clients across Ball Pass below Mt Cook and roped to them when one man slipped, dragging his companions hundreds of metres and over an icy shelf. The two tourists who died with Ms Beuzenberg were John Lowndes, aged 59, a salesman, from Stoke on Trent, England and Kazuhiro Kotani, aged 29, of Hyogo, Japan.The trio were part of an eight-member climbing party which included one other guide. The surviving guide summoned help but the three were dead when search and rescu…

2001 Beginnings and Project Background

I first visited the Beetham Valley in 1992 on my first visit to the big mountains. It was a huge learning curve with various attempts on Malte Brun from various angles, all ending with lots of fun but no summit.

I never knew the first Malte Brun Hut situated high on the moraine walls looking out over the Tasman Glacier. It's replacement, the new Beetham Hut, was fantastic. It sat happily in the valley with a warm sunny deck and airy two story interior.

This hut came to its end when hit by an avalanche in 1996. A sorry end to a great climbing base below a truly classic mountain. I expected that it would be replaced in due course, but the years ticked by and no solid replacement proposal was ever put forward.

When I took up my employment as executive officer of the New Zealand Alpine Club in 2001 I hoped that I would be able to move forward on this exciting project, but alas, the Club's network of existing huts needed a large amount of work and the Club on its own clearly did not h…