Richard Wesley has kindly allowed the project team to use his blog to provide an update on the Mid Tasman Portable Hut Project. Communications to the wider alpine community have been few and far between, with the last correspondence an article appearing in the summer edition of ‘The Climber’ magazine. We will use this blog to fill in what has happened to date and to communicate key milestones of the project going forward.
Following on from ‘The Climber ‘article, key milestones to date are:
- Clint O’Brien (Recreation Construction) has been engaged to construct the hut. Clint has plenty of experience working in the alpine environment at Mount Cook National Park (MCNP). His resume includes the construction of Ball Hut and recently was involved in the relocation of Hooker Hut. The hut will be constructed at Recreation Construction’s base in Oamaru.
- In February a site visit to Beetham hut was undertaken with Derek Chinn (project structural engineer), Clint O’Brien (Recreation Construction) and Johnny McFarlane (project manager) to mark out a potential hut site and to look at the design features of Plateau and Ball Huts. This visit coincided with maintenance work Clint and Derek were undertaking for other alpine huts in MCNP.
- The first of the project funds were spent in late April on a geological assessment for a potential hut site in the Darwin Bonney Glacier area. GNS Science undertook the geological assessment and Don Bogie (DOC) completed an avalanche assessment. Again, this work was incorporated into other work GNS were undertaking in MCNP for DOC.
- Potential toilet systems have been investigated for the new hut. Waste management can be hugely expensive in an alpine environment. The chosen system needs to carefully consider the balance of capital and maintenance costs with the volume of waste generated.
We are extremely grateful to DOC Mount Cook who hav accommodated us in their works programme for our February site visit and the April geological and avalanche assessments. We would also like to acknowledge Don Bogie, who is completing the avalanche assessment report for the Darwin Bonney hut site free of charge. These reports are due to be submitted in June, and will outline the main rock fall and global rock stability risks, and avalanche run out paths at a potential hut site in the Darwin Bonney Glacier area.
Once these risks have been identified, we hope to be able to find a location that would be suitable for a hut. These assessments are similar to the work undertaken to identify a low risk site in the Beetham Valley. Once this work is completed, we will share these reports on this blog, including a recommendation on what the next actions might be.
Currently we are working to finalise the design drawings so we can submit an application for building consent to the McKenzie District Council. We are also continuing to fundraise for building materials.