According to Mitch Sulkers, ACC Whistler Section Chair,’huts don’t build themselves.’
Thanks to regular maintenance, these Gothic arch huts are still in use by club members and the general public today. Maintenance can be divided into two distinct categories: regular upkeep and renovations.
Regular upkeep involves replacing broken Coleman stoves and lamp parts, cleaning interior surfaces, repainting exterior surfaces to combat weathering, restocking firewood, and removing biological waste from outhouses. These tasks allow regular use of the huts and provide basic comforts for all users.
Renovations tend to be larger projects that involve replacing aluminum siding, flooring, exterior walls damaged by rodents, and wood-burning stove parts, re-insulating the interior to retain heat, and in extreme cases, replacing the entire structure.
Brian Wood, a BCMC member and former President of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC, recalled that in the spring of 1971, the Wedgemount Lake Hut had been pushed off its foundation by high alpine winds and snow creep.
A year after we built the hut, we went up there and the hut had been blown completely off its foundations. We had to slide the hut along large beams to maneuver it back into place.
Additional guywires were added to the Wedgemount Lake Hut to prevent it from being pushed off its foundations again.
The UBC-VOC has spent a lot of time maintaining and upgrading their huts. Following the completion of Brew Hut III on Mount Brew, Roland Burton enlisted the help of current club members to make needed repairs to the Burton Hut. The renovations took place over a couple of weeks in the summer and fall of 2006.
On August 6, 2010, the largest landslide in Canadian history took place on Mount Meager, which completely wiped out bridges and logging roads and prevented the UBC-VOC from accessing the Harrison Hut.
Two club members, Christian Veenstra and Ben Singleton-Polster, spent many weekends exploring new ways to access the hut from the more geologically stable side to the north.
After finding a new route and building a new trail to the hut, the club discovered that the hut was in need of repairs, so starting in 2014, the club spent three years upgrading and repairing the hut.
Roland Burton recalled, We put in solar panels to provide lighting inside the cabin. It got to the point of too many Coleman lamp models and trying to find the right part became too time-consuming.
Without the dedicated members of these clubs, backcountry enthusiasts would not have these needed respites from the inhospitable alpine environment.