Archive:Brian Waddington Hut

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Current Issues


Many complaints have been lodged about the absence of a wood stove at the hut. MEC donated $3000 towards the cost of flying in the hut on the condition that there would be no wood stove. When we built the Hut, kerosene heaters were flown in along with 80 liters of kerosene. Here is our experience with burning kerosene:

  • The whole 80 liters of kerosene which we flew in when we built the Hut, were used up in the first winter.
  • Flying in more kerosene to the hut by helicopter is very expensive, around $3000, so this wasn't done.
  • Hut users started putting "mystery fuel" such as paint thinner or wood finish into the kerosene heaters.
  • They allowed the heaters to burn dry, destroyed their wicks.
  • The combustion products were not vented outside (the heaters have no chimney), so it smelled bad, and moisture from combustion encouraged mold to grow on the walls.

In February 2007 we carried out the kerosene heaters as by now they didn't work anyway, and brought in a Coleman catalytic heater, which burns white gas. As of 2014, there are no working catalytic heaters at the hut.

Don't bring kerosene to the Hut. There is nothing up there which burns kerosene

As of Dec 2014, there are two working Coleman lanterns at the Hut
The best way to have a cozy cabin is still to bring a lot of friends (25 should do) and everyone's body heat will warm up the hut quite effectively.
Unfortunately all the current heat producing devices vent their combustion products into the Hut, which tends to promote mold.

In 2011 we once again reviewed the lack of a vented heater, and discussed various alternatives.

A small, vented, oil-burning heater was investigated. Several advantages of an oil heater:
-- It was light weight so it could be carried in.
-- It was inexpensive (under $1k including chimney).

Disadvantages we could see:
-- Flying in barrels of heating oil would be very expensive, requiring that we raise the overnight fee, lock up the oil supply, something like the way the Whistler ACC operates the Marriott Hut.
-- Alternately, we didn't think that people would carry in several liters of heating oil, so the heater wouldn't do much.
-- Random people operating the heater could produce several types of disaster, including oil spills, or using random fuels. The heater manufacturer told us that burning naphtha or white gas in the heater would make it explode.

Propane heat, as at the Elfin Shelter was discussed. Disadvantages we could see included:
-- The need to fly in propane and fly out the empty cylinders.
-- We would need to have somebody competent to change cylinders.
-- We'd need to pay demurrage (the cost of renting the cylinders).
-- An intelligent regulator to keep the heat reasonable, and only when the Hut is occupied (and people are paying for heat), would likely be expensive.
-- Having the Hut fill with propane and explode, was another possibility we wanted to avoid.

Finally we discussed a wood heater
-- Fuel does not leak out or explode.
-- Rationing can be enforced by keeping the wood shed 100m away, and by supplying wood which needs to be cut up before it can be burned.

-- We'd have to make peace with MEC as we probably still have a restrictive covenant in place regarding burning wood up there.
-- To pay for flying in wood, assuming we collected wood from the logged-off road on the way in, would cost us around $3k per supply. We might make a supply last several years.
-- We would have to collect way more money for hut use and we felt that people would be reluctant to pay for the privilege of being warm.

The possibility of collecting avalanche-killed wood near the Hut was mentioned, but there was no consensus as to whether this would cause unacceptable damage to the meadows.

We concluded that we would not further investigate providing heat, for now, unless we could show that the hut mold is a health hazard or is likely to destroy the hut soon.