Hut Maintenance

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General

Hut maintenance is an important responsibility of the club. This page is intended as a repository of ongoing and needed hut maintenance projects.

  • Hut maintenance is done mostly during the summer because access is easier and working conditions are better.
  • If you are thinking of building a hut, see tips for hut building.


Brian Waddington Hut Maintenance Log

Phelix 2016

Our voluntary Grizzly closure is Aug 15 - Oct 15. We should remember that these are bad times to do hut work. Or maybe not. We have been ignoring it lately.

Hut Issues File:Phelix - 2016 Hut Issues.odt

Trail Issues File:Phelix - 2016 Trail Issues.odt


Phelix 2015

  • Our voluntary Grizzly closure is Aug 15 - Oct 15. We should remember that these are bad times to do hut work. Or maybe not. We have been ignoring it lately.
  • A broken catalytic heater should be brought down from the hut DONE, and a working one brought up.
  • The coleman lamp that doesn't work should be brought down DONE.
  • The usual hauling of accumulated garbage, should happen. DONE +/-
  • We need to continue to think about whether VOC is sufficiently organized, and wants the responsibility, for providing heat up there. This has been discussed to death already, but maybe some fresh insight will uncover something.
  • We need to continue to think about whether the hut is dissolving in mould, or whether we are coping with this.
  • Paint porch. DONE.
  • We should think about the animals, marmots, porcupines or whatever, and more recently, birds, that are eating some of our structures.
  • Deal with flicker if possible. A flicker is a kind of woodpecker, protected by the migratory birds act etc. We are not sure how to stop the bird(s) from drilling holes in out Hut, but it was suggested that if we hang CD's on string from the eaves at 1-2m intervals, the reflections from the CD's will annoy the birds, or at least should qualify as art. DONE. Caitlin thinks this is a waste of time and won't discourage the bird. She proposes perhaps building a roof over the one hole that we have not plugged, to encourage the bird to re-use this hole DONE. Nail stucco mesh over existing holes DONE.
  • Move outhouse so it doesn't pollute lake. DONE.

Phelix 2014

  • Two Coleman lamps and a gallon of naphtha were brought up by Jeff M. in mid-December. One lamp works well and the other is a pain.
  • fancy new door sign was hauled up and installed; sign mentions that we want $10 per person for overnight users. Bridge sign was hauled up and installed.
  • Bridge #3 seems to be working well.

Phelix 2013

  • On discovering that our outhouse is, during flood times, emptying into Long Lake, and thence into the Birkenhead Park Campsite water supply, Murray dashed up there to see if the extent of contamination could be measured near the outhouse or at the lake. Unfortunately technical reasons deprived him of the data he sought, and the project deteriorated into an attempt to sell us expensive commercial outhouses, and then Murray decided to investigate geothermal heating of outhouses. This discussion needs to be revised and focused. If you drop poop into the pit toilet and a loud splash is heard, that is not a good sign. The splash didn't happen with the old outhouse. I guess we need to move the outhouse. Again.
  • A couple more window trim boards were installed and painted.
  • A new, more powerful, fan was installed on the Solar Air Heater Device.
  • Measurements (pictures) of kitchen area were used to investigate a "range hood". Hood was not built.
  • Paints stored up there were photographed in preparation for finding compatible materials for re-painting the exterior. Paint Cloverdale Sharkskin was mixed to order, hauled up, and exterior was painted, mostly.
  • The cable bridge (#2), did not survive the winter. A metal bridge (#3) has been hauled up and installed at the outlet to Long Lake. It is supposed to be removed before winter, but if it isn't, then maybe the winter will not damage it.

Phelix 2012

  • The rock slide about 2km from the Birkenhead Lake camp ground was cleared for 4W drive travel, but a large tree remained to block the road. Tree was removed later in the summer.
  • The two windows over the cooking area were replaced, so now it should be possible to open them to let cooking steam out. Ryan did the usual high-quality job.
  • The window trim that was brought up over the winter was installed around the four previously installed windows and painted white. Could probably use another coat. Paint was left in the hole.
  • A small used up fire extinguisher was brought down, two still remain.
  • New toilet seat was properly installed.
  • The hole providing bird-access to the walls of the hut, has been plugged. Not sure if this will cause the migrating flicker to drill another hole.
  • New cable bridge built. This is bridge #2.
  • Despite the lack of snow in Vancouver for the Olympics, there was lots around the Hut, and a huge snow mushroom on the Hut roof. We'd better hope the Hut is very strong because we're not going up there regularly to shovel the snow off the roof. If the hut was heated occasionally (wood heater like Brew), the snow might slide off instead of freezing to the corrugated steel roof. How much snow accumulates each year, depends on the direction of the wind when it is snowing, and this probably varies from year to year.

Phelix 2011

  • It seems that the original windows were not built strong enough and the weight of the windows tore them apart. In July we hauled in and installed replacement windows for the four largest windows (downstairs N, downstairs S, upstairs N, upstairs S).
  • Both Coleman lamps are unreliable. The larger catalytic heater did not light over the new years trip, despite a lot of effort. Dead appliances should be hauled out.
  • Debris from replacing the windows, may need to be hauled out.
  • The bridge across the outlet of the lake collapsed last year from snow loading. There is a plan to replace it with a simple two-cable crossing.

Phelix 2010

  • Replaced the 45 degree outhouse roof with a 60 degree roof and attached it better. Painted interior of outhouse.
  • The trail was extended to the hut on the N side of the lake as it is way less rocky and generally nicer for walking, than the S side. Some ditch digging and turnpike construction may be necessary along this section to prevent mud holes from forming in the soft ground. Fortunately the lake shore is mostly sandy, so there are lots of materials that can be used to improve the drainage.

Phelix 2009

  • We did major renovations Summer 2009 .
  • The two lead-acid batteries, weighing 63 pounds each, and left over from the unsuccessful composting toilet project, were tested and we determined that they were used up, and would not hold a charge. They were hauled out Fall 2009.
  • The solar panel was tested and determined to be in excellent shape. It was adjusted to be more nearly vertical, to prevent snow from accumulating on it.
  • The Solar Air heater Device was hauled in and installed. A fan moves air through the Hut at 79 cubic feet per minute, whenever the sun is shining. A box on the side of the Hut uses sunlight to preheat the air coming into the Hut. No operator controls are available, or needed. It remains to be seen whether this controls the mildew, or even whether it survives the harsh winter up there.
  • The Kerosene heaters have been hauled out. They were broken or unusable. All Hut devices (Coleman lamps, Coleman stoves, Coleman catalytic heaters) now burn white gas (naphtha)
  • windows now have mosquito screens, so the windows can be opened without fear.
  • We installed double glazing (Lexan) on the windows. We installed curtains. We might want to apply caulking around the new glazing; we should know after this winter. This should make the Hut surprisingly warmer, as the rest of it is well-insulated.
  • Outhouse was moved to a new empty hole. Drainage into the lake is still bad. Digging around the Hut is difficult.
  • Hut was washed with Behr Mildew Remover, then painted with at least 3 coats of oil-based (GP Mistint, semi-gloss) paint. Beams were stained with tung oil. It looks very good. The paint will stop water created from cooking, breathing, burning naphtha, drying clothes, from soaking into the walls until the Solar Air Heater Device can deal with it. This winter will show us whether we have the mildew problem under control.
  • Permit re-application process appears to have been successful. Our Hut is now legal so we can continue paying taxes and we do not need to remove it.

Harrison Hut Maintenance Log

Being a landlord inevitably involves some work. The Hut is not in bad condition, is warm, friendly, in a spectacular location. Lack of winter access to this fine winter destination, unless you are a helicopter, or a snowmobile, is unfortunate. In the five or so years when we couldn't get there, some snowmobilers have used it and treated it with respect. The very occasional heli-skier drops in. That's why there are several stoves, lamps, and white gas up there. We should refrain from being too nasty to those who can get to it in the winter, when we can't. To see the complete inventory at the hut go here: Hut Inventory

Harrison 2016

  • Haul down some of the tools that have been left up at the hut
  • Improve creek crossing at hut by rearranging boulders
  • Replace wood-burning heater, needs six inch stovepipe and a heater. JEFF M DID IT
  • Get rid of surplus sheet metal?? HELICOPTER
  • Total new floor for hut HELICOPTER
  • Commercial steel door for hut HELICOPTER + GRANT

Harrison 2015

  • Haul down some of the tools that were left after last years massive project. NOT DONE
  • See what's up there and what needs to be done (do this in early May). DONE
  • Finish installing mesh/grid on trail DONE
  • Did the Barr Cr. bridge survive? OK
  • Fix bow in outhouse door. DONE
  • Make outhouse more rodent-resistant with surplus aluminium sheet. DONE
  • New plywood on floor at hut door DONE
  • Make hut door close better, waterproof, new weather strip etc DONE
  • Mesh to keep marmots from eating through hut floor from below DONE
  • Improve creek crossing at hut by rearranging boulders DONE?
  • Replace wood-burning heater, needs six inch stovepipe and a heater.
  • Get rid of surplus sheet metal?? HELICOPTER
  • Total new floor for hut HELICOPTER
  • Commercial steel door for hut HELICOPTER + GRANT

Harrison 2014

  • Thanks to a grant from FMCBC, we flew in a new outhouse and put it together up there.
  • Thanks to a grant from MEC, we were able to fix up the rest of the trail, and rebuild the bridge across Barr Creek.
  • We spent a week, end of August, doing the above, plus covering the hut with new corrugated steel. A lot of sheet metal was left over from this, but flying it out would be quite expensive, so maybe leaving it up there isn't so bad.

Harrison 2013

  • Trail building got done, mostly organised by Christian Veenstra. Besides several long weekends of work, Jeff Mottershed spent a week working on the trail by himself, after accompanying the First Nations Cultural Technician on helicopter trips, thanks to the generosity of Mountain Equipment Coop. We received permission to upgrade the route to a trail, after it was determined that no First Nations Cultural artifacts were in danger of being damaged by the trail. The trail is good enough that the Hut is once again a destination for a 3-day weekend.
  • As of fall 2013, Thanks to hard work, and grants from MEC, trail up from S side of Lilloet R is roughed in and approved for completion.
  • A good-looking aluminium bridge was flown in and installed, replacing a nasty au-cheval log crossing of Barr Cr.

Harrison 2012

  • Trail along S side of Lilloet River was marked out, providing very limited access to the Hut, which we hadn't visited since the massive slide in the fall of 2010 took out all previous access.

Harrison 2010

  • Massive slide took out access to Hut.

Harrison 2009

  • Fall 2009, we installed signs that say Welcome, No Garbage, and About Coleman Stoves, plus three pages of details such as what is the Varsity Outdoor Club, who was Julian Harrison, some relatively polite words directed at snowmobilers and helicopter skiers, etc.

Harrison 2008

  • High trail was marked along the ridge to W. of Barr Cr, mostly by Pete Hudson. Though longer, it offers better terrain and scenery.
  • New metal door was installed June 2008, but the door frame had been badly damaged by the helicopter. Time will tell whether it needs any more fixing.
  • West side roof was fixed up September 1, 2008, as sheet aluminium was loose and rattling.
  • East side still has a number of loose nails, screws and holes.

Brew Hut Maintenance Log

For available tools and supplies see Brew Hut Inventory

Brew 2016

  • Note: Decommissioning road to Brew at R200 turnoff. Will stop cars from accessing Brew, but not cat skiing. Will no longer be maintained. Need someone to call logging company to confirm. Someone on Club Tread called, but VOC should call too since we have vested interest in keeping that road active/maintained.
  • fix the outhouse floor
  • "Burn toilet paper" bucket needs a plan for what to do when it becomes full of charred poo, etc.
  • Remove soot from walls, scrub down cooking bench
  • Replace kerf weatherstrip and vinyl sweep on hut door,from Dunbar Lumber. It's up there.
  • Attach new LED in front of mirror.
  • Cut/bring lots of chopped wood into piles near the trailhead and ask people to carry a load up over the summer.

Brew 2015

  • install solar lighting DONE, put in a bigger bulb DONE.
  • Outhouse needs emptying DONE
  • "Burn toilet paper" bucket needs a plan for what to do when it becomes full of charred poo, etc.
  • To stop blowing snow from entering outhouse, put plastic over holes in door. DONE
  • Paint hut floor DONE.
  • Remove soot from walls, scrub down cooking bench DONE +/-
  • Sign saying to check that windows are closed when leaving, and to be easy on the wood DONE
  • Hole in stovepipe: replace bottom section DONE
  • Bring Rubbermaid box to replace cardboard tool box DONE
  • Replace door on wood heater; latch is rusted shut DONE
  • Replace kerf weatherstrip and vinyl sweep on hut door,from Dunbar Lumber.

Brew 2014

  • installed third spring hinge to make the door close by itself.
  • installed pail in outhouse and sign saying "burn toilet paper".
  • Helicoptered in a pile of firewood, maybe $6500 total cost, more expensive than flying in the hut.
  • Empty outhouse. Traditionally when an outhouse becomes full, a new hole is dug and the outhouse gets moved. This approach doesn't work well at Brew for several reasons: The glacier-scoured bed rock is very near the surface so digging isn't generally possible. Snow accumulation will totally bury the outhouse in many locations. We would prefer that the outhouse not drain into either of the two ponds where we can occasionally get drinking water. So we have been “emptying” the outhouse by digging up the accumulated poop and hauling it away to somewhere (Mt Brew) where it can be left to decompose and make a tree very happy. This is not a very fun job but it's way cheaper than flying out the poop, and less work than moving the outhouse and trying to dig a new hole. Tough (DONE, seven buckets worth, thanks Ross).

Brew 2013

  • Somebody managed to leave the Hut with the door swinging open and hut filled with snow. To make this less likely, we improved the door latch and installed two spring hinges to make it close automatically.
  • Installed laminated "Pee here" sign and "Close the Door" sign.
  • We (mostly Ryan) replaced the remaining four original windows, thanks to grant from FMCBC. Three weekends work under bad weather conditions. Proper vapour barrier, etc, was installed under corrugated metal.
  • Scraped and painted the outhouse (brown).
  • put yellow paint on outhouse seat to make it pretty/clean looking.
  • Very little firewood remains. We gathered some dead stuff under bad weather conditions.
  • We planned to fly in a lot of firewood but bad timing and the arrival of snow messed up this plan.
  • We brushed out the trail, which didn't need much work. Replaced some trail markers.

Brew 2012

  • Hauled a whole shed full of firewood from old hut site. Old site is looking pretty empty.
  • Jessica and Co hauled disgusting poop out of the outhouse to make more room for more poop.

Brew 2010

  • In summer of 2010 the sheet metal on the SE end of the Hut was removed and re-installed with tarpaper and Blueskin, to bring it up to residential standards. The recycled Plexiglas windows were replaced with three new double glazed tempered glass vinyl frame windows. Ryan Mackenzie supervised.
  • Painted exposed wood with several coats of a membrane-type "Deck-Kote" grey paint, as regular paint seems to be useless under the harsh conditions up there.

Brew 2009

  • We did a fair job of piling rocks around the Hut base.
  • We "emptied" the outhouse as this seemed to be way less work than finding another location and moving it. If we want to do this on a regular basis, we should find some way to prevent the walls of the outhouse pit from caving in; perhaps installing a large plastic drum under the outhouse.

Brew 2007

  • Outhouse was assembled and painted with Behr 10 year Solid colour stain (from Home Depot). The name of the colour is Russet. This paint is also used on the woodshed. 1 gallon did 2 coats on the outhouse and 1 on the woodshed. The yellow window trim was also sanded down, primed and painted.

Brew 2006

  • Brew III was built.

Sphinx Hut Maintenance log

Work requires liaison with Parks, because the hut is theirs, not ours. They seem to like us showing interest in the Hut, and are helpful.

Sphinx 2016

  • Check door can close in summer, won't close properly this winter but may be due to ice (looks like just the door handle needs work)
  • Need a piece of thinwall tubing and a reflective marker so we can find the outhouse when the snow is deep
  • Some dead Coleman appliances, cutlery, etc is accumulating up there. This stuff should be hauled out.
  • Roof is fairly ok, small leaks do not land on the occupants. Might eventually re-do roof with corrugated steel.
  • People should carry up: spare Coleman lamp mantels, a recent VOC journal, a fuel can for fuel donations. (these things were missing in July 2013)

Sphinx 2015

  • Need a piece of thinwall tubing and a reflective marker so we can find the outhouse when the snow is deep, though definitely not needed this year, only 2 ft of snow in March.
  • Some dead Coleman appliances, cutlery, etc is accumulating up there. This stuff should be hauled out.
  • Roof is fairly ok, small leaks do not land on the occupants. Might eventually re-do roof with corrugated steel.
  • People should carry up: spare Coleman lamp mantels, a recent VOC journal, a fuel can for fuel donations. (these things were missing in July 2013)

Sphinx 2014

  • Hut is OK.

Sphinx 2013

  • Feb, hauled out lantern that leaked gas and hauled in one that had been repaired.
  • Window and vent, installed last year, seem to be OK.
  • Door was replaced with commercial grade steel door, in April.
  • "Door shoe" was installed July 2013.
  • Trimmed trees and bushes between hut and outhouse.

Sphinx 2012

  • Hauled in a new window to replace the one that opens. Unfortunately could not get a latch that worked both from inside and outside. Exec voted latch "not necessary".
  • In summer, installed and properly weatherproofed above window.
  • Touched up trim with Cloverdale water-based paint.
  • Painted interior with a gallon of industrial toluene based paint in order to control mould.
  • Installed a vent "clothes dryer type", to improve air circulation in the hut and perhaps reduce mould.

Sphinx 2011

  • Hauled in a Coleman stove that perhaps doesn't leak, unlike the one up there.

Sphinx 2008

  • Feb 2008 hut was reported to be in good condition.

Sphinx 2006

  • Major renovation. Rebuilt end walls, windows (except the one that opens), residential grade door, added insulation, new furniture, patched roof, etc.

Sphinx 1997

  • Or maybe 1998. Hauled in a gallon of paint and painted end walls. Hauled about ten pounds of abandoned cutlery, as well as a bunch of other abandoned junk, out to civilization. Parks brought us across the lake in their boat. There was 8 of us. We mostly hiked out down the Helm Glacier.

Sphinx 1969

We built it. You can read about adventures in VOCJ, where we got some of our lumber stolen.

Lizzie Lake Hut

Main article: Lizzie Creek Cabin

In 2015 there was some discussion about the somewhat neglected Lizzie lake Hut. The original builders did not want it replaced but they were keen that maintenance be done, and the trail improved. The trail is mostly an old logging road that is no longer driveable because some crucial bridges are missing and there is a major washout (with bypass trails) at km one. A VOC party did work on the slide alder and made it to the Hut and back on Nov 14, which turned out to be a bit late in the season for trail work.

Further brush saw work, and chain saw work, would be worth while.

No hut maintenance work is planned, yet.

A Short History of VOC Hut Doors

When we built Sphinx, back in 1969, we forgot to include a door in the list of materials. We realized this about the time we were bundling it all up for the helicopter. Fortunately some fancy new instrument had just been delivered to the Chemistry Department and the packing crate was behind the chem building. We quickly salvaged it and then we had materials to make a door.

We made a couple of mistakes with this door. We decided it should open outwards, but didn't realize that it if it opened outwards, the arrival of half a metre of snowfall during the night might leave us trapped in the Hut. There was an upstairs window which we could use to escape, go around the hut to the front, and dig out the door, if necessary.

The second mistake was to get somebody from Physics, who had a summer job at Triumf, to build a door latch for us. The resulting latch, after a great deal of thought and hours of work in the machine shop, seemed to be a copy of the latch used to keep submarine hatches closed. It quickly got a reputation for ripping great pieces out of any down jacket that went near it. What ever happened to the submarine latch? Who knows, it is probably at the bottom of Garibaldi lake somewhere.

Fast forward some 37 years to 2006. We're building Brew. For the third time. We decide that an all-metal exterior is the way to go for low-maintenance in a windy location. Looking around for a door, we find a metal-clad exterior residential grade door at Home Depot. Looks suitably strong. Insulated. The price is good too. And no worry about it fitting as the hut isn't built yet, so no problem to make it fit. So we don't get trapped in the hut by fallen snow, we make it open inwards. It goes in well, and, wonder of wonders, it has weatherstripping, and it closes with a satisfying click, just like the doors in the big city. This is the first time I saw a hut door that actually fits.

Next year, 2007, flushed with our victory at Brew, we set about to renovate Sphinx. We're talking the Present Epoch here; Christian Veenstra participated. Replacing the door is a priority. The one sold by Home Depot will fit if we just cut it a bit shorter. In it goes on the helicopter along with the rest of the 2200 lbs of renovation materials, just slightly too much for one helicopter load, unfortunately. Door opens inward, is fully insulated and weatherstripped, fits properly, closes with a nice click.

By 2008, the door at Harrison finally has a hole in it, due to the combined effort of sunlight and maybe a wolverine, and the fact that it was made from sawdust plus glue. Frank Baumann (ex-VOC) was doing some geothermal work in the area and offered to fly in a door if we could determine the size needed. Access problems complicated our lives, but the Home Depot door, once again, fitted our doorway and our budget. Unfortunately the helicopter dropped the door somehow and smashed up the frame, but Pete Hudson and I patched up the frame and it is now pretty well good again. You can see it on the cover of VOCJ 2008-09.

This takes us to March 2013. The Exec has decided that replacing the door at Sphinx is a priority. The bottom of the door is totally destroyed; the bottom hinge is no longer attached to wood, and it doesn't close. What did we do wrong? I guess we underestimated the average urban user of mountain huts, who assumes that if the door doesn't close properly, one should just slam it harder. Snow builds up between the door and the frame, and on the door sill. Wise people have pointed out that normally a porch will prevent this, pretty much, but maybe not for a building that gets totally buried, as Sphinx was in 1999. And maybe it's even harder to add a porch than it is to buy an indestructible door. Anyways, that's the approach, we are trying now, the indestructible door.
- - - - - - - -
Ordered from Rmd Bldg Supply Mike Vincent 604 278 9865, 2013 March 05 at 10 am, Size RO 33.5 x 76 x 4.5 3-4 weeks delivery (or whatever), Adjustable jamb, raw steel finish, insulated, includes hinges, single hole, passage set, No threshold, Total around $650 with painting etc. Hauled up there and installed in early April. Needs "door shoe" but otherwise good.

The door at Harrison is surviving, because it is nearly impossible to get there in the winter, though Jeff and Roland did a lot of work on it in 2015. A commercial steel door would perhaps not leak water into the hut. We should try and include one next time we get a helicopter to go in. The usual measurements etc will be required.

In 2015 the Phelix door was replaced with a commercial grade steel door, thanks to a grant from FMCBC. The steel doors are the way to go. Even Elfin Shelter now has a steel door.

Hut Libraries

The club strives to keep libraries of the VOC Journal, and editions of the VOC Songbook in each hut. See the entry under each hut, for which books are at each hut. We need to make a list of which journals are at each hut, and we need to bring up a few to complete the libraries.