Archive:MEC grant - Brew Hut Renovations 2010
Describe your organization's objectives and main activities: (500 words or less)
The University of British Columbia's Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC) was established in 1917 and has a long history of self-propelled outdoor recreation, stewardship, education, and exploration. We maintain 4 backcountry huts open to the public, 2 trails, and 1 route. As of February 16th we have 490 student, 57 associate, and 122 active alumni members. This is significantly higher than our historic membership level of about 350 members.
Our organization's objectives include:
• Introducing new members to self-propelled outdoor adventure by teaching key skills such as navigation, camping, general mountaineering, avalanche awareness, rock climbing, backcountry ski-touring, and leave no trace principles
• Maintaining a collection of equipment for our members to borrow at no cost, to facilitate experimenting with outdoor activities until they can afford gear of their own
• Maintaining a collection of guidebooks and textbooks to be lent out at no cost to our membership
• Encouraging ownership in the club and the greater outdoor community by building and maintaining backcountry facilities
• Networking amongst experienced members looking to engage in serious objectives
• Ensuring we have a place to do these activities in the future through advocacy focused on British Columbia and education campaigns within our membership
Our organization's activities include:
• Large instructional trips about once per month designed to give introductory level training, including: Glacier School, Longhike (basic rock climbing), Winter Longhike (winter camping), Tele-School (telemark skiing technique), Intro to Backcountry Skiing, Intro to Ski Mountaineering, Son of Rock (basic rock rescue), Daughter of Snow (general mountaineering) and numerous avalanche courses
• "Beginner-friendly" trips on average once or twice per weekend during the school year in order to help less experienced members visit places they wouldn't otherwise go to and practice the skills they've learned, as well as gives more experienced members a chance to practice their leadership skills
• "Workhikes" where the club maintains our own and other’s huts and trails
• Spontaneous member organized trips at all skill levels
• Weekly slide shows where experienced members present about past exciting trips
• Seasonal Leave-No-Trace seminars
• Gear maintenance nights where we fix the club's broken equipment
• Advocacy in coordination with the FMCBC Recreation and Conservation committee (preserving access for and availability of non-motorized recreation in BC)
• Production of the VOC Journal, a bound book published annually with member stories from the previous year, sold within our membership and available at local libraries as well as the National Library of Canada
• Facilitating large public lectures and films related to the outdoors
Trips, free gear/book rental, membership in the FMCBC and ACC, and a copy of the VOC Journal are all included in the cost of membership - $35 for UBC students, $52.50 for members of the community at large. All VOC trips are run at cost - we make no profit and more experienced members volunteer as instructors. Often, the cost of a trip is no more than contributing gas money to get to the trailhead.
Summary of income/expenses for previous year: (40 words or less)
$19000 income: $16000 membership fees; $2000 journal advertisers; $1000 donations.
$19000 expenses: $5000 membership in the FMCBC; $5000 Journal printing; $3000 gear maintenance/ purchases; $2500 hut renovations; $1000 booking venues; $500 hut leases; $500 donations; $500 overhead; $1000 other
3 double glazed tempered glass windows: $581.87 1 DuPont Tyvek HomeWrap roll: $109.27 1 Blueskin weather barrier roll: $39.99 4 Rubber weather-stripping: $34.76 1 Weatherproofing wood finish: $37.97 Paint accessories (brushes, thinner, etc...) ~$70.00 Gas – 220 km round trip x 10 cars x $0.12 (per km): $264.00 Taxes and other expenses: ~$162.14 Total: $1300.00
Description of MEC Products Requested: (30 words or less)
No MEC products are required directly. Funds will be used to purchase construction materials (see attached documents). Although we have requested $1300, support at any level will reap benefit roughly proportional to that support.
Project Summary: (30 words or less)
Renovate the Brew Hut to improve its resistance to extreme weather conditions to ensure its peak condition for years to come for both our club members and the outdoors community at large.
Project Detail: (600 words or less)
The purpose of this project is to repair and improve one of our club’s huts located on a high col just south of Mt. Brew in the area of other prominent peaks such as Fee, Tricouni, Cypress, and Brandywine. In its third iteration, the Brew hut was built in 2005, to improve access to the incredible skiing in the area. It is available for our members to use at any time, as well as being open to the general outdoors community. The hut is fairly new and is generally in excellent shape. Minor maintenance is ongoing during every visit by our members to the hut, such as fixing the door, replacing window frames, relocating the outhouse, cleaning the chimney, etc... Despite our efforts, the hut is no match for the extremely harsh weather conditions that it undergoes. Ranging from constant direct sunlight, to 40 knot winds, to horizontal rain, to mounds of snow, the hut undergoes quite a beating.
The main concern is that the SE facing wall, the most prone to weather deterioration from rain and snow, is leaking heavily around its three windows. The original wood of the window frames has rotted away. We have made some replacements to the worst of it, but it too has quickly become wet. Water is also leaking through any screw holes in the aluminum siding, damaging the hut’s walls and integrity.
Our plan is to remove the sheet metal from the SE wall. We will then remove the current windows as they are made of a cheap recycled acrylic and have severely deteriorated due to overexposure to direct sunlight and howling winter conditions and are thus letting in water. We will replace them with custom ordered double glazed tempered glass windows which are significantly more durable and appropriate for the conditions.
We will then cover the wall with a waterproof Tyvek membrane. It lets no water in, but is breathable, so it will let out any vapours allowing the hut to stay perfectly dry on the inside. We will also put a Blueskin membrane around the new windows, which is completely waterproof, to entirely seal the windows. All of this is the current construction standard. Finally, we will re-apply the sheet metal to the wall.
We also will add weather-stripping on the other four windows of the hut. They are quite exposed, and during strong winds, warm air gets sucked right out of the hut. We will also paint the frames of the windows with a weather-resistant, membrane-like paint, once again to prevent water from getting in.
Another task to is grounding the hut. It is not uncommon for lightning to occur in the area. To be safe, in case of a strike, the electricity should run down dedicated wiring and not just the metal walls of the hut. We will put up long conducting rods at each end of the hut and run insulated wire to a grounding plate which will be positioned under the surface out of harm’s way. Most of the materials for this are already at the hut, but people are needed for proper installation.
We shall dedicate 4-7 days during the summer, depending on availability of volunteers, for all of the renovations. A stretch of warm dry weather is required, thus we will not be able to do it earlier. The summer trail being only about 6 km, we would hike in all of the materials and hike out any debris that is created. This bars the very expensive helicopter use, which runs at about $1000 a trip as was done when the hut was built. We have quite a number of strong hikers that will be eager to help with the project and will gladly carry what is required.
Description of how project meets category criteria: (600 words or less)
Although we often drive to the trailhead, the VOC focuses exclusively on self-propelled wilderness activities. The hut offers exceptional terrain for backcountry skiing and is an excellent point for alpine touring. During the skiing season, the hut sees people almost every weekend, often to full capacity, as is documented on the club’s wiki page. Although primarily a skiing destination, during the summer, hikers go up there frequently for casual day or weekend trips, or as part of the Alcoholic Traverse.
The student body at UBC from which we draw our membership offers a diverse cross-section of youth with a wide variety of backgrounds. This grant will help us ensure that the hut is well protected from the elements. The hut being only 45 km north of Squamish is quite accessible, even by bus. The ski-in, although fairly long, is quite mellow and straight forward. This gives the less experienced the opportunity to try telemarking, snowshoeing, or AT-skiing, at a prime location, on easy terrain with good snow, without the need of carrying a heavy tent or being wet and miserable. The hut is in fact the location of many of our beginner-friendly trips and the annual “Introduction to Backcountry Skiing”. This also gives the more experienced the opportunity to practice their leadership skills as well as a rich skiing destination.
As concerned members of the outdoors community, the VOC strives to introduce new members to the outdoors in a safe and responsible way. The key message in the club is to be responsible for yourself and to leave the environment the way you would like it to be found. The VOC has a long history of outdoor stewardship and leadership. Our members and alumni have gone on to become leaders in the greater outdoors community, write guidebooks, accomplish pioneering first-ascents and traverses, become park rangers, organize and serve on land-use forums, and build and maintain huts and trails. Some were founding members of the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC and even the Mountain Equipment Co-operative. But just as importantly as those who stand out, are all the rest; we have been steadily producing members of society who truly care about the wilderness in a personal way.
The hut being located on a barren ridge, it minimizes its environmental impact. It provides adventurers both with shelter and an outhouse. It prevents people from randomly camping in the fragile alpine, which can be disastrous to its ecosystem. The dedicated outhouse ensures no human waste is left all over the mountain. The stove in the hut provides warmth while burning exclusively the remains of an old demolished hut in the area.
As a student-run non-profit organization, the VOC has no administrative costs and everything is accomplished by volunteer labour. Even executive of the club are fee-paying members, and all overhead costs, such as insurance and clubroom space, are provided for by the university student society. This will allow all of grant money to go directly into the hut and its safeguarding.
We will follow up on this project with ongoing maintenance of the hut. All hut visitors diligently report any issues they notice, which we will liquidate as soon as possible, likely even the following weekend. The frequent visits will guarantee that the Brew hut is in tip-top shape. As we were able to directly see the deterioration of the hut, we will be able to analyze whether our renovations were successful and eliminate any problems that might occur. If anything major arises, we will once again organize a longer summer renovation project such as this one.
Plans for project follow-up and evaluation of success: (30 words or less)
Regular hut visits will oversee its preservation. “Workhikes” will be done for small maintenance projects, with larger scale repairs as needed.
3 double glazed tempered glass windows: $581.87
1 DuPont Tyvek HomeWrap roll: $109.27
1 Blueskin weather barrier roll: $39.99
4 Rubber weather-stripping: $34.76
1 Weatherproofing wood finish: $37.97
Paint accessories (brushes, thinner, etc...) ~$70.00
Gas – 220 km round trip x 10 cars x $0.12 (per km): $264.00
Communication costs: $0.00
Overhead costs: $0.00
Government grants: $0.00
Earned Revenue: $0.00
Total Funds Requested: $1300.00
1) The VOC is a student run non-profit organization. No overhead or administrative costs are required for this project.
2) Insurance, club space, and website server space are provided by the Alma-Mater Society (student society) of UBC.
3) All work for the renovations will be completed by volunteers form club membership.
4) All advertisement and organization for the renovations will take place on the club website forum and wiki-page, meaning no communication costs.
5) The requested funds will all be directly put into material costs as seen above.
6) This project is not backed by any other organizations, grants, sponsorships, foundations, or government.
7) All costs above those tabulated in this budget the VOC will attempt to cover from the remains of the club annual budget at the beginning of summer.