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De la Beche Hut – History

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HUT REMOVED – 20 Feb 2012

Due to extensive deterioration this hut was demolished and removed on 20 February 2012. Many thanks to the NZAC volunteers, DOC Aoraki/Mt Cook staff, and Airforce crew who contributed many hours and resources towards the removal. The base frame of the hut remains in place – NZAC hope to be able to replace this hut within the next 5 years. The old bivvy rock is still in place.

Summary | History | Management

Summary:

The classic climbs of De la Beche and the Minarets are on the doorstep from this classic location. The hut also provides shelter for those traveling up and down the mighty Tasman Glacier.

Location:

POINT(170.24195194 -43.5478638)

NZTopo50:

BX16 771 746

NZMS260 (old):

H36 871 362

Location description:

1,600m on shelf at corner of Tasman and Rudolph Glaciers below De la Beche and the Minarets.

Facilities:

10 bunks, radio, water tank, utensils, blankets.

Access:

3-4 hrs from Ball Shelter up the Tasman Glacier.

Fees:
  • Members $10 per night
  • Non-members $20 per night

Hut fees payable to Department of Conservation, Mt Cook.

Bookings:

No bookings are possible.

 

History:

De La Beche Plaque
De la Beche Memorial Plaque:
by C F Piercy

 

De la Beche Memorial Refuge
Erected by relatives and friends in memory of John Edward Eldridge Blomfield, Doris Herbert Brown, Mary Heather Monteath, Helena Keane, Dorothy Marion Smith,  who perished in a great thunderstorm on the Tasman Glacier – 19th January 1930. See below for an account of this event.

 

History Timeline

2012 – 1931 memorial plaque removed, cleaned and now hanging in the Unwin Lodge, Mt Cook.
Hut demolished and removed from site due to extensive damage from leaking cladding and rot.
2011 –
2010 –
2009 –
2008 –
2007 –
2006 –
2005 – Removal of long drop toilet from site.
2004 – Agreement signed with DoC for ongoing management.
2003 –
2002 –
2001 –
2000 –
1999 – Decision to replace the long drop toilet with new fly out design.
1998 –
1997 –
1996 –
1995 –
1994 –
1993 –
1992 –
1991 –
1990 –
1989 –
1988 –
1987 –
1986 –
1985 –
1984 –
1983 –
1982 –
1981 –
1980 –
1979 – Replacement Hut construction completed.

4 April 1931 – Original De la Beche Memorial Refuge opened by Guy E Mannering who placed the first screw in the memorial plaque featured above. For an account of the tragedy that sparked the construction of this hut, please read the following account from the 1930 NZAC Journal. A follow uparticle from the 1931 Journal on the fund-raising and opening is also included. The article also mentions that De la Beche was opened on the 42nd anniversary of the establishment of a De la Beche Bivouac on the site, which must have been c.1889 (a mention of its use can be found in the first NZAC Journal of  April 1892).

The Disaster on the Tasman Glacier by G E Mannering – NZAC Journal June 1930 PDF

Management:

Information follows on the construction of the 1979 hut:

Summary

De La Beche hut was built in 1979. It has a very strong subfloor and foundation incorporating large steel beams which both support and brace the hut with secure connections to the rock base. Current remedial work has been estimated at $3030. The major item of work is replacement of the existing toilet which is in very poor condition. Other work includes providing extra support for the add-on deck and fixing damage in the north wall caused by a leak.

Location

De La Beche Hut is located in Mt Cook National Park up beside the Tasman glacier on the true right side. It is near the bottom of the De La Beche ridge above the confluence of the Tasman and Rudolf glaciers. It is at an elevation of 1430m.

Flooring and Decking: The porch and deck area is presently poorly supported. Some areas of the decking are spanning too far without adequate support and there are unbraced support posts. Connections to support members are also weak. This area basically needs rationalising which could be sorted out by a well qualified carpenter.

Solution: Add joist at sth end of deck at D2. Add bolts or nailplate connections to joints. Add braces to posts. Add brackets to bottom of posts and bolt them to the supporting rock, $340.

Wall Structure: A leak in the north wall has caused extensive damage to wall framing in this vicinity. The lining needs to be stripped out and all rotten timber framing replaced.
The leak may have already been fixed when the new radio was installed a year ago, however when the lining is stripped back, a careful look should be made to try to determine the actual source of the leak.

Solution: Strip wall lining and replace affected wall framing timber. Preferably use H3 framing instead of H1 for further protection in case of further leaks, $240.

Interior Linings: Plywood lining on north end wall has rotted due to a leak in this area – refer D3 Wall Structure.

Solution: Replace lining with new treated plywood lining (marine plywood), $160.

Water Supply: The No. 1 tank is broken.
The No. 2 tank has not been connected up.

Solution: The No. 1 tank could be replaced by the No. 2 tank, $30.

Toilet: There is no ventilation pipe to the toilet and there is a bad smell. DOC means of compliance recommends vented toilets.
The steel roof cladding is mostly missing, there is a hole in the roof with a resulting leak inside the toilet which has caused the floor to rot. There is no steel cladding to the exterior walls, hence the plywood cladding is rotting. Some studs and rafters are either loose or broken. In summary the toilet is in such bad shape that it makes more economical sense to replace it rather than carry out any repairs.

Solution: Replacement VIP toilet, $2260.

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