When Extreme Environment Means Extreme

It has been "quite a challenge to design and build a hut for such a high alpine environment at Mount Cook," says Gottlieb Braun-Elwert.
Over an October weekend Braun-Elwert and three mountaineers from his company Alpine Recreation Canterbury, erected an 11-bunk, two-room hut at 1800 meters on the broad ridge that runs down from Ball Pass towards the Tasman Glacier.

While the hut is primarily for the use of Alpine Recreation guided parties, there is a lined emergency shelter room built on one end.

The hut is nearly 12 meters long by just over five meters wide and a ridge height of three meters.The prefabricated hut was, under the supervision of Gottlieb and Andy Green  air lifted on site by a “heavy lift” Squirrel helicopter.

The Caroline Hut was built during the winter and spring of 1990 for Alpine Recreation Canterbury Ltd from the designs of Gottlieb Braun-Elwert of Lake Tekapo and Evans Douglas Consulting Engineers of Christchurch.
A 5-Rib roofing profile called "Cosdek" manufactured by Dan Cosgrove Ltd of Timaru was selected for both roof and walls using a Colorsteel®  5000 coating on a galvanised based steel produced by New Zealand Steel of Auckland.
Lignite colour was used for the roof and Lichen for the walls with the product required to withstand blizzard conditions, winds of up to 200 kph and snow dumpings of up to six meters on the roof.  The hut has stood up to all these tests and come through without any problems.
The roof was fully sarked with plywood and the spouting was fitted under the end of the roofing with drainage holes to troughs in the iron for water to drain into the spouting and snow to pass over the end.  The walls were also covered with plywood before the fitting of the Colorsteel®  Cosdek cladding.
Following many heavy snow falls burying the hut at its original site, it was recently shifted a few meters away from the mountain behind to clear much of the snow sliding down the mountain.
Dan Cosgrove Ltd were proud to be involved in this exciting project and continue to follow the life of this hut, the highest in New Zealand, with a great deal of interest.
In 1990, New Zealand Steel Ltd were consulted about the paint coating specification for this harsh environment and advised that the Colorsteel® 5000 grade should be satisfactory. This has certainly proven to be correct.

Alpine Recreation Canterbury Ltd, Lake Tekapo takes competent ski touring parties into the virtually unvisited Mount Cook Range. The Caroline Hut can be a base for young climbers keen to receive instruction while climbing some of the easier peaks in the area such as Turner Peak and Mount Rosa.

Design & Engineering:

Gottlieb Braun-Elwert of Lake Tekapo                                                                                             and Evans Douglas Consulting Engineers, Christchurch.
Roofing & Wall Cladding -                                                                                                      Cosdek 5 Rib Colorsteel® 5000                                                                                         manufactured by Dan Cosgrove Ltd, Timaru.
Telephone +64 3 688-4169, Facsimile +64 3 684-8075

Extracts from an article written by  Colin Monteath for the Press in 1990