Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ’s – USAGE & OPERATIONS
Can I CANCEL my booking?
Cancellations made after a booking has been made will not be refunded.
Changes to a reservation can be made up to seven (7) full days before reservation (such as reducing numbers or reducing days at a hut or changing hut). A $10 charge/fee will be levied for each change request.
Hut reservations are not transferable to another party.
Avalanche Hazard Cancellation Policy
Note that the Kees & Claire Hut is located in the backcountry, in Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) Challenging terrain. The winter route is NOT marked, and you will be responsible for route-finding and navigating.
If you are unable to make it to the hut because of navigation error or fatigue or group dynamics, we will not refund your payment.
If the avalanche conditions, as rated by Avalanche Canada Sea to Sky bulletin on the days you are to be at the hut, are HIGH or EXTREME, in the previous afternoon’s forecast, we will refund you in full if you wish to cancel.
NOTE: Your request for cancellation must be made before 6 PM of the day of your scheduled arrival.
WATER – Why is there no water currently at the hut despite having sinks and faucets?
The hut is designed to have a functional water system in the future, but we are still fundraising for that finished component. It is likely that the water source will be well water from a drilled well adjacent to the hut. In the interim, snow can be melted to provide the water needed for drinking and cooking. This is the normal course for most backcountry huts. Snow is adjacent to the hut each year, thru to August typically, after which lake water can be carried to supply during the fall months until the snow flied again.
How much water does each person use per day?
It is expected that people will use about 8 litres a day of water for cooking, cleaning and drinking. It is VERY IMPORTANT that people practice good water management skills. Eg. Not use 2 litres of water to cook one cup of pasta for dinner. Or use two litres of water to wash a few utensils and two plates. Careful and conscious water use greatly reduces the need.
How do the toilets work?
The toilets separate urine from solids. When the user pumps the foot pedal, the solids move back and drop into storage totes in the Waste Collection Room below. The urine is plumbed to drain into treatment tanks in the hut basement and is eventually pumped into the dispersion field, along with greywater from the sinks. The solids in the totes begin to dry out and when the totes are full, they are flown out to the heliport, where they are pumped out by a septic service. Flights may be required once per year.
Where does the sewage go?
The sewage includes urine from the toilets and greywater from the sinks only, no solids. This liquid passes through treatment and storage tanks in the hut basement, before being pumped out to the dispersion field south of the hut. The field is located on a south-facing slope that is partially in the Russet Lake drainage and partially in the Cheakamus Lake drainage. This location was chosen because it was the only site near the hut with sufficient soil… about 18” of organic soil above glacial till. The biological activity in the soil breaks down the pathogens in the wastewater. The system was fully engineered by a provincial expert and permitted by Vancouver Coastal Health. We are assured that the distance of the field from the lake (500m), the relatively low volume of wastewater, and the design of the treatment system ensures that there is no risk to Russet Lake. The local impact of the dispersion field may be increased growth of sedges and wildflowers due to the increased nitrogen in the soil.
CUSTODIANS – Will there be Hut custodians full time?
No we will not have full time custodians, rather they are trained volunteer positions and we expect to have custodians there during busy periods at the hut. These custodians will be locals and others volunteering their time to spend a week or weekend at the hut to ensure everyone is respectful and proper operation occurs within. Over time, we expect we might be able to have some paid custodian positions in place. We are always seeking volunteers for this role, so please visit our website for more information if this is of interest.
KIDS – Are they allowed at the hut?
It is strongly recommended that guests do not bring children that cannot walk to and from the hut under their own power. Toddlers and small children are not recommended as the hut is not designed as “child proof”. Further, the space is tight for 38 guests and parents are expected to control their children at all times as it is a very busy kitchen with hot water, sharp implements and knives, busy stairwells etc that offers many potential hazards to small children.
QUIET – Is there a quiet time or can people play music in the hut?
Quiet time is between 10pm and 8am each day. People must be respectful of other guests and ensure that their movements, conversations and other activities reflect this. All guests are asked to minimize their noise generally, talk quietly and not play music or create any other noise that is not acceptable to ALL guests. If you have an early departure, alpine start, you are expected to be as quiet as possible in assembling your equipment and gear, etc. to leave on your day. After 10pm, guests should keep their noise to a minimum.
CLEANING – Who cleans the hut?
You do. You are responsible for taking out ALL of the materials, food stuffs, garbage, whatever, that you brought with you. NO EXCEPTIONS. Your every piece of plastic, garbage, uneaten food, etc MUST BE TAKEN OUT BY YOU and not left behind for others to deal with. The hut should always be left in better condition than you found it. Clean up after yourself. Clean your own dishes, replace them and the utensils etc back to where they were taken from. It is only thru the efforts of the guests that this facility will be properly cared for. PACK IT IN…PACK IT OUT.
NO RESERVATION – What happens if someone shows up without a reservation?
Without a reservation you cannot stay at the hut. You can make a reservation online if space is available.
EMERGENCY – Call 911
In the case of an emergency, call 911 and advise as to the situation etc and follow the instructions of the Operator. There is good cell service adjacent to the hut or in the hut for most carriers. IF a Custodian is present in the hut, please advise them as to the situation and follow their instructions.
FAQ’S – DESIGN & PLANNING
LOCATION – How was the site location of the hut chosen? Why was it not built nearer the lake?
The SHS looked at many sites and locations in the area around Russet Lake during the review and planning process. Many elements were considered, most importantly, was how to minimize impacts on any of the fragile meadows in the area. An option of a location at the lake was never a possibility nor was it practical. BC Parks was totally against this as the impacts are already severe on the meadows there as well as the existing Himmelsbach hut is close to a registered First Nations archeological site for which Parks was very concerned about traffic and impacts. Also, locating the hut in such a dark hollow by the lake meant that we were facing at least 4 hours less sunshine a day which had severe impacts on the efficiency of the solar array (a 50% loss in winter season) that would provide most of the power for the hut systems (when completed). BC Parks was trying to get traffic away from the fragile meadows adjacent to the lake. With years of discussions with BC Parks the location that was concluded to be the best, with the least impacts on the land was exactly where the hut is now.
HELICOPTERS – Will there be helicopters used to supply the hut and how often would they fly?
Helicopters are the only form of transportation for moving heavier items in and out of the hut. All propane and solid human waste must be transported out by heli. It is expected that under current plans/uses, we would need to replenish propane approximately 2x per year. We would need to remove solid waste totes 2x per year. Helicopters would have to transport these items as they weigh several hundred pounds each. Otherwise, from time to time, unplanned operational needs may require a heli flight. Eg. Special equipment that is too heavy for human transport. We always try to minimize our flights to necessities only AND coordinate flights so they are “full” in and out. All flights must be approved by BC Parks. Flights are also restricted to certain times of day and flightpaths, to make sure there is minimum impact on wildlife.
PASSIVE – Why was the hut designed as a Passive House?
The hut utilized Passive House design because it is the most efficient design for a building to save on energy use and CO2 footprint. It was important that in this cold climate at this altitude that the hut minimized the use of propane for heat and Passive design accomplished this. This technology requires sophisticated management systems however, to ensure airflow and transfer throughout the building as the building itself is very, very air tight. We also used triple glazed windows to be energy efficient. Windows can be easily opened to augment air flow during times of high moisture, condensation events as needed.
DESIGN – How was the size/capacity of the hut decided?
The size of the hut was carefully planned with direction from BC Parks. It was understood that the hut(s) had to function year round effectively and accommodate the interest and demand that was clearly present for the area and for the facility. While the capacity of 38 people was decided as optimal, it likely will not be enough to accommodate everyone during peak periods which was decided to be a reasonable expectation. The overall hut size then flowed from that decision. Public space, cooking facilities, sleeping space etc all were determined as a result of the capacity.