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Snowbird Hut Update: 8/06/2010

Posted on: August 6th, 2010 by Alaska Section

The Alaska Section of the AAC is celebrating the summer of 2010 by building a new hut on the edge of the Snowbird glacier. Located in the Hatcher Pass area, the original hut (at right) was purchased in 2005 from a private party. This hut has been an important haven for hikers, climbers and backcountry skiers in an area known for unpredictable weather. The original structure is now over 30 years old and showing signs of wear. The roof has experienced a partial collapse from heavy snow load. The deck is unfinished and rickety and the entire structure shifts and groans when the occupants walk about inside.

Section Co-Chairs, Harry Hunt and James Brady have led the charge by actively fundraising for the last four years to fund the new hut construction.

Rim Architects of Anchorage donated time and effort to design the new 18’ by 18’ building. The design utilizes the onsite natural granite boulders to weight the gabions that make up the foundation. Local lumber yard Spenard Builders Supply offered building materials at a discount to help stretch the dollars. These materials were then lifted via helicopter by Dave King of Alaska Frontier Air Ventures into the site.

Volunteers have made the 4 hour trek into the site to level, clear and prep the new hut location. They have assembled gabions (wire mesh box shaped cages) and filled them with onsite granite boulders to provide a solid foundation for the vertical supports of the building. Each gabion measures 1 cubic yard in size and holds approximately 3,740 lbs. of rocks. In total the 9 gabions hold almost a dump truck full of material weighing over 16 tons! This design will ensure a solid foundation and a hut that will last well into the future. Photo: final site selection for the new hut.

The next big construction work party will commence on August 16th with another airlift of materials into the site. Volunteers will then build the deck, walls and roof in a 10 day ‘push’ to enclose the building before the onset of winter.

On Saturday August 14th the fundraising continues with a celebration at the Alaska Rock Gym. The Alaska Section is hosting the event with a pig roast (100 lb. pig), locally brewed Moose’s Tooth Beer and live music provided by band: Back Acres. We will have a continuous slide show projected on screen, gym climbing, picture board presentations of the hut construction and design and information about the AAC. The $25.00 entrance fee per person will go toward the hut construction and helicopter airlifts. We hope that additional donations can be collected at the party and through web exposure

We will be reporting again in 2 weeks with additional pictures and updates on the Snowbird Hut – so join us and watch our progress on this uniquely Alaskan project!


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