Alpine club to put in spiffy biffy at backcountry hut 

Room with a view at 5,700 feet gets upgrades

The local section of the Alpine Club of Canada will be putting the finishing touches — including a new outhouse — on the year-old Wendy Thompson Hut this spring.

The hut, located in an alpine basin between Cayoosh Mountain and Mount Marriott off the Duffey Lake Road, was a popular destination for backcountry skiers last winter, according to ACC hut co-ordinator Tom Dudley.

"It proved to be quite popular and saw pretty good use," he told Pique Newsmagazine .

But the shelter’s popularity proved to be too much for its temporary outhouse, which consisted of a primitive two-bucket waste system; one for solids and one for liquids.

"It was totally inadequate for the number of visitors it saw last winter."

The hut is a two-story, gothic-arch design — similar to the Himmelsbach and Wedgemount huts near Whistler — that sleeps 24 people in an upstairs loft. It also contains a kitchen and common area.

Dudley said the ACC is currently looking at a number of options for the new outhouse, including flying out dried waste by helicopter.

"We have a bunch of ideas," he said. "But we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel."

The new system, which would use a solar-powered fan to dehydrate the waste and ventilate the outhouse, would be more sanitary, less malodourous and "more ecologically sensitive," he said.

The local alpinists will use $2,000 of grant money from the ACC national office to fund the new spiffy biffy.

Other improvements inside the hut will include the installation of opening windows to improve ventilation and remedy the "condensation nightmare," as Dudley called it.

The improvements will be completed sometime this spring. "It would be pretty heinous if we didn’t get it done before the summer," said Dudley.

The Wendy Thompson Hut is named after a Whistler resident and paramedic who was killed in a 1995 airplane crash in the Queen Charlotte Islands.

The Whistler section of the ACC also has future plans to build more huts for winter ski touring and summer hiking and mountaineering.

Dudley said the local group is currently working with the ACC’s Vancouver section to increase public knowledge of the club and its facilities.

The Vancouver section manages two backcountry shelters in the Tantalus Range south of Whistler.

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