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Alpine hut gets some TLC

The Tasman Saddle Hut sits at 2200m, making it challenging to bring in supplies and crews Photo: Phillip Melchior

Tasman Saddle Hut is getting some much-needed maintenance.

DOC workers have taken advantage of a fine weather window to get crews and supplies for renovations to the high-altitude hut in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Perched at about 2200m, the 14-bunker hosts a number of ski-touring and climbing parties throughout the year.

Senior ranger Dave Dittmer said a team of five worked on the hut, weather proofing, painting the exterior, and sprucing up the interior. The last maintenance was over five years ago, Dittmer said.

“It’s gone reasonably well. The first week was cut short by a day because the weather changed on us,” he said. “The challenge here is that if you’re carrying materials under a sling on a helicopter, you need fairly settled air.”

Weather flashings, building wrap, a sheet of iron, ply, structural timber, and paint supplies were all flown in. In addition to the painting and weather-proofing, the toilet door and some windows were fixed.

“There’s a whole list of stuff that accumulates,” Dittmer said.

Because it’s a fairly small hut, DOC is also installing a fold-down table to make more effective use of the space.

“It was full-on, but the team enjoyed the work,” said Dittmer. “It’s quite motivating – you get a bit of satisfaction out of it, seeing a job well-done.”