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March 2011 Issue
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Cold comfort stop

DOC ranger Karen Jackson makes good use of a moment's downtime!

Forget the ‘hot seat’, the Denali 400 at Sefton Bivouac is quite possibly the coldest seat in the country.

The new open air loo installed near Sefton Biv in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park gives users panoramic views, even if the only privacy is a large rock.

DOC staff installed the open alpine lavatory in January, 1600m above sea level, because the area had no toilets and trampers had been forced to carry ‘poo pots’ with them.

DOC spokesperson Shirley Slatter said the toilet is being trialled at this site before being installed in the Playing Fields on the Ball Pass Crossing.

“The views are absolutely stunning. It looks down the Tasman Valley toward Lake Pukaki,” said Slatter.

The Denali 400 is named after Denali National Park in Alaska, where it was first designed, and the number of litres it holds.

The self contained unit is flown out by helicopter when full and has no shelter, including walls, windows, a door or a ceiling.

“You’re just sitting on a 400 litre square tank with a toilet seat,” said Slatter.

Unfortunately, the unit’s seat isn’t heated so trampers will have to revert to using their pots during winter.