Your Voice on Hut Etiquette: PART 1
Editor’s Note - Last year we reached out to the ACC community and asked what everyone would like to see on our channels - one of the suggestions was a focus on hut etiquette. While we do have our own set of rules that are sent out during hut reservations, put on the walls and in literature, we’re sure there are a few informal ones that can only be learned through enough hut trips.
It has taken us some time to read through all of your feedback, but here it is! Thanks to all of those who spent the time to message us and a big congrats to the hut trip winner! Hope you enjoy the piece and share it amongst your hut buddies.
Click here to see PART II.
After a long day out in the hills, seeking shelter at one of our backcountry huts can provide some solid reprieve - coming into a hut filled with loud music, dirty dishes and unfriendly occupants can really damper that experience. We might be too tired for confrontation and maybe there’s a misunderstanding, but there’s often some things we just wish people knew… so this is a piece for all those things! Have a read through the points and let’s all take an effort to understand each other a little more in the backcountry.
Your most requested pieces of hut etiquette
We tallied up the responses into different categories and found your most requested pieces of hut etiquette:
FIRST: Show new visitors the way
The most requested piece of hut etiquette came to us as a surprise, and it’s also a little heart-warming. Many of you reached out and asked that other hut users be a mentor and withhold judgement to new-comers. When we treat each other with kindness and help show the way, it’ll be a better experience for everyone at the hut - it’ll also increase the chances of that kindness being carried forward as well!
“It doesn't matter how long you've been in the hut, you are to take on host responsibilities for the newcomers showing up (until they then become hosts for the next people who show up). Someone has hopefully given you a tour, shown you how to get water, where to put food, and even filled you in on tales of the hut's animals visitors, etc. Your job then becomes to pass it along to the next people who arrive to make them feel at home. In addition, ensure that when you see people have arrived, you put on enough water for them and they will do the same for the next people to arrive. I loved it! Hopefully other people do too!”
“Everyone experiences the outdoors for different reasons with different levels of knowledge. Don’t be judgy to newcomers, share your knowledge in a positive and friendly way. Some people might not know certain alpine objectives are possible and that people might be resting for a big day ahead.”
SECOND: Replenish the water
We all need to use the water at the huts at some point, so it comes to no surprise that one of the biggest pet-peeves concerns users who don’t refill the buckets or share water-boiling tasks. Let’s all fill some of the buckets with snow after we empty one and fill up the communal pot by the fire when water is taken from it.
“Keep a pot of drinking water on boil for communal use. Take one off, put a new one on.”
“Gather more water than you intend to use.”
THIRD: Pack your food out
There’s some legendary stories of monster vermin roaming around some of the huts - we’re gonna guess that’s due to the following point: not packing out your food. While we do understand how this could be seen as an altruistic act, however the food will likely sit there for some time (other hut goers don’t know how long it’s been sitting around for) and either our maintenance team will bring it out a season later, or it’ll become vermin food… So please pack out your food!
“Most people know to share responsibility and clean up after themselves, however I still see many people leaving a variety of food in the huts. I know that many people who do it see it as a gesture or assume others will eat it, but this is not the case and it usually ends up wasted or bringing in rodents. It’s always nice to see foreigners and fresh ACC members coming to the huts but many of them don’t know this and I wish everyone did.”
“Stop leaving the food you don’t want to carry out! And clean up your crumbs in the cupboards when you leave! Food just attracts pests and most people will never eat the food that’s left. I’ve seen cans of food (in other shelters, not ACC ones) that are years old. Eww!”
Fourth: Keeping quiet during early/late hours
Some of us visit backcountry huts as a final destination and some of us use it as a base camp for nearby adventures - we should all respect each other’s needs in this regard. Maybe you and your group need a weekend getaway and you’d like to stay up late with your friends to catch up, but there may be a group who are hoping to pack it in early to have an alpine start the next day. Let’s respect the posted quiet-time so we can all enjoy our shared space and make the best of the experience.
“If you're waking up early (for an alpine start which is great!) - get geared up away from the sleeping quarters. For example, at Abbot Hut - you should NOT be gearing up upstairs while everyone is asleep. Bow hut - gear up in the common room, etc.”
“Even though there is a posted quiet time, if the majority of the hut is trying to sleep before then - people who stay awake should try to be respectful. For example, Abbott pass hut is a climbers hut but has become popular among hikers and scramblers to spend the night. People are waking up early for big climbs and often go to sleep well before the posted quiet time. Those not climbing and staying awake later could try their best to be of normal volume, and not be partying crazy loud.”
FIFTH: Share the work
When you visit any ACC hut, you’re essentially the custodian - you’ll need to clean up after yourself, prepare your own water and chop your own wood. It’s unlikely that you’ll be at a hut by yourself though, so there should be plenty of folks to share the chores with! Helping each other out with regular duties builds camaraderie, creates new friends and builds good karma.
“Everyone should pitch in and help in their own way – if you can’t chop wood, offer to fill water buckets or wash dishes. Working as a little mountain family adds to the fun of the huts!”
“Pay it forward. Take your turn to empty grey water, go shovel snow for melting, boiling water, switching out the outhouse barrels, etc. Take some time each trip to do some house cleaning.”
… coming soon in Part 2:
Notable mentions: While feedback was certainly more vocal on some topics than others, we thought we’d hand-pick a few pieces of hut etiquette that we think will be useful to new hut visitors…
Just for fun: There’s a few stories that were either quite touching, humorous and insightful. They don’t really fit into any category, but they’re certainly worth a mention…
Know the etiquette and let’s get out!
Family-friendly huts in alpine meadows, backcountry powder paradises, remote climbers’ refuges and everything in between. ACC huts provide an environmental option for a growing number of people who want to experience the majesty of Canada’s mountain backcountry by offering reliable protection from the elements, communal cooking and sleeping areas and access to water and toilets. Hut users do their own cooking, fetch water from nearby streams or by melting snow, and sleep in their own sleeping bags in common areas.