Your Voice on Hut Etiquette: PART 2
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.
This is PART II of the hut etiquette series, featuring five points that we thought new hut users would benefit from, and a few “for fun” stories that were included in the feedback.
To see the top five most mentioned pieces of hut etiquette, check out PART I.
While feedback was certainly more vocal on some topics than others, we thought we’d hand-pick a few pieces we think will be useful to new hut visitors:
FIRST: Share the drying space
This may not be an obvious point for new hut users, so we thought it was worth a highlight! The huts should accommodate all occupants under max capacity, but the same can’t be said for the available drying space around the fireplace. We understand that it can be quite easy to leave your gloves and socks hanging there overnight, but if the hut is full and you have a premium spot on the drying rack, please check if your things are dry to make some room for someone who may have more saturated items.
“Get your dry stuff off the ceiling hooks when it’s done drying! People are good in the winter but forget about it in the summer, but there’s tons of objectives that require crossing creeks and climbing waterfalls!”
“One important hut etiquette rule is not to hog the spots to hang wet clothes around the fire. Once your clothes are dry, move them somewhere else to hang. Let everyone have the prime spots to dry their clothes!”
SECOND: Turn on the red light
Most of us don’t like being blinded by lights in the best of times, so having it done to us while we’re trying to sleep is certainly unpleasant. If your headlamp had a “red light” option, try using that if the other lights are out - it’ll also preserve your natural night vision! If your headlamp doesn’t have that option, try angling the light down more and switching to low power.
“Early start? Middle of the night pee break? Use the red light function on your headlamp instead of the high beam please!”
“Often with alpine huts, people are getting up at various times, and it’s important to be courteous to others when getting ready for day. Even though most folks are keen on setting off early, 30 extra minutes to an hour can make a world of difference. Make sure your headlamp is accessible before you go to bed!”
THIRD: Gear away from the beds
Sharp bits and clunky boots: not an ideal combo in a dark area where people are trying to sleep. We understand that you may want to keep your personal belongings close to you, however, keeping sharp points and heavy boots in the sleeping area is a safety concern and reduces the longevity of the huts. Please keep sharp bits outside and boots out of the sleeping area.
“Please do not store your ice axe in the sleeping areas where a sleepy person might step on it on the way to the outhouse in the middle of the night (true story, Bow Hut March 2018).”
“No gear in the sleeping area - if it's a full house it can be tight. Your backpack doesn't need a cozy mattress.”
Fourth: Cleaning up your dishes so others can eat
No one wants to clean up dirty dishes so they can eat, especially after a long day. There is cutlery and dinnerware at most of our huts, but not enough for remote ones if the entire hut is eating at once. So make sure to clean up after yourself when you’re done your meal so others can benefit from clean dishes as well.
“Do your dishes when you’re done cooking and eating. Other people probably need to use some of the same things, and we don’t want to clean your mess just to eat as well.”
“Clean up after you eat quickly so that others can get in to make food.”
Fifth: Don’t pee in/around the hut
We were all taught this one at a young age: don’t eat the yellow snow. In the case of hut living, you don’t want to load up the snow buckets with this coloured snow either… so please make sure to relieve yourself at the proper facilities or designated area. It can be difficult to spot where people have peed when filling up snow buckets at night or after a fresh dusting!
“I know it’s a drag to get up and use the outhouse in the middle of the night… But, if you made your way to the hut, you definitely have the fitness to make it to the outhouse. Do not use a pee bottle in a crowded hut when your neighbours (like me) are only inches away!!! True story…”
“Don't pee in the spot saved for snow collection for drinking water.”
Just for fun
There were a few stories submitted that didn’t quite fit into any category, but are certainly worth sharing:
A story about squeaky doors:
“Every backcountry hut I have been to has squeaky doors. The amount of precipitation, the thick wood doors and heavy duty hinges always make a loud squeaky noise. We were staying a week at the Keith Flavelle Hut near Pemberton BC in January, the first night was fully booked. 16 people. Everyone was scrunched together in the loft when the first loud squeal of the door happened at 4 am, someone was going to the bathroom... Then more loud squeaks. A group had awoken to go out pre-dawn for some ski turns, opening and closing the front door over and over to get their skis, to use the bathroom etc. Already exhausted from the ski in and a late supper, the early morning door parade was a bit much. The next day I had the idea to pour a little bit of olive oil we had brought up to cook with on the door hinges. Open. Close. Dead silence. I anxiously listened every time someone opened or closed the door that day to hear the squeal. It never happened. The rest of that week I slept like a champion! The middle of the night pee'ers and the early morning skiers did not awake me with the sound of the door. I was quite satisfied. My Etiquette for this is to now always bring a bit of extra oil in my pack, just enough to lubricate those door hinges. Each hut trip I now have the satisfaction of quieting one of the loudest annoyances in a backcountry hut, the door. If the door hinges were occasionally lubricated on a regular basis, it would likely help prevent rust, build up, and keep it opening and closing smoothly and quietly.”
We’re all in it together
“I would like to see the more experienced mountaineers, making less experienced people feel more welcome. There are a lot of big egos out there, which make it intimidating for people who might have less experience. Saying that hikers shouldn’t be allowed at certain huts because they don’t climb is really disheartening.”
“Overall I believe that if we come into these areas with the mentality to respect one another and the environment that we are so lucky to adventure into, ultimately it will last longer and provide a rich experience for all to enjoy.”
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.