Why Backcountry Huts can be gross and unsanitary.
People are lazy beings. When it is cold and snowy outside people in general do the bare minimum. There are strict rules to follow when staying in a backcountry situation. There are pre-designated areas to PEE and to POOP, so that the area stays safe and more people can safely use the Hut or cabin. In general there is a lack of rule following in these type of situations. Just the other day I was at a Hut in my beloved CANADA and I almost witnessed a small explosion and fire inside the hut because somebody decided to prime their stove inside when there was a sign 10 inches from their face “Please prime stoves outside”. Not to mention the plastic burning session that the other “light-weight mountaineers” displayed when trying to use their nifty little Jet-Boil to heat up water to eat the most un-appetizing meal I have ever seen.
I have heard stories of people getting Giardia from the Asulkan hut in Rogers Pass from melting snow to close to where there is fecal matter. It is a matter of gravity, snow melts with fecal matter in it and toxins from urine and filters down towards the hut, and people poke their heads outside and grab the nearest snow = BOOM – Giardia.
There is always one group of people that bring the most ridiculous food items. Like this guy…..
Is it really necessary to bring huge steaks that have high grease content that can fester and create serious bacteria without proper cleaning and sanitizing with bleach and boiling water. It is unreal the amount of grease and film that I have encountered on the tables and counters in some of these huts. Sure it is cool to tour into a hut and stay and ski powder and enjoy the mountains to the fullest. But there are guidelines and protocol to making this an enjoyable situation for everybody not just your fat steak eating ass!
Dehydration Is another major issue in huts – Snowmelt can’t hydrate you properly.
Because snow isn’t all water content, it has algae, spiders, and bacteria in it even when it is flying in the air. It is not a proper way to hydrate yourself. Sure you can get away with melting snow for a couple of days and be ok but your body needs clean water, not water mixed with numerous different organic materials. Over time snow that has had some sort of solar radiation or UV rays, or glacial snow, starts to grow NaCl ( salt ) those cool purples, pinks, and colors that you see in glaciers and in the summer when skiing sun cupped corn is growing algae and bacteria that interact with the water content to form salt. In general, unless it is fresh powder falling from the sky melting snow is not an effieicient way of hyrdrating your body. People choose to go light and not pack water in but those people put themselves at risk of many things, UTI (Urinary tract infections ), dehydration, and contracting certain infections like Giardia.
Backcountry skiing is fun and memorable but the human race is a drag and people seem to forget that knowledge and preparedness is the key to success. Take a backcountry cooking course at REI, read some books about safe backcountry practices, and get informed on how to properly have a low-impact trip that will be successfull instead of painful.
Oh yea, if you are a snorer get one of those nose things to sleep with because 15 other people can’t handle you sawing logs in the middle of the night!