Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park welcomes new climber's hut away from avalanche risk

A new climber's hut has gone into the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park for the first time in many years.

The project has been nearly 20 years in the making and has taken $100,000, hundreds of volunteer hours and a large dose of Kiwi ingenuity to get it there.

It may look like a giant Monopoly hotel, but a four-bunk, one-tonne climber's hut is being flown into Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

The Beetham Valley Hut Mk 2 replaces three huts in the area before it, and it hasn't been a simple task to get it there.

Mt Cook National Park is a tricky site as it's not a static environment. There's constant glacial movement and brutal weather to contend with.

"Some really interesting challenges that the number 8 wire mentality of Kiwis is able to get a temporary foothold of the brutal elements up there," Beca project manager Johnathan McFarlane says.

"The last three huts have all come to an untimely demise through either changes in the land around them or avalanches."

Like the original Beetham Hut, it's been hit by an avalanche. And De La Beche Hut, which rotted.

So they've found a new spot nearby, away from avalanche risk. 

The new spot provides a safe refuge for climbers about half-way along the Tasman Glacier.

"The reason it's so important is it accesses the multi-brun range which has some very good rock climbing and mid-range mountaineering for New Zealanders," New Zealand Alpine Club's general manager Nicholas Cowie says.

Ten years in planning and fundraising by a group of largely volunteers. 

"It's been, since the original idea, about 15 to 18 years," McFarlane says.

It was a classic case of Kiwi ingenuity to try and get it right - something sturdy enough to withstand the weather but light enough to fly in by helicopter.

The team researched far and wide, taking inspiration from NASA and Antarctica New Zealand.

"We looked at what went wrong and what went right and then we kind of kept on innovating," McFarlane says.

The final build will undoubtedly provide a blueprint for future huts.

"It's got the ability to set a precedent for what alpine huts can be, the comfort levels, the structural integrity and the ability to withstand high winds," Cowie says.

The new Beetham Hut will provide a base for future generations to enjoy under the shadow of Aoraki/Mt Cook.