That's impressive. I spent five nights stuck in Tarn Ridge a while back, and while the building moved a bit, it was nothing like that!
Perhaps the most bitter night I ever spent was in the original Elder Biv in a very gnarly southerly. Conditions were so bad even the 100m or so down from the relatively sheltered track, through more open scrub to the hut was anxiety-making in the failing light.
When finally I unlatched the door, my big old Lab/Settler cross dog bolted inside, curled up tight in a smelly wet ball and refused to budge all night.
The biv was too small to get pushed around, but the noise even too much for my trusty ear plugs to block!
Wind Gust: The highest wind gusts recorded in New Zealand were 250 km/h at Mt John, Canterbury on April 17, 1970, and 248 km/h at Hawkins Hill, Wellington on November 6, 1959, and July 4, 1962.
I did find a reference to a gust of 275kph during the Waiohine storm but it was highly localized and not verified
From that I would take a wind of 235 as quite possible although I wouldnt want to be there during it. The 205 at Kaukau did enough damage here. Our house was rocking and its reinforced concrete.
The Mt John record was the highest figure observed in that storm before the anemometer detached itself from the building never to be seen again. The assumption being that it only got worse ...
Unless I'm confusing my high wind stories.
This seems to me somewhat excessive. Although I agree with the engineer, the chance that someone will be out in such extreme winds, and the chance that the hut will be actively dangerous seems pretty tiny to me.
The chance you inconvenience loads of people is pretty extreme.
I think a warning sign would have been sufficient.
storms can hit at any time and they are occasionally missed by the forecasters even if the tramper had bothered to check it. The chances of that being the only chance of survival mean it has to be up to the job.
However in this case the engineer has stated that the hut hasnt deteriorated its just not built well enough in the first place. We all have a fair idea of the conditions it has endured without damage some of which probably well exceed the level the engineer has expected total disaster. Maybe a sign would of been enough but then isnt a sign saying dont be here if its windy or snowing not a lot different to a sign saying capacity 12 people on deck.
Possibly not a great analogy
It may be excessive but I can imagine where they're coming from, aside from that a manager who gets a report like this would probably be thinking of the potential consequences if something actually happened and it emerged that such damning advice had been received.
* Jumbo is on the bush-line, and is relatively accessible even in questionable weather.
* Recent policy (last few years) has been to heavily promote the Holdsworth-Jumbo circuit. It's reasonable that Jumbo could be quite full of relatively lowly skilled people and families, even in questionable weather. Especially if people have found Atiwhakatu packed down-hill and made their way up.
* Nearby Angle Knob Hut lasted 19 years, and was then thrashed to pieces by the wrong combination of conditions. There was a person present when it happened, who was seemingly very lucky that they chose to leave when they did. https://www.wildernessmag.co.nz/rest-peace-angle-knob-hut/
* Jumbo's so-far lasted almost twice as long, but that could equally be a coincidence. The engineer (rightly or wrongly) seems to think that Jumbo might be subject to similar issues as Angle Knob.
So sure, the risk is low and it's virtually non-existent in anything other than extreme conditions. Logically people could make their own judgements, but DOC also has to consider its legal obligations, and the possibility that if it indicates that it's okay for people to plan to stay the night there then it's inevitable that it'll happen in questionable conditions. Yay for lawyers.
This post has been edited by the author on 26 July 2017 at 09:28.
Imagine the criticism if a group actually were in the hut if wind damaged/destroyed it.
There'd be calls for prosecution and all the rest
Jumbo has lasted longer than angle knob because the site is probably less windy, and the hut is different design, etc
may not be a high risk, but the managers cant ignore it. powell is rated as unsafe I n extreme wind as well.
it used to be you put a warning sign up , like the old bridge tht crossed mid waiohine, it said the bridge was dangerous, and not to use it... but it was still there if you wanted to use it, essentially at your own risk,, the alternative of crossing the river wasnt a great one, so you crossed it. but you knew there was a risk, if you really didnt like it then you didnt cross.
cattle ridge hut could move around a bit, it wouldnt have surprised me if it got blown away in high winds, it didnt stop me sleeping in it though, I took the odds.
This post has been edited by the author on 25 July 2017 at 21:29.