Jollie Valley, Mackenzie Country, Canterbury – November 2021
The Jollie River flows into the Tasman River east of Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, taking its source from the high peaks spanning the Burnett Mountains and the Gamack Range. Last November, a team of New Zealand Alpine Club volunteers went in to do some work on two of the huts in the valley: Green Point Hut and Jollie Hut. The Backcountry Trust funded transport and materials.
The team, led by Sam Newton, included Nick Bristed, Hayden Cox, James Graham, Zak Hynd, Andrew Muir, Hamish Newton and Pete Savage. Nick Ross did the bulk of the organising and logistics, but unfortunately couldn't make the trip. In previous years, this group has focused on the Hopkins-Huxley-Dobson valleys with maintenance undertaken on Dasler Biv, Erceg Hut, Reardon Hut, Kennedy Hut and Brodrick Hut. This time, they turned their attention to the Jollie Valley.
Jollie Hut is accessible by vehicle track from the Braemer Mt Cook Station Road. The team’s work included: replacing barge boards, painting and attaching new timber box corners, repairing the doorstep, painting the exterior trim, applying gutter sealant, building a new timber bench seat, removing rubbish and making minor drainage improvements around the hut.
While the team intended to replace the lead-head nails with tek screws, they found that the roof needs a complete replacement. This would be a good project for a group with roofing skills.
Green Point Hut
Higher up the valley, Green Point Hut is located on a river terrace beneath Mt Burnett and Corbies Peaks.
The team replaced all the lead heads with tek screws, placed a new Clearlite, fitted various new flashings, replaced the old window with a new aluminium window, installed a new door frame, blocked rat holes in the floor with tin strips, fixed broken bunk slats, reinstated a missing roof joist, and painted the exterior trim and roof. They also made minor drainage improvements around the hut.
Thanks to Rob Brown for advice and the Backcountry Trust for funding the materials and chopper. Thanks to Gus at DOC and the owners of Mount Cook Station for facilitating access.
Since the BCT team’s good work, a packrafting group made use of the huts and paddled down the Jollie River. Packrafters have been enjoying this hidden gem in south Canterbury over the past few years. Thanks to Allan Swann for letting us share his photos.