Exit Mould Kime
15 July 2023
Staggering up past Dennan in the dark, headlamps struggling to penetrate the dense clag, our packs laden down with mould killer, sponges, scrubbing brushes and buckets. Is this what Sherpas on the Khumbu Icefall feel like?
A few months ago on a club southern crossing, I noted the depressing mould-covered state of Kime Hut. Mentioning this to Derrick Field, doyen of the Greater Wellington Hut Network (GWBN), elicited a good old fashioned tune-up: ‘It’s your club’s responsibility, you’ve got a management agreement with DOC!’
I knew TTC had built the first two iterations of Kime (I’d even helped dismantle the iconic Kime Mark 1 back in ’77), but I assumed we’d passed the mantle on to DoC when they built the state of the art Kime Mark 3 in 2014.
But really, it was Geoff Spearpoint and Andrew Buglass, writing in the June FMC Backcountry, who hit a raw nerve. The backcountry hut network is in crisis, they lamented. Don’t bother thanking others for fixing up an old hut or clearing a track - get out and do something yourself!
I probably would have waited for summer but Franz doesn’t dwell on such niceties so here we were in a 4 degree C hut, arguing about which stars were the Matariki cluster and waiting for H hour. Once the only other occupants were off to Alpha at 8 a.m. we were into it, spraying walls and scrubbing off stubborn stragglers. We’d thought we would attempt only the notorious south wall but things were going so well we soon expanded our sights to ridding the entire hut of the evil microorganisms. Franz earned a bravery medal for selflessly volunteering to tackle the foul slime-covered toilets.
A few parties, on day trips to the tops, stuck their heads in the window and offered moral support but quickly retreated from the overpowering ammonia fumes.
By 1 p.m. we’d run out of mould killer, thankfully, but our work was done. Kime was looking absolutely spectacular - if I do say so myself.
So, if you’re headed this way in future, how about packing a trigger bottle of Exit Mould? It’s painless work to spray a few walls and takes only a few minutes. Bonus points for scrubbing (bring a Scotch-Brite pad) off the cling-ons. Besides, we left the vestibule untouched. Now there’s a challenge.
- Party members
- Franz Hubmann and Paul McCredie (scribe)