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Shelter in alpine environments

If you’re going off the beaten track, you’re advised to carry a tent – mountain-strength tents to handle strong winds and heavy snow loads can be hired if necessary. The vast majority of visitors to Kosciuszko National Park will leave safely, but if you do get stuck in the snow and are unsure of rescue, a stronger shelter may be necessary. It can be a rewarding challenge to understand the basics of creating shelter in extreme conditions.

Read more about Shelter in alpine environments

Huts

  • Kosciuszko National Park has some huts that can be shelter in an emergency, including Boobee, Brook's, Delany's, O'Keefes, Paton's, Pretty Plain, Broken Dam and Old Geehi
  • We suggest that you don't rely on finding or staying in a hut. Bad weather or the fitness, skills or health of your party might prevent you from reaching shelter.

Caves

In a life-threatening situation in extreme conditions, a snow cave may provide emergency shelter. You'll need a snow shovel for construction and ski stock to create a ventilation hole. Keep the shovel inside the snow cave.

  • A snow cave can provide complete protection from extreme weather; it remains at a constant temperature just above 0°C
  • Bear in mind that you're likely to get very wet during construction, which can take two to four hours, and use up lots of energy

Igloos

An igloo can provide complete protection from extreme weather, but they are difficult and time consuming to build so only try this if you are experienced.

Ventilation

In all types of shelter, ventilation is essential and needs to be checked regularly, particularly in windy or snowy weather. This is to prevent shortage of oxygen or build-up of carbon monoxide if you’re using a stove.

High Plains, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Murray van der Veer