Colorado’s Long’s Peak is a, relatively speaking, accessible 14er. As such, it gets quite a bit of traffic. Quite a bit of human waste too, as you’d imagine. So, the National Park Service teamed with the University of Colorado, Denver’s Colorado Building Workshop to design outhouses that work more efficiently, to keep rangers from constantly having to service the toilets, reducing the impact of waste overall.

And, hey, may as well make them aesthetically pleasing too, which the architects at the CBW did. They did such a good job, in fact, this week, the outhouses were awarded the “Small Projects Award” by the American Institue of Architects. The prize goes to buildings less than 5,00 square feet in size.

There are four outhouses in the project—one at Chasm Junction, one at Chasm Meadow, and two at Boulder Field, which sit above 12,000 feet, a spectacular setting for when nature calls. They’re made to deal with the incredible winds up there too, designed to handle wind speeds of well over 200 miles per hour.


They’re simple open-air structures, composed of a kind of steel cage filled with rocks collected from nearby. Took only a week to build the outhouses too, thanks to a pre-fab design. Plenty of air flow, handy and appreciated. The waste doesn’t need to be collected by rangers either. Here’s how they work.

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