High Mountain Guides / Useful Information / Frequently Asked Questions / Staying in a Mountain Hut

Staying in a Mountain Hut

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Author Message

Rob Jarvis

Saturday 14 June 2014 5:25:42 am

What are mountain huts like & what additional equipment items do I need to bring?

Alpine Huts (Refuge in French / Rifugio in Italian and Hutte in German) add an extra dimension to many of our alpine courses and allow a very early start to be made often with quick access to the glacier or start of the route.

Staying in a hut can be a great pleasure combining the opportunity to be out in the mountains during the night / very early in the morning with a social & hospitable evening, often with great hearty local mountain food. Huts generally provide 3 course evening meals and a relatively basic breakfast of a hot drink with bread, butter & jam. Some huts, particularly in Switzerland, provide more extensive breakfasts!

Huts also sell snacks, chocolate, drinks etc which can be bought to take in to the mountains. They also serve lunch, hot drinks as well as beer and wine. Some huts have no running water which means bottled water needs to be bought. This can be expensive but remember it has to be brought in by helicopter!
Sleeping accommodation is provided in communal rooms with anything from 4 to 40 beds, so come prepared with earplugs! Huts provide basic toilet / bathrooms although sometimes washing facilities are limited or non-existent if there is no running water at the hut.

Additional Items to Take to a Mountain Hut
• Headtorch
• Earplugs!
• Very light silk / polypro sheet sleeping bag liner
• Plenty of cash to pay the bill for you (usually around 45-60 euros but can be more for example on Mont Blanc) and the Guide (usually around 30-45 euros)
• Alpine Club membership card if you have one
• Very little else – keep your bag as light as possible!
Toilet bags / bathroom products are not required as invariably there are very limited washing facilities.

Tips for staying in a mountain Hut
• Keep your personal gear well organised and arranged according to the system of the hut eg Ice Axe, trekking poles & boots stored in the boot room.
• Crampons & other technical gear can stay in your pack which goes to the sleeping room as long as they are well packed away.
• Sort your equipment ready for the morning the afternoon / early evening before. Don’t leave it until the morning or late in the evening when people are trying to sleep.
• Have your head torch handy for entering / leaving the communal sleeping room without turning the lights on.
• Identify your allocated bed on arrival, lay out the blankets and leave some personal gear on the bed to indicate to other hut users that it has been taken!
• Get up promptly in the morning, fold blankets & remove all items from the room. Other people may be staying in bed & having a later breakfast.
• In the event of not sleeping well due to the altitude / temperature / snoring etc try to relax and just rest as much as possible!