Many people imagine that a mountain hut consists of nothing more than a wooden shack with an outhouse. This preconceived notion is nonsense, of course, as these Alpine Association lodges well demonstrate. Some are so beautiful that they are listed as historical monuments; others inspire with their sustainable and modern construction: in other words, first class architecture.
1. Berliner Hütte Hut
Zillertal Valley, 2,042 m
Your gaze is inextricably drawn upwards, five metres to be precise. This is the height of the Swiss pine panelled ceiling of the dining room in the Berlin Hut, which was inaugurated in 1879. She was ahead of her time. Over 100 years ago, for example, the hut was supplied with electricity from its own hydroelectric power station, it had the very first telephone line in Upper Zillertal and even had its own post office, in addition to a cobbler’s workshop. The Berlin Hut was the first mountain refuge in Austria to be placed under a conservation order and has been carefully maintained and renovated ever since. If you want to take a journey back in time, this is the place to go.
2. Stüdlhütte Hut
East Tirol, 2,801 m
Like an eggshell, a round tin roof protects the north side of the Stüdl Hut, which opened in 1996. The exposed south side provides heat and energy. It was named after the Prague merchant Johann Stüdl, who commissioned the precursor of today’s hut to be built in the 19th Century, as a base for those climbing the Grossglockner. The new hut does not use fossil energy sources, its electricity comes from a solar system and the heating is fuelled by vegetable oil. Stüdl Hut aficionados appreciate not only its sustainable construction, but also the culinary creations offered. The team surrounding proprietor, Matteo Bachmann, spoil you with selected home-grown cuisine and ingredients.
„Delicacies for the guests. Vegetable oil for the heating.“
3. Falkenhütte Hut
Karwendel Mountain Range, 1,850 m
One man strums a guitar; another has pulled his hat right over his face. A hiker trudges past the two, his right hand on his backpack, while gripping a hiking pole with his left. Visitors to the Falken Hut can discover these and other humorous mountain scenes on a painted frieze in the dining room. Along with the old dormers and original mountaineering chambers in the old building, the frieze is one of the reasons why the Falken Hut was granted heritage protection status in 2015. Today, green electricity from the valley has replaced the diesel generator, the car park in front of the hut has been re-greened and guests sleep in the original almost 100-year-old dorm. (Please note: Falken Hut is currently closed for renovations)
4. Ramolhaus Hut
Ötztal Valley, 3,006 m
In 1881, Martinus Scheiber laid the foundation stone for the first mountain refuge in the Ötztal Alps in the Upper Gurgler Valley, thus creating the basis for countless alpine adventures in the Ötztal Valley. More than 130 years have passed and the Ramolhaus is still perched like an eagle’s nest on a rocky outcrop high above Ötztal. Some people call it the “highest building in Hamburg” because it was taken over by the Alpine Association of Hamburg in 1921. Two years ago, the Ramolhaus, which is now powered by solar energy, was awarded the Alpine Association environmental seal of approval and has been a listed building since 2017.
„Hamburg’s highest building is in Tirol.“
5. Olpererhütte Hut
Zillertal Valley, 2,389 m
With its gabled roof, wooden shingles and rectangular layout, the Olperer Hut was renovated in 2007, with its design based very much on the classic mountain refuge model. It was built using relatively light and precisely prefabricated plywood, which reduced the number of helicopter transport flights required for its construction to a minimum. Photovoltaic systems and a rapeseed oil-powered combined heat and power plant supply electricity and hot water, while a biological sewage treatment plant filters wastewater.