These Mountain Huts Are Completely Nuts

A casual stroll around these spectacularly exposed mountain abodes usually requires climbing gear.
Chacaltaya Lodge, Bolivia
Not your average ski hut © Ashvin Mistry
By Josh Gale

Well-appointed and luxurious mountain resorts pride themselves on incredible views, but some of the most breathtaking vistas can be found in precariously perched huts that aren't interested in taking your hotel rewards card.

Ranging from hobbit-like hovels and basic shelters built to save lives to futuristic eco-cabins, we've found 10 of the most surprising and unique huts built on the side of a mountain. So break out your climbing boots and don't wait for the bellhop ...

Chacaltaya Lodge, Bolivia (pictured at top)

At 17,782 feet, this lodge is higher than Everest Basecamp. Chacaltaya (Aymara for "cold road") is a mountain in the Cordillera Real and the hut was used to service Bolivia’s only ski resort. The glacier was as old as 18,000 years, but by 2009 it had gone, taking the prospects for skiing with it. All that remains is the lodge, teetering on the edge.

 

Looking down on Grand Mulet mountain hut
Great place to stay – if you can get there © Alex Buisse

Grand Mulets Refuge, France

One of the most impressively situated huts in the Alps, the Grand Mulets sits in the Mount Blanc massif. It's mostly used in winter by skiers looking to ski off western Europe's highest mountain.

 

looking at Sefton Mountain Hut
The oldest hut in New Zealand's Mt Cook area © Alex Buisse

Sefton Bivvy, New Zealand

The oldest hut in Mount Cook National Park, Sefton Bivvy has provided a launching pad for generations of climbers. It’s located at 5,400 feet, below Mount Footstool and offers four bunks. Best of all, it’s free to stay.

 

Gervasutti Refuge
The futuristic Gervasutti Refuge © Marco Destefanis

Gervasutti Refuge, Italy

Nautical and aeronautical design inspired the toothpaste-tube shape of this hut located at 9,300 feet, beneath the massive walls of the Grandes Jorasses, Italy. The 12-bed hut is built to stand the test of time, but apparently not everyone approves of its futuristic design.

 

View of Koncheto Mountain Hut
Would you stay here? © Maya Karkalicheva / Getty

Koncheto Hut, Bulgaria

While some huts offer hot food, wine and books and magazines to read, there are others that are a bit more basic. The Koncheto shelter is one such example in Bulgaria. You'd only want to stay here if you get caught out in a storm.

 

Solvay Hut on the Matterhorn
To get here you have to climb the Matterhorn © Marco Milani

Solvay Hut, Switzerland

Unless you’re a seasoned mountaineer, we’re sorry but you’ll never reach this hut. It sits at 13,133 feet, only 1,559 feet below the summit of Matterhorn (14,692 feet) and requires alpine skills to reach. The 10-bed hut was built in 1915 over five days and rebuilt in 1966.

 

A woman looks out from Ronconi bivouac hut
Care required if you need to get up in the night © Marco Milani

Bivouac Tita Ronconi, Italy

There are some huts where obeying the call of nature in the middle of the night is a major ordeal. For obvious reasons this four-bed hut is not a place to stagger out of in the small hours of the night. It sits at 10,397 feet in the Val Masino Alps, a popular area with climbers.

 

Winter view of the Vignettes hut
Careful when stumbling out in the dark © PatitucciPhoto

Vignettes Hut, Switzerland

Located on the famous Haute Route between Chamonix and Zermatt, this 120-bed hut is more like a hotel in peak season. It sits at 10,368 feet at the foot of Pigne d’Arolla, but it's not easy to reach — you have to cross a glacier to get there.

 

Looking at the Maria e Alberto ai Brentei Hut
This is Turnpoint 5 in the Red Bull X-Alps © Gerald Gold

Maria e Alberto ai Brentei, Italy

This dramatic location is one of the 10 turnpoints of the 2015 Red Bull X-Alps, an epic paragliding adventure race over 620 miles in distance across the Alps. Get here in mid-July and there's a chance you could spot one of the 33 athletes passing through before soaring into the sky. They of course won't have time to enjoy the comforts of this big 97-bed hut.

 

Looking up at the Bertol hut, Switzerland
The Bertol hut: just a mission to get there © PatitucciPhoto

Bertol Hut, Italy

Nestled at 10,863 feet on the south of Pointe de Bertol, a mountain in the Swiss Pennine Alps, the 80-bed Bertol Hut is famous for its precarious position on a rocky pinnacle. Definitely not the place to fall out of bed.

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