UKC

Free bivvy huts in Switzerland.. Any ideas?

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Hey fellow climbers,

I wondered if someone out there might be able to help with something I just can't find online.. A friendly and I are looking to ski tour around the Swiss alps in April (we're travelling from eu so lucky we can do it!). Our plan is to save on money by carrying food for the majority and stove, does anyone know about the general access to bivvy huts in Switzerland? Like the French style unmanned ones that have basic beds and wool blankets but not a lot else.. All I can find online is the sac manned huts and at 60 or so à night we wouldn't be able to last very long!

Thanks for help, advice and shared experiences! 

Tom

1
Gone for good 03 Mar 2021
In reply to Tomreynolds396:

There are plenty of unmanned huts shown on the SAC website. The 2 that immediately spring to mind are the one between the Breithorn and Pollux (Rossi el Volante) as well as the one between the Alphubel and the Taschorn (Mischabeljoch?)

I think the Rossi el Volante is well used by ski tourers but you'll have to take your skis off to get up there.

More information here.

https://www.sac-cas.ch/en/huts-and-tours/sac-route-portal/?type=hut

Post edited at 10:41
 steve_gibbs 03 Mar 2021
In reply to Tomreynolds396:

The issue with the free ones, is it's a complete gamble on how full they'll be! Last time a friend and I attempted to stay at the one between the Breithorn and Pollux, we arrived early and landed beds, but by evening around 24 people had turned up, while it comfortably sleeps 12. As we'd sensibly brought backup bivvy gear, we decided to forgo our bed spaces for the others and bivvy up on the flat rocks higher up behind the hut, if anything, for a better night's sleep. Moreover, the hut is overflowing with stinking garbage piled up in a corner and the entire area around the hut is strewn with faeces and loo roll. Bring a water filter (like the Sawyer SP128) and be sure to get water far far over to the high right, when looking into the rockface and/or a stove to melt snow. Furthermore, it's a tricky and exposed approach to the hut. The paid huts are probably worth paying for!

In reply to Tomreynolds396:

The first thing to note is that there's no such thing as a free hut - for the unmanned ones and winter rooms in other huts you are expected to pay. Normally it's between 20 and 30 CHF and this helps pay for the maintenance and wood/gas supply. Even then most such huts have to be subsidised by members of the Swiss alpine club.

There will be either an honesty box, or more likely, payment slips that you can take to the post office once you arrive back in civilisation. 

This year thanks to Covid, you have to reserve your place in unmanned huts either via a website or by telephone. This is to ensure that the place isn't overcrowded and that contact tracing can take place if needed. The link above to the SAC site gives you links to the individual huts which explain the procedure.

In reply to Tomreynolds396:

Search the SAC Route Portal for "bivouac" or similar and plenty will come up. The Igloo des Pantalons Blancs is worth a visit just for the name.

As mentioned above, if you're not an SAC member you should expect to pay about 30 CHF per night via the Swiss system of payment slips. It's an honesty system, but do consider the fact that someone has collected the firewood for you and maintained the shelter.

 Doug 03 Mar 2021
 MG 03 Mar 2021
In reply to Tomreynolds396:

SAC ones aren't free or even that cheap and, being Swiss, they are serious about the fee. There aren't that many.  

Many Italian ones are free, and there are lots of them. 

 pec 03 Mar 2021
In reply to Tomreynolds396:

Just to clarify this, the Rossi e Volanti Bivi hut is actually in Italy (just) and owned by the CAI not SAC and it is actually free. It has no facilities other than blankets and a table and no running water so you will need a stove. It has no toilet so do be very careful about collecting snow to melt and boil or filter the water. I got so seriously ill from drinking snowmelt there I had to be airlifted to hospital!

Another bivi hut in that vicinity is the Balmenhorn Hut in the Monta Rosa massif and is also in Italy. This one has a stove and pans etc as well as blankets and a toilet (of sorts, with a unique flushing mechanism so beware that some people may still choose to crap nearby instead).

I think you're supposed to pay by putting some money in a box. Being at 4000m it's not a great place to stay if you aren't well acclimatised.

Thanks everybody for all your share wisdom and insights - lots to pick up on here and links so I can find out more, I really appreciate your time!  

In reply to Tomreynolds396:

The other thing would be 'winter rooms' in manned huts that are closed.


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