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Old Monte-Rosa HUT
Hut/Campground

Old Monte-Rosa HUT

 
Old Monte-Rosa HUT

Page Type: Hut/Campground

Location: Wallis, Switzerland, Europe

Object Title: Old Monte-Rosa HUT

Elevation: 9169 ft / 2795 m

 

Page By: JScoles

Created/Edited: Jan 24, 2002 / Sep 16, 2012

Object ID: 150813

Hits: 29915 

Page Score: 90.39%  - 32 Votes 

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New Hut

This page is now largly obsolete



A new hut, a much larger silver steal and glass monstrocity, opened in 2009 just above the old one.

The old hut is now just a small foundation footprint, a small pile of rubble slowly making its way along the glacier and memories for many of us who staryed there.

Overview

Situated like a castle on the top of a large ledge at the foot of the Monta Rosa the hut overlooks the Grenz Glacier coming down between Monta Rosa and Lyskamm, to the South one can see the Matterhorn and the Gorner Glacier and Gorner ridge, and directly across from the hut is the impressive north wall of Lyskamm.

As alpine huts go it is comfortable and spacious and one that is fun to visit even if one isn’t climbing.

Originally built in 1885 as a small timber hut it has been continual upgrading and expanded, until today where it is an impressive stone hut with a staff of 3-4 and room for up to 150 guests.

It is owned and operated my the Monta Rosa Section of the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) the Monte-Rosa-Hut is the best base camp for climbs on the Swiss side of the Monte-Rosa Massif.

Getting To The Hut

The easiest way to reach the hut is to take the Gornergrat Mountain Railway and get of at the Rotenboden station and from there take the well posted and excellent trail that takes you along the Gorner-ridge parallel to the Gorner glacier. After about 1 1/2 hours the trail reaches the end of the Gorner ridge and then turns sharply to the right to cross the glacier over to the hut.


The trail over the glacier is usually well marked with flags and crevasse and other glacial traps are small and few in number on this part of the glacier so ropeing up it not needed. The glacier is also heavily covered with a fine layer of grit so crampons are not usually necessary. Do watch out for the odd sink hole and there is occasional jump across the odd small crevasse just for fun.

Summer 2012
Just a note, the glacier path is very very crevassed and though safe when dry it could be problematic when covered witha layer of snow.

Expect to take an extra hour to get through it now. Back when I first worte this in 2001, it was a simple step across to the glacier. Now you have to decend at least 20m then cross a 3m bridge. So you get an idea of how fast the it is going away.

One quickly crosses the Gorner glacier to a rather large lateral moraine, which marks the boundary between the Gorner and Grenz glacier, that comes down between Monta Rosa and Lyskamm. The path may meander more here on the Grenz as there are more hazards on this glacier.

One continues on the Grenz for about another 45 mins until one is almost directly below the Hut, which is located high on a ridge above. The path then takes a rather steep and exposed series of switchbacks and steps up the ridge and then along the top of a moraine to a set metal stairs that lead to the hut. There are steps, ropes and cables on this section of the hike but they were in a poor but not a dangerous state when I was there last in the summer of 2001.

The usual time for the trip is 2.5 to 3 hours.

In winter you can also get to it from the Stockhorn. To get to the Stockhorn one can either climb up from the valley below or take the Railway to Gornergrat then the Cable Car to Hohalligrat and then the Cable car to Stockhorn or traverse the ridge all the way from Gornergrat. No matter how you get to Stockhorn you basically head E along the ridge for about 30 min until you meet the Stockhorn Pass just below the Nordend and then traverse the Gornerglacier down though the rocks along the left side down and along the Monte-Rosa-Glacierbreak and the rocks. You reach the edge of the glacier at about 3120m. You then go slightly up on the S-side and traverse the middle tongue of the Monte-Rosa-glacier to the Unteren Plattje and then hut (2-3h)

You can also make the long ascent over the whole of the Gorner Glacier starting from Furi. The whole trip is about 9 km from with the gain of 940m in height and will take around 4 hours from Furi. Standard glacier traversing gear is recommended ie rope, crampons, ice-axe and a party of at least two, as conditions vary along the length of the glacier and there is no marked path.

Another option is to head directly down from Gorergrat along the goat trail. This is a very steep switchback trail (100+ of them) that starts about 300m past the summit observation platform at the Hotel on Gorergrat.

The Gornergrat train and the cable cars are rather expensive at 60sf for a round trip from Zermatt to Gorergrat and about the same if not more for the cable cars. The Gornergrat Train station is just across the street from the main train station in Zermatt.

I myself like to walk in all the way from Zermatt it takes time but is a good acclimatization workout at 5-6 hours.

Getting to Zermatt

Zermatt (1616m) can be only be reached by a Private Railway from Visp/Brig though I suppose if one was very keen one could hike in. It is possible however, to go by car, or bus as far as Täsch where you can leave you car at the large lot and pick up the train from there. As it is a private railroad it does not accept most if not all rail passes such as the Eurorail and Swiss-rail passes so expect to pay extra for it.

If your are coming by train you will half to make you way to Brig which is the main city of the upper Wallis and the junction of the trains:

A. Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon-Domodossola
B. Furka-Oberalppass (Andermatt/Disentis, Glacierexpress (this one is expensive))
C. Brig-Visp-Zermatt
D. Lake Geneva-Milano

There are also, many busses to Brig as well:

A. Simplon-Gondo
B. Saastal
C. Blatten
D. Mund
E. Rosswald

To reach Visp/Brig by car:

A. From the West:
From Geneva (airport) take the A1 to Lausanne, then the A9 via Montreux, Martigny and Sion to Sierre. From Sierre take road no. 9 to Brig. At Visp, you turn right to the S to the Saaser valley. In Stalden, turn right and leave the Saaser valley to the left. You will now be in the Matter valley then go through St. Niklaus, Randa and then Täsch where you catch the train to Zermatt.

B. From the North:
From Bern take the A6 to Spiez, then the road to Kandersteg, at Kandersteg, you will have to drive your car onto a train and go by train through a tunnel; After the tunnel at Goppenstein, you continue the road to the S and reach the main road from Sierre. At the crossroad, you turn left (E) which will take you to Visp. From Visp, continue as for route A.

C. From the East:
From Bregenz take the A13 to Chur; get off at Reichenau and continue on road no. 19 to Brig/Visp via Flims - Sedrun - Andermatt - Gletsch – Fiesch and finally Visp. From Visp continue as described in A.

D. From the South:
You can either come in from Como on the A2 via Bellinzona to Airollo, then road no.2 till Hospental and from here to the left on road no. 19 to Brig/Visp or you can come from Arona till the end of the A26 and then take the E62 via Domodóssola to Brig. From Visp continue as describen in A.


Facilities

As alpine huts go it is quite comfortable but it is of course a dormitory setting with about 16 spaces per bunkroom all sleeping on foamies in common bunks, which are packed in rather tightly.

Each person gets his or her own small kit basket, which is a real help in keeping the place in some resemblance of order when it is crowded. Indoor and outdoor slippers are provided as well, so there is no excuse for being caught with you boots on while in the hut. I imagine the penalty for such an infraction is severe as the floors in the huts are in very good shape.

Bringing your crampons, ice axe or backpack into the hut is also severely frowned upon, especially when there is a good anti-room with cubbyholes where you can store your gear, boots and other kit.

There are 6 spaces in the WCs that sits directly in front of the hut as well there is as a rather crude shower and wash area. Actually it is a hollowed out log with water running through it, which was most likely a sheep trough before it was pressed into service as a washbasin. The water is fresh melt right off the glacier so I do not think it gets much use except by us Canadian Polar Bear types who are into this kind of thing.

Even though the water is melt coming off the glacier the locals claim it is unfit to drink so you are warned not to.

The hut serves three meals a day when it is staffed but breakfast and lunch usually only get made if there are people around beforehand so show up early for meal times. As for the food I never did try it but I imagine it would be simple but hardy as the kitchen was well equipped.

The one neat thing I really liked was the well stocked bar, quite the novelty for us NA types though I guess a prerequisite in Europe. The common rooms are nice with benches and tables and plenty of room and even a terrace of sorts on the sunny side of the Hut.

If you are expecting a good nights sleep before you climb in the morning you can forget it unless the hut is empty. Lights out is at 22:00 but from the reports I have read and people I have talked to there are the usual sounds of snoring and bumping about during the night that will wake all but the heaviest of sleepers.

Most climbers, and the guides if they are there, will get up at about 02:00 for a 03:00 start so if you will have a hard time catching a few hours sleep. After 03:00 the place is very quite until the staff gets up at 07:00 so you will get a break.

The staff when I was there were great and they will try to be as helpful as they can. They do make hot tea in the morning for climbers and if you ask they will pack you a lunch as well. As well they are normally quite knowledgeable about the present route conditions and I would heed their advice when given.

I was there to try a solo attempt on Dufourspitze and they warned me of the bad crevasse conditions on the lower part of the climb. As I had no partner and there were no other parties on the peak I heeded their advice and did not attempt it in the dark. Later that day I went up just to check out the lower part of the climb and found the crevasse field a horrid mess of weak and broken snow bridges and a tangle of crisscrossing paths. I most likely would of come to grief had I tried to go though it in the dark by myself.


Dates Open & Reservations

The hut is usually open and staffed from the second week in March till the first week of June.

It opens again at the end of June till the last week in September.

At all other times only the Ski hut is open with space for only 28 people and is usually unstaffed and on the honour system.

Reservations are not need but recommended during the peak summer and spring seasons. When you have no reservation check in right away with the staff as space is allocated on a first come first served basis.

Reservations can be made by email at monterosa.sac@bluewin.ch ,

When the hut is staffed you can call 41- 027- 967- 21 15

Or when it is unstaffed you can get the hut warden at 41-027-956- 31 50.

The mailing address is

Refuge Brant,
field 22,
CH-3924
St. Niklaus.

There is no need to be a member of the SAC or another UIAA club as everyone is welcome.

The present Hut warden is Refuge Brant (who I hear is an excellent chef and a well accomplished mountaineer) along with his wife Manuela. You might see his three kids milling about in the summer as well.

The offical web site is only in German but I have managed to put most of the info here on this page. Please consult that page for any official changes.

I have started a thred on the fourm for Huts you can ask you questions or put you comments about this and any other European hut there.

Peak Bagger Section





The Peaks that can be reached via normal routes originating from the hut are
On the Monta Rosa Massif itself there are the major peaks
1.Dufourspitze4634 m
2.Nordend4609
3.Zumsteinspitze4563
4.Signalkuppe4554
As well as its minor peaks:
5.Parrotspitze4436
6.Ludwigshöhe4341
7.Schwarzhorn (Corno Nero)4322
8.Balmenhorn4167
9.Vincent Piramide4215
Finally there are well established normal routes starting at the hut to the follwing mountains
1.Lyskamm4527
2.Castor4226
3.Pollux4092
The slopes of the Monta Rosa and the surrouding mountains are also very popular with alpine ski types so expect to find more of them about that actual climbers on some weekends.

History




Here is a quick chronology of the hut
YearEvent
1894-95The first log hut is built with space for 25 people. The cost is 3000sf and named Bétemps after its designer.
1918 The hut is expanded to hold 45.
1930The original timber construction is greatly reinforced with 50cm stone walls and a new interior making it much more habitable in winter.
1939 - 1940At a cost of 44900sf the hut is agin expanded this time to three floors and now has space for 86. After this expasion the hut is officaly renamed to the Monte Rosa Hut.
1972 - 1975 With the growing popularity of ski mountienering the over crowded hut is again expanded to hold an additional 30 people as well as providing space for ski equipment and other kit
1983 - 1984 At a cost of over 685,000sf the hut is again expanded to its present size of 150 spaces.

Prices

Prices are as follows
Dormitorywith BreakfastHalfBoardJust Accomidation
Non Members32sf58sf27.50sf
SAC & UIAA Members32sf50sf18.50sf
Children under 6 6sf

You can get a meal there as well as drinks but, as expected, they are expesive as everything must come in by helicopter.

They take Cash as well as Mastercard and VISA.

Additions and Corrections

[ Post an Addition or Correction ]
Viewing: 1-7 of 7    
JScolesUntitled Comment

JScoles

Hasn't voted

Yes this can happen and has happened to me when I have camped near huts. I have also had freinds forced to sit out in the rain while the meal was served since they did not pay for the meal. They were not even allowed to cook thier meal near the hut but had to go down the way a bit.





In all depends on the hut, in some they will cook your meal for you for a price or even allow ou to eat it indoors for a price.





Unfortunetly it does come down to the fact that they are there to make money and if you don't pay why should we help you.





This is a more recent trend with alot of climbers comming from far afield (Easter Europe mainly) who can't afford to stay in the huts but use the facilities none the less. I think the hut operators have every right to complain as they work very long hours for little pay. You might think that using the bathroom doesn't cost any money but at one hut I know of it costs about 500sf a week to clean up and fly the waste down to the vally floor, so people who do not pay really cost them money.





A sad fact for any of us who like to camp while out in the Alps.





Cheers
Posted Sep 11, 2003 7:23 am
Vid PogachnikUntitled Comment

Vid Pogachnik

Hasn't voted

On one hand we must understand the staff in huts, because they make living by selling hut services. On the other side, if I was in their skin, I would never behave like this.





I almost NEVER sleep in huts. It's not that I could not afford it, but for me sleeping outside is more pleasant and I like to be independent. But also I'm not staying close to huts. I allways wait till night falls and only then set up a tent and with dawn remove it. Once we were with children some 200m from one such hut and set up a tent too early. A guy came with a dog, saying it's a Nature park and that camping is prohibited. So we packed the tent, but stayed there. He suddenly didn't now what to say and of course we slept there over night. It was even more pleasant.
Posted Sep 13, 2003 1:50 am
DanielaUntitled Comment

Daniela

Hasn't voted

(I’ll use this one to answer also to Fred)





It’s definitely sad to conclude that you have a point!


“…if you don’t pay, why should we help you?” …and this is how the human mind works in our days in the so called “civilised” countrys (if one goes for example to the Refuge Nelter – Toubkal, Marocos, one has a totally different experience, even if you don’t pay to sleep there.)


My mind will never work like this (maybe that’s why I couldn’t understand/accept the answer given to me when I asked about the weather in the refuge “for you it’s good, you should go up today…”, this is playing with human life). I will always try to help those who need if I can, especially in the mountains, ESPECIALLY under adverse conditions (as it was happening) just because the mountains are sometimes very tricky environments and human life is too precious.


“If planning to camp in the vicinity of a hut, the proper etiquette for campers is to inquire at the hut as to where camping is permitted and what fees (if any) are involved for toilet use and whatever other amenities that you wish to use”, Fred, you are absolutely right about this and we didn’t do it…this reflects our inexperience (although I already have quite a lot of mountains in my legs, I’m only on Alpinism for 2 years) , next time I’ll do it.


About the costs involved in sanitation, of course I know they exist (and it was the only thing I used…today, I almost regret it!), still, that doesn’t justify the unkind answer given to me…she could’ve explained to me in a more polite way, and I would never mind to pay a fee if needed to use the toilets.


I want to leave it clear that the problem is not the money (I stay in tents or whenever I can I bivouac because I like it more), is the bad attitude…there are several ways to say the same thing, and the staff of the refuge for sure didn’t use the right one.


Stay well


:)





Posted Sep 15, 2003 11:01 am
DanielaUntitled Comment

Daniela

Hasn't voted

I use this way to report a very unpleasant situation that happened while staying near Mont Rose hut, between me and 2 other friends and the staff of the hut.


My friends and me decided to try the Mont Rose in the end of August, so we did the approach on the 28th of August. We settled our tent in a place about 100m far down from the refuge; in a place that we could recognize other tents were there before (there was a stone barrier already built to protect from the wind).


We went to the refuge to drink a Cola and check the weather report, and since it is ONLY in german, we decided to ask the girl working there at that time, what was the weather like for the next day. Not nicely, she informed us that there would be a storm on that night and the day after (and it happened!).


At about midday of the 29 August, we went once more to the refuge to check the weather report, to evaluate the possibilities of going up that evening. We were very well received by a Swiss guide staying there with a group, witch told us to return at about 20:00 to get a more precise information about it, since the weather was very unstable and at that time they would get some more radio information. And so we did. At about 20:30, in the bar of the refuge, we asked the girl working there (the same as the day before) if the weather would be good to try the summit on that evening, and we got pretty surprised with the answer “For you it will be fine, because if you don’t go up tonight, either you go away with your tent, or you pay the refuge. If you can use our toilets, drink our water and cook were, you can also pay for the refuge”. I tried to explain her that the water we were drinking was passing right next to the tent (24h raining were a good help not to look for water more than 5m far from the tent!), that we NEVER cooked there but inside the tent, and the toilets we used ONLY in our…”bigger needs”, just not to pollute the area around (it would be much more comfortable for us NOT to use the toilets, since to go there we had to walk a few minutes up and down in the middle of the storm!). Still, she didn’t tell us the weather conditions for that evening, saying loud all the time “For you it’s good, you should go up today or else you pay for the refuge. If you want to stay with your tent, you stay far up of the refuge”.


I wonder…where is the so-called kindness and willing to help the mountaineers who DON’T understand the german and decide NOT to sleep in the refuge??


Where is the mountain spirit????


Is asking for a translation of the weather report, such a big deal???


I truly hope that this is not the normal situation in the other refuges in Swiss; I was very badly impressed! This kind of attitude left us with the feeling that this refuge is only a money making machine, not concerning about the well being of persons in the mountain, except for those who PAY to sleep there.


Again, I had to thank to the Swiss guide staying there, witch after the reported happening, gave us the concrete information about the weather and some precious advises.





Daniela and…”The Portuguese of the yellow tent” (like some people of the refuge called us!)


Posted Sep 10, 2003 11:35 am
JScolesUntitled Comment

JScoles

Hasn't voted

Yes this can happen and has happened to me when I have camped near huts. I have also had freinds forced to sit out in the rain while the meal was served since they did not pay for the meal. They were not even allowed to cook thier meal near the hut but had to go down the way a bit.





In all depends on the hut, in some they will cook your meal for you for a price or even allow ou to eat it indoors for a price.





Unfortunetly it does come down to the fact that they are there to make money and if you don't pay why should we help you.





This is a more recent trend with alot of climbers comming from far afield (Easter Europe mainly) who can't afford to stay in the huts but use the facilities none the less. I think the hut operators have every right to complain as they work very long hours for little pay. You might think that using the bathroom doesn't cost any money but at one hut I know of it costs about 500sf a week to clean up and fly the waste down to the vally floor, so people who do not pay really cost them money.





A sad fact for any of us who like to camp while out in the Alps.





Cheers
Posted Sep 11, 2003 7:23 am
Vid PogachnikUntitled Comment

Vid Pogachnik

Hasn't voted

On one hand we must understand the staff in huts, because they make living by selling hut services. On the other side, if I was in their skin, I would never behave like this.





I almost NEVER sleep in huts. It's not that I could not afford it, but for me sleeping outside is more pleasant and I like to be independent. But also I'm not staying close to huts. I allways wait till night falls and only then set up a tent and with dawn remove it. Once we were with children some 200m from one such hut and set up a tent too early. A guy came with a dog, saying it's a Nature park and that camping is prohibited. So we packed the tent, but stayed there. He suddenly didn't now what to say and of course we slept there over night. It was even more pleasant.
Posted Sep 13, 2003 1:50 am
DanielaUntitled Comment

Daniela

Hasn't voted

(I’ll use this one to answer also to Fred)





It’s definitely sad to conclude that you have a point!


“…if you don’t pay, why should we help you?” …and this is how the human mind works in our days in the so called “civilised” countrys (if one goes for example to the Refuge Nelter – Toubkal, Marocos, one has a totally different experience, even if you don’t pay to sleep there.)


My mind will never work like this (maybe that’s why I couldn’t understand/accept the answer given to me when I asked about the weather in the refuge “for you it’s good, you should go up today…”, this is playing with human life). I will always try to help those who need if I can, especially in the mountains, ESPECIALLY under adverse conditions (as it was happening) just because the mountains are sometimes very tricky environments and human life is too precious.


“If planning to camp in the vicinity of a hut, the proper etiquette for campers is to inquire at the hut as to where camping is permitted and what fees (if any) are involved for toilet use and whatever other amenities that you wish to use”, Fred, you are absolutely right about this and we didn’t do it…this reflects our inexperience (although I already have quite a lot of mountains in my legs, I’m only on Alpinism for 2 years) , next time I’ll do it.


About the costs involved in sanitation, of course I know they exist (and it was the only thing I used…today, I almost regret it!), still, that doesn’t justify the unkind answer given to me…she could’ve explained to me in a more polite way, and I would never mind to pay a fee if needed to use the toilets.


I want to leave it clear that the problem is not the money (I stay in tents or whenever I can I bivouac because I like it more), is the bad attitude…there are several ways to say the same thing, and the staff of the refuge for sure didn’t use the right one.


Stay well


:)





Posted Sep 15, 2003 11:01 am

Viewing: 1-7 of 7    

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