The old Monte Rosa Cabin no longer exists


The old Monte Rosa cabin of the SAC was blown up by the Swiss army on the 14th July 2011. A moving chapter of SAC mountain cabin history now belongs to the past.

Since September 2009, the New Monte Rosa Cabin has stood on the Monte Rosa Massif like a crystal in a world of rock, and has attracted alpinists from around the world though its design and its self-sufficiency with regard to energy.

The building permit for the new cabin was only issued under the proviso that the old SAC cabin should disappear from the alpine world. This has now taken place. Using a ton of explosives, the Swiss army put an end to the history of the building that goes more than 100 years. The old Monte Rosa Cabin now only exists in the memory – and in the memories of the thousands of alpinists who made the old Monte Rosa Cabin into the most-visited SAC cabin in the Alps.

The world changes

The Walliser Bote (WB), the NZZ and Radio DRS published obituaries for the old cabin. In its report, the WB quoted Peter Planche from the SAC Monte Rosa Section: “The cabin collapsed with a single “bang”. All that remains is a heap of stones. A piece of alpinist history has come to an end. But times change – what else can you do?” The NZZ concentrated on the history of the building. For example, it could be read in the issue of the 13th of July that “from the former Bétemps Cabin with 20 beds...” The Monte Rosa cabin itself was constructed in 1940 after one of the many conversions. Located on a rocky island where two glaciers flowed together, with an unobstructed view of the prominent East Face of the Matterhorn, the Monte Rosa Cabin soon became one of the favourite locations for mountaineers, according to the NZZ. The accommodation, which could be reached from the Gornergrat by a hike over the Gorner Glacier lasting several hours, was expanded to 160 beds in various stages. “A record was reached in 1982 with more than 10,000 overnight stays“, writes the NZZ. But the lack of places to eat – only 70 places available – and the shortage of sanitary installations eventually made it necessary to consider building a new cabin.

Book tip
“Monte Rosa – Queen of the Alps”, by Daniel Anker and Marco Volken, AS-Verlag.

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