The Seven Huts Along the Way to Seventh Heaven

Here they are, the insider’s tips, the beautiful huts for Alpinists and mountain hikers: Domhütte, Europahütte, Kinhütte, Rothornhütte, Schönbielhütte, Weisshornhütte, Täschhütte. They are off the beaten path taken by flocks of tourists, and one has the time and the luxury to enjoy the mountain panorama undisturbed. 

Almost all of these huts were built by SAC sections to give the Alpinists from the lowlands the possibility of an overnight stay closer to the mountain summit. Today, increasing numbers of day hikers and walkers, who trek from hut to hut, take advantage of the amenities and conveniences offered by these shelters. Whoever already has a few hours of mountain hiking in its legs is certainly thankful for some tea and good food. The hut wardens define the character of their huts; they represent the mountain world and are in the know about the weather and the conditions on the mountain along with much more. This text is a tribute to all of the hut wardens, hut helpers and mountain hikers, who work in the mountains and live for and enjoy them in their originality.   

Domhütte – The Modern Hut (2,940 m)

Domhütte Sommer

Next to the old stone hut built by the SAC Uto Zurich section in 1957, a new, more beautiful wooden building was constructed and the entire hut complex was remodeled to meet today’s requirements in 2012. In the summer of 2016, the hut wardens celebrate their 10th anniversary with offers such as barbeque days (31 July and 14 August 2016) and other festivities (see the list).

Seven four thousand-metre peaks can be reached from the Domhütte: Dom, Dürrenhorn, Hohberghorn, Lenzspitze, Nadelhorn, Stecknadelhorn, Täschhorn and Hohgwächte (3,740 m); in other words, the four thousand-metre summits of the Mischabel Group and the Nadelgrat. Therefore, mostly hard-boiled Alpinists are active here. The hut trail is also not for bored slowpokes; it is adventurous.

Hut wardens Renato and Kathleen Schaller, since 2007
Mountain guide and rescuer Renato takes guests to the surrounding summits as a mountain guide, and he is a trained mountain rescue specialist
Comforts Duvets, shower
Hiking time from Randa 4 ½ hours, 1,560 m
Tours Dom (highest mountain completely within Switzerland’s borders), Täschhorn and others, Hohgwächte (3,740 m) etc.
House specialties Homemade Rösti, 2016 summer jubilee hotdog with a drawing for a helicopter sightseeing flight
Dessert Tiramisu
Viewed from the hut Animals: ibex, eagles, bearded vultures, snow grouse
Flowers: Eritrichium nanum, Androsace, Artemisia glacialis, Saxifrage oppostifolia that grows up to the top of the Dom, 4,545 m, the Artemisia glacialis grows near the hut.
Mountains: Weisshorn, Dom, Matterhorn

Tour to the Domhütte

Domhütte Information

Europahütte – The International Hut (2,220 m)

Europahütte

This is the newest of the seven huts and was constructed in 1999. It stands on posts. Because guests come from around the world, it is locally known as “the International.” The hut is just under the tree line. The Europaweg runs through here. However, in 2010 the 250 m suspension bridge unfortunately had to be closed because of rockslides. For the time being, a detour must be made on the Europaweg which includes climbing and descending 500 m. In the near future, a new, 365 m long suspension bridge will be built in the same area so that the Europaweg can be used without a detour. Sponsors are being sought for the financing of what will certainly be the longest high-altitude suspension bridge. The hut is a paradise for hikers. Those climbing to the Domhütte can make a short stop at the Europahütte at the halfway point.

Hut wardens Katy and Marcel Brantschen
At the hut since 1999
Comfort Large, sunny terrace
Hiking time from Randa 2 ½ h
Tours Tour du Monte Rosa, Tour du Cervin
House specialties Raclette, lemon-balm syrup
Dessert Finndlands grandmother banana gugelhopf
Viewed from the hut Ibex often directly in front of the hut, Alpine rose, edelweiss, gentian.
Mountains: Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn, Mettelhorn

Tour to the Europahütte

Europahütte Information

Kinhütte – The Eagles Nest (2,584 m)

Kinhütte

The hut is sited like an eagles nest on a rocky crag in the middle of the four thousand-metre peaks of the Mischabel Group. The hut was built in 1903 so that Alpinists could have a place to stop for the night when climbing the Täschhorn (4,491 m). But the Täschhorn is a mountain for skilled climbers. This means that the major crowds of tourists are not there. One finds a sensational section during the climb to the Kinhütte – the most luxuriant edelweiss meadow far and wide is along the way. Many visitors to the hut repeat their climb time and again to say, “I have never seen so much edelweiss in my entire life.”

Hut wardens Peter Brantschen and Lisa Brantschen-Emmenegger-Biner in their second season and Stefan Hablützel (helper in his first season in 2016)
Hiking time from Randa via Tschuggen / Wildkin: 3 ½ h. From the Europaweg 1 h.
Tours Täschhorn, traverse Täschhorn-Dom
Location from Europaweg about 1 h
House specialties Swiss “rarebit”
Dessert Lisa’s semolina cake with fruit
Von der Hütte aus zu sehen Mountains: Weisshorn, Matterhorn, Breithorn
Animals, birds: eagles, mountain goats, ibex
Flowers: wild orchids, Lobelia erinus, paradise lily

Tour to the Kinhütte

Kinhütte Information

Rothornhütte – The Ladies Hut (3,198 m)

Rothornhütte

The climb to the Rothornhütte at the foot of the Zinalrothorn is considered difficult – it requires good condition and endurance. Here nostalgic guests arrive at a hut of the SAC section Oberaargau, which seems to be frozen in time: it was built in 1948 and has not been changed since then. This means that there are two pit latrines with an open view of the Wellenkuppe (3,903 m). The hut wardens have been women for the last ten years, which led to the nickname “The Ladies Hut.” Stefanie Zurniwen is the youngest hut warden in the region at 37 years old. 10 years ago, she took the hut over from her father, the Zermatt native Hans Zurniwen.

Hut wardens Stephanie Zurniwen with help from Julika Groten from Germany in the summer of 2016
Hiking time from Zermatt 4.40 h
Outstanding this hut is situated the second highest of all huts in the area of Zermatt (after the Hörnlihut on 3,260 m)
Tours Wellenkuppe, Zinalrothorn, Gabelhorn, Trifthorn, Schaligrat for the tour to the Weisshorn
House specialties Mountain guide Rösti with everything (ham, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, cheese)
Dessert Apricot cake
Drinks Wellenkuppe house coffee
Guests Alpinists, good mountain hikers
Viewed from the hut Animals: bearded vultures, ibex
Mountains: Monte Rosa massif, Liskamm, Castor & Pollux

Tour to the Rothornhütte

Rothornhütte Information

Schönbielhütte – The Original Hut (2,694 m)

Schönbielhütte

Already in 1875, the Stockjehütte stood near the current site. After an avalanche in 1909, the Schönbielhütte was built at a higher spot. The first person to climb the Matterhorn, Edward Whymper, was present for the dedication of the hut. It was modernised in 1955. This means that it is an original hut of the traditional kind today. It belongs to the SAC Monte Rosa section. Every two years in spring, a long row of thousands of ski touring skiers pass through here during the Patrouille des Glaciers. The next event is in 2018.

Hut wardens Fredy and Yolanda Biner-Perren
At the hut since 2007
Mountain guides Fredy Biner accompanies guests on tours, for example, Pointe de Zinal, Cabane de Bertol, Tête Blanche
Hiking time from Zermatt around 4 h
Suitable for families Families can also walk on the path to the hut
Tours Haute Route, Tour du Cervin, Pointe de Zinal, Dent Blanche
Location View of the Matterhorn north wall and Zmutt-Grat, Dent d‘Herens
House specialties various Rösti dishes
Dessert Meringues with whipped cream
Drinks Hot chamois’ milk, Schönbiel coffee, nightcap
Viewed from the hut Mountains: Matterhorn, Dent d’Herens
Flowers: Edelweiss, gentian, Alpine rock-jasmine, edging Lobelia, Gentiana purpurea
Birds: Bearded vultures, eagles
Animals: Ibex, marmot

Schwarzsee – Schönbielhütte Tour

Schönbielhütte Information

Täschhütte – The All-Weather Hut (2,701 m)

Täschhütte
© summitpost.org

The hut of the SAC section Uto Zürich can be visited even when the weather promises something other than boring sunshine. The hut path is secure and not exposed. Many experienced Alpinists meet here to overnight before they begin their big tour, along with hut hikers and day guests. The hut was built of undressed stone in 1945 as the last of the seven huts of the Uto section. It was updated and expanded in 2007-2008. The Uto section is the largest SAC section in Switzerland.

Hut warden Andre Lerjen
At the hut since 1992
Hiking time from Zermatt around 4 h, from Täsch 3.5 h, from Randa 4 h
Special The road from Täsch to Täschalp is open for cars and taxis
Suitable for families Families can also walk on the path to the hut
Tours the four thousand-metre Alphubel, Rimpfischhorn, Täschhorn
House specialties Cottage Rösti
Drinks Täschhitta coffee
Viewed from the hut Mountains: Weisshorn, Monte Rosa, Alphubel
Flowers: Edelweiss
Animals: chamois, ibex
Birds: eagles

Tour to the Täschhütte

Täschhütte Information

Weisshornhütte – The Specialist Hut (2,932 m)

Weisshornhütte

There is a jubilee to be celebrated in the hut: hut warden Luzius Kuster is spending his 50th season in the hut in 2016. It really was supposed to be just one summer for him to spend up there – which have become 50 in the meantime. The Weisshornhütte is called The Specialist, because there is only one mountain to climb from here, the Weisshorn (4,505 m). There were celebrations marking the 150 Years First Ascent of the Weisshorn by the Englishman John Tyndall in 2013. The hut forms a throne on a rocky outcrop. It belongs to the SAC section Basel and was built in 1900. Renovations were carried out in 1975. There is a current effort to renovate the hut, according to the Basel-native and hut warden Luzius Kuster from Randa. As is the case at many huts, water is in short supply: “If I have to, I melt snow,” sais Kuster. In early years, he also climbed the dominating hut mountain, the Weisshorn.

Hut warden Luzius Kuster
Hut team daughters Katharina and Andrea often help out
At the hut since 1967
Hiking time from Randa 4 to 4,5 h
Guests Alpinists with their mountain guides, some day guests
Tour Weisshorn
Viewed from the hut Mountains: Weisshorn southeast wall, Monte Rosa, Dom, Täschhorn
Animals: chamois, ibex near the hut
Birds: eagles

Tour to the Weisshornhütte

The longest serving hut warden in Switzerland (article and video in German)


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