• View up to the Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein

    How Does the Hut Get On the Mountain?

    Have you ever wondered how a hut gets on the mountain? Is it like the ancient pyramids? Do hundreds of people have to carry wood, stone, and mattresses up the slopes? Spoiler alert: no. At least not nowadays, although we still don’t envy the digger driver.

    Refuge With a View

    You’ve been walking for hours, the ascent is getting steeper and steeper, it’s a stony path, and your backpack is slowly getting heavy. You are 2,700 metres above sea level on the Dachstein when a storm approaches. Fortunately you know that there are shelters in the Alps, one of them being the Seethalerhütte

    After you have fought your way through snow and ice for the last few metres and reached the hut, you wonder who you can thank for this place. In summer its tenant awaits you with tea and anecdotes about the hut, but in winter the freely accessible shelter is your salvation. Either way, the huts do not belong to their hosts.

    Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein

    Alpine Associations and Clubs

    Maintenance and Management of the Huts

    It is the Alpine associations and clubs that take care of the maintenance and management of the huts in the Alps. There are around 600 huts at important connection points in the mountains that stretch across eight countries: France, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia.

    Amongst them are the Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein and the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte on the Großglockner. At 3,454 metres, the latter is the highest hut in the Eastern Alps. That is almost 3.5 kilometres higher than your last walk on the beach. 

    Sleeping quarters at Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein

    (Un)Useful Information for Your Next Trip to the Mountains

    We promised you (un)useful information, so you shall have it. Nights in the shelter can be long, after all, and you won’t fail to impress with these facts and figures.

    For the replacement of the Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein at an altitude of 2,740 metres, a helicopter loaded with building materials, rolled up mattresses, and wood flew from the valley to the mountain around 1,000 times

    Richard Goldeband, hut representative of the Austrian Alpine Association, was there three years ago during construction: "The first hut was built on unstable ground in 1929, which is why we decided to replace the Seethalerhütte. It took us two summer seasons to complete."

    •                     Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein - construction 2016/2017
    •                     Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein - construction 2016/2017
    •                     Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein - construction 2016/2017

    Huts in the Alps

    The first hut was actually built with the help of pack animals and strong men, who carried all of the required material up the mountain. But this was more of a "cheap shack", as Goldeband describes it. "And because it would have been swallowed by the mountain sooner or later, the hut was replaced."

    The Alpine Association has decided not to build any additional huts at other locations in the Alps. "The Alps are well covered and that is why we only renew existing shelters when necessary", says Goldeband. 

    The first Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte was also built on unstable ground in 1879: "Permafrost moves like a glacier, only slower. This can cause the hut to sink and leaves cracks in the brickwork", explains Christian Zinkl, president of the Austrian Alpine Club.

    •                     Dachstein Mountains

      Hiking in the Dachstein Mountains

      The mountain range is located in the Northern Limestone Alps and thus in three Austrian provinces.
      More high-altitude hikes
    •                     Grossglockner Mountain / near Heiligenblut / Carinthia

      High up on the Großglockner

      The Großglockner belongs to the Glockner Group and is Austria’s highest mountain at 3,798 metres.
      More hiking highlights

    In contrast to the Seethalerhütte, the Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte was not replaced, but secured, so that it can no longer move. The extensions (the last one in 2016) are built on solid rock.

    The Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte is located in the middle of the protected Hohe Tauern National Park, which is why the materials could not be flown there. "The building materials and furnishing elements were transported to the hut via material ropeway", Zinkl tells us.

    According to Zinkl, the hut is very well visited: "The hut is particularly popular as a base, because the ascent to the summit of the Großglockner only takes 1.5 to 2 hours from here." 

    Quiz: How does the hut get on the mountain?

    •                 Seethalerhuette-am-Dachstein-Bau-2016-2017_Alpenverein-Austria_Richard-Goldeband-Huettenreferent-vom-Alpenverein-Austria-.jpeg

      How did the excavator for the construction of the Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein get to an altitude of 2740 metres?

    •                 Seethalerhuette-am-Dachstein-Bau-2016-2017_Alpenverein-Austria_Richard-Goldeband-Huettenreferent-vom-Alpenverein-Austria-.jpeg

      How many kilograms could a large helicopter transport per flight during the construction of the Seeethaler hut?

    •                 Seethalerhuette-am-Dachstein-Bau-2016-2017_Alpenverein-Austria_Richard-Goldeband-Huettenreferent-vom-Alpenverein-Austria-.jpeg

      How much water is transported to the Erzherzog Johann Hut per open day in summer?

    • Results

      out of 3 questions were answered correctly.

    Workplace With a View

    "Climbing the career ladder" has a totally different meaning for the tenants of the huts, as they must meet a wide range of requirements.

    Tenants in the high-alpine area run, cook, and serve; they take on manual and technical tasks when something needs repairing. Some such as Toni Riepler, tenant of the Seethalerhütte, are also mountain guides and rescuers

    "At the beginning of the season, our tenant Wilfried Schrempf is supplied with ten to twelve helicopter loads of food. The hut then offers a menu like in the valley, albeit somewhat reduced."

    Richard Goldeband, technical hut representative
    Richard Goldeband, hut representative

    Electricity and Water Supply in the Huts

    Photovoltaic systems on the roof supply the Seethalerhütte and Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte with electricity. The energy is used immediately and excess is stored in batteries.

    "Should there be no sun for 14 days, there is also a rapeseed oil generator for emergency power", Goldeband explains.

    The two huts differ when it comes to water supply. Both huts get their fresh water via the material ropeway, but the dirty water is transported away from the Seethalerhütte by the nearby Dachstein-Südwandbahn and fed into the sewage plant in the valley.

    Seethalerhütte am Dachstein - photovoltaic system

    Own Sewage Plant

    The Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte, on the other hand, has had its own sewage plant since 2017, which cleans the wastewater that can then seep away on the mountain. Solid substances are collected and removed by helicopter.

    And if something doesn’t work, the two tenants Toni Riepler (Erzherzog-Johann-Hütte) and Wilfried Schrempf (Seethalerhütte) fix it themselves.

    With this knowledge, you are certain to impress on your next hike. And with this in mind, we wish you good weather on the mountain and inquisitive companions! 

    Interior of the Seethalerhütte on the Dachstein
    •                 Mountain lake on Giggler Spitze