Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Hut Above the Clouds on the Matterhorn (16 Pics)

The Solvay Hut is the highest hut on the Matterhorn at 4,003 meters (13,133 ft). Situated on a ledge immediately above the Moseley Slab on the Hörnligrat, it’s a small emergency refuge that can accommodate about 10 people. It is strictly to be used in the event of an emergency but many climbers briefly stop there as a resting/check point and photo opportunity. Peering out from the ledge provides dramatic views of the surrounding Monte Rosa summits. The Solvay Hut is about two thirds up the mountain, 743 m (2,437 ft) above the Hörnli Hut and 475 m (1,558 ft) below the summit. 

The hut was built in August of 1915. All of the building material was brought up to the Hörnli Hut (at 3,260 m | 10,696 ft) by help of animals. From there a small temporary cable car was used to transport the material up to the building site of Solvay. The original hut only took five days to erect but was rebuilt in 1966. In 1976 an emergency telephone was installed. 

Hailing from Belgium, Ernest Solvay (1838-1922) invented the industrial process for sodium carbonate production. He devoted most of his life to his business and it was not until after retirement that his alpine career began. He often visited the Walliser and the Bündner Alpen, the Dolomites and the Mont Blanc region.
His companions were the guides Alois Supersaxo from Saas Fee and Martin Schocher from Pontresina. As a gratitude for the unforgettable hours in the mountains, and from the realization that occasionally sudden thunder storms were leading to tragedies, he donated the well-known hut on the Hörnli Ridge on the Matterhorn. 

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