effects of climate change
SAC huts are endangered by the melting of the glaciers
The Mutthorn hut in the Bernese Oberland remains empty throughout the summer. The reason for this is the threat of rockfalls because the glaciers are melting. Other SAC huts are also struggling with the consequences of climate change.
The Mutthorn hut in front of the Kanderfirn. It remains closed all summer.
Many SAC huts are threatened with extinction in the coming decades. The glaciers in the Alps are melting faster and faster. Keyword permafrost: With their disappearance, they are increasingly destabilizing the rocky surface of the mountain landscape. According to a recent report by SRF, many shelters are at risk from rockfalls.
The Mutthornhütte in the Bernese Oberland does not receive any guests for the whole summer. The reason for this is the moving rock masses on which the accommodation is built. The viewing terrace with a view of the Kanderfirn threatens to slide off. The masonry already shows large cracks.
Climate change is causing problems for SAC huts
“It’s a model case. Because it is the first time in the history of the SAC that a hut has to be abandoned because of climate-related rock movements,” said geologist Hans Rudolf Keusen to SRF. That’s why the Mutthornhütte is now regularly measured.
Of the 153 SAC shelters in the Swiss Alps, some are likely to suffer a similar fate over the next few years. With the “Huts 2050” project, the Alpine Club is now trying to discuss which huts will be exposed to an increased risk in the future and what measures need to be taken.
It is already clear that in addition to the Mutthornhhütte, three other SAC accommodations in Valais will have to be moved or closed. The Rothornhütte, the Cabane de Bertol and the Refuge de Bouquentins are also in acute danger.
The fate of many other SAC huts remains unclear. Not only is there a risk of more rockfalls, but also the water supply for the accommodation is becoming increasingly difficult due to climate change. Blick reported this back in July.
No glaciers for a new audience
In the case of the Mutthornhütte, the only thing left is a new building on stable ground fifty meters away. This costs around 4 million Swiss francs. The problem is that the big attraction – the Kanderfirn – will soon be gone.
Neither the SAC nor Mutthorn boss Roger Herrmann want to give up. Once the glacier is gone, the hut becomes more accessible. “This enables a completely different audience to visit the hut,” says Herrmann.