Pushing the boundaries of what’s architecturally possible, that’s what the new ‘Refuge du Gouter’ is all about. This out of this world climbers hut (now, that’s an understatement) is perched up high on the Gouter ridge at 3835m (that’s about 12.582 feet) and is one of the most popular huts in the Mont Blanc mountain range (France). It officially sleeps up to 117 people but is frequently overbooked and it is not uncommon to see people sleeping on the floor or camping outside (which is, of course, forbidden).
Currently the ‘Refuge du Gouter’ is completely being refurbished and massively extended into a contemporary and eco-efficient accommodation which, to our opinion, looks very futuristic. Goal of the new ‘Refuge du Gouter’ is to accommodate climbers/adventurers in a comfortable way and to be as eco-friendly as possible. Windows are triple glazed and the main building material and form of insulation comes from local wood from sustainable sources. Amazing detail: St Gervais schoolchildren have been involved in the harvesting of the timber as part of an environmental project. All energy is provided by solar panels and wind turbines (with the exception of propane gas used for cooking) and biomass energy is being generated by the incineration of rapeseed oil and wood pellets. Water used for cooking and washing is redirected into the toilets where it is reused for flushing while toilets operate partially on a suction system that only requires 1.2 litres of water per flush, as opposed to the usual 5-6 litres. All water is treated and filtered before being disposed of. The ‘Refuge du Gouter’ mountain hut (again, it’s muuuch more than a hut) is one of the most popular starting points for climbers attempting to summit the illustrious Mont Blanc. The new ‘Refuge du Gouter’ should be able to accommodate about 120 persons. Opening is planned for June 2013. refugedugouter.ffcam.fr