It was in fact the latter’s desire to climb safely to the summit of Mont Blanc that got him thinking and finally convinced him that for the most important climb of his life he would ask his guides to build him a shelter close to the glacier. This little shanty enabled him to spend the night without freezing to death. The first hut baptized “a refuge” was named Grand Mulet.
Mountain huts, a necessity…
The ever-increasing development of the Chamonix Valley and of Saint-Gervais required a renovation of the principal infrastructure. Mountaineers had specific needs and demands. In order to partake in their sport they needed to be able to rely on certain facilities and so the Chamonix locals had to put funds up front to create huts, shelters and even hotels whose principal purpose was to feed and accommodate voyagers in high altitude zones. We can thank the French Alpine Club [Club Alpin Français] for the first mountain huts, created in 1874. These alpine philanthropists took on the task of building the huts and creating hiking tracks with the aim of both protecting the natural environment and encouraging tourism. Nowadays every serious hiker knows and appreciates these mountain huts that have gradually become comfy shelters where a unique atmosphere reigns.
The Mont-Blanc range’s 6 principle mountain huts.
“In the mountains as long as you can walk there is hope. Otherwise, you need to find a crevasse where you can take shelter until the heavy weather passes.” Roger Frison-Roche