Teetering a thousand feet above jagged rock faces in the Alps, this is the world’s scariest hotel.
The white and red metal tube is designed to hold up to 12 weary climbers crossing the deadly Mont Blanc mountain range in Italy.
It includes wooden bunk beds, a kitchen, dining room, storage racks and a living room with stunning views over the Fribouze Glacier.
Climbing experts believe the hut could save the lives of stranded climbers if they are caught in blizzards and lost in the dark.
The solar-powered refuge replaced a shabby wooden hut that was built in 1948. Some climbers say the new ‘garish’ structure is not in keeping with the surroundings but local authorities wanted something that was easy to spot.
Engineers from Italian designers Leap Factory made the 250,000 euro structure, which was commissioned by the Italian Alpine Club. It was finished earlier this year and opened for the first time at the end of Spring.
Helicopters had to make several flights from the nearest village in Courmayeur, Val Ferret, to airlift different parts of the hostel into place.
Builders then fastened it securely to the rock face using heavy-duty bolts. The 100sq/ft shelter is 3,000m above sea level and half of it hangs over a terrifying drop.
It is perched on the Grandes Jorasses mountain, while the other side of the range are the Petites Jorasses and Aiguille de Leschaux. The hotel includes internet connection to give real time information on weather conditions. Reservations have to be made online and it is expected to could cost around 30 euros a night to stay there.
‘The refuge is a great achievement,’ words said by the designers. ‘The materials used are of a high standard and they are capable of handling the extreme temperatures. ‘We wanted a modern futuristic look and that’s exactly how it’s turned out. The previous wooden hut just wasn’t up to scratch.
‘There were some difficulties faced in building the new refuge, given the altitude and the position in the midst of a glacier, but we got that in the end.
‘Another issue was finding a way to get ride of waste from the toilet and kitchen but there’s a inbuilt “digester system” that solved the problem.’
The refuge is named after the great Italian mountaineer Guisto Gervasutti and looks out over the same mountain range he was the first to conquer – the east face of the Grandes Jorasses – which he scaled in 1942.
The climb was the hardest in the Western Alps at the time and was not equalled in the Mont Blanc Range until the Sixties.
The British Mountaineering Council said reaching the hut is particularly perilous. ‘The approach to the hut, passes the site of the old Friboudze Bivouac (2,363m), a tiny wooden shelter built in 1925. ‘It was dismantled some years ago and now resides in a museum.
‘After conquering the Grandes Jorasses, Gervasutti died four years later attempting the first ascent of a prominent rock pillar on Mont Blanc du Tacul that now bears his name.
‘This approach is not achieved without danger, and appears to become more dangerous with passing years. ‘As long ago as 1992 Alexis Long, a brilliant French alpinist… died after being hit by a single stone when serac collapsed as he was walking up the path to the hut.’