An alpine hut, also known as a climbing hut, is a type of shelter found in mountains, which provides lodging and other amenities to both climbers and mountaineers. A hut can take several forms, from a simple shelter left unlocked to a actual cabin offering hot meals and warm beds. In cold areas, a hut may also offer visitors a fireplace, cooking facilities, and even utensils.
The size of a climbing hut depends greatly on the area where it is located. A hut found in a busy backpacking area can be large enough to hold over a dozen people. In more remote areas, the cabin can be designed for a single traveler or a couple. In the United Kingdom, the best known type of alpine hut is the bothy. These buildings are some of the most basic constructions around, normally consisting of a bare room designed to provide nothing more than watertight shelter. Sometimes a fireplace is in the cabin, especially high in the mountain, where nights can get cold. An alpine hut tends to be more well-developed than a bothy.
They are run by the Alpine Club, a renowned mountaineer association. During high season, an alpine hut usually counts with some personnel to offer hot meals and sleeping berths. During low season, some huts may close, while others are left open but limit access to sleeping areas only.
There are some unwritten rules that all climbers agree to when using a hut. First and foremost is the agreement to keeping the hut in the best possible condition: no stealing or destroying anything in the property, and leaving the place as clean as possible upon departure. If the shelter has firewood, fuel, or other goods available, visitors should replace what they use. For example, some huts may have a ready-to-use supply of food or first aid elements. Climbers are expected not to touch this unless they are faced with an emergency. This is considered a primary wilderness law, as other visitors may require these supplies to stay alive during a disaster. It is also considered good manners to leave something extra behind. This can be something as simple as a box of matches or non-perishable food items. Besides being a way of helping future visitors, it is also a way of thanking the wilderness for the shelter offered.