Building a Tiny A-frame Cabin on Top of the Alps

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Think building a cabin on a mountaintop in the Alps is easy? Think again. Our friends at Trendir first found this wooden A-frame cabin built high atop a mountain in the Alps and we think it’s an awesome project. Located in the Julian Alps (which run from Northern Italy to Slovenia), the cabin is perched at 2,531 meters high (over 8,300 feet high). The cabin was built by the family of mountain guide and climber, Luke Vuerich, who died in an avalanche in 2010 at only 34 years old. A shelter for mountaineers and hikers that sleeps 9, it is also a loving tribute to a man who loved his mountains. The structure rests on concrete piers and is built of local spruce. The house was designed and the pieces built on the ground, numbered for easier assembly, and transported to the mountaintop by helicopter. It took 18 trips to deliver all of the materials, including a cement mixer (see photos below). A dozen friends of Luke joined with the team of workers and technicians to make this cabin a reality, in memory of their friend. It gives the structure a spiritual meaning, as well as the physical: a place for hikers and climbers to find a little respite before continuing on their journey. What a joy it must be to come upon this house while out in the elements and understand that it is yours to use.

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The cabin is an oasis for those who find it – a place to rest and relax among the mountain tops.

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The structure was designed to withstand the harsh winters and in a minimal footprint, provide maximum shelter.

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The roof of the cabin is built to facilitate water/snow run off and the A-frame mimics the shape of the mountain peaks surrounding it.

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The cabin is on a well known and well used hiking path – where those in need of a short rest will stumble upon it easily.

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Despite being easy to find, this cabin manages to blend almost seamlessly with its surroundings.

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The house is made of 30 panels and three trusses – the six concrete pillars were built on top of the mountain.

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Once all of the building materials were atop the mountain, the construction began and only took one day. The finishes were all done on the second day.

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The cabin has become a rest stop for mountaineers in both the summer and the winter, and the memory of Luke has been kept alive in their use of the place. Luke’s likeness is etched on the door – as if he himself is welcoming the weary traveler. Buddhist Wind Horse prayer flags were attached to the gables at completion (see 1st photo) – the wind moving through the colored squares of fabric is said to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom.

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There are two rooms with four bunks each, plus one more bunk (below), high in the gable. Sleeping 9 means that often more than one group can be accommodated at the same time — there is a hall that separates the two bunk rooms. There are no cooking facilities and no toilets – this is meant as a short stop to get some shut eye, then move on and leave it for others to find and use.

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The house was designed and built on the ground and the pieces were numbered and then air-lifted to the top of the mountain. All of the major tools and even a cement mixer (left) had to be airlifted as well.

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All in all, the helicopter made 18 trips with supplies to the building site.

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The roof and walls are supported by three heavy trusses.

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Luke’s friends and family came together to help construct the cabin (along with the workers and architects). It was a labor or love for a dozen who were close to him.

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What a wonderful way to pay tribute to someone who loved to hike and climb the Alps – a mountaintop cabin to aid others in times of need. And it was no easy feat as you can see. But because of their vision and dedication,the memory of Luke Vuerich will live forever in the world he loved.

More information: Giovanni-Pesamosca


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