Sure, you could do the annual Stamford Scout Pack reunion hike again this Summer (ho hum), or you could stretch your legs a bit and trek up to this space-age hiking pod precariously perched atop a cliff in the mountains of Italy's Mont Blanc region. Totally your call, just throwin' it out there.
Yep, that's it, waaaay up there. Built in 2011 to replace an old wooden hiking hut from 1948, the boldly colored Bivouac Gervasutti sits 9,301ft above sea level in the middle of glacier Fréboudze.
How'd they get it up there? Helicopter, of course. After constructing it in the Val Ferret Valley below, the 323sqft, 1,980lb structure was flown in piece by piece and reassembled at the top.
That said, there's no helicopter for you; no, you're gonna need to be a pretty adept mountaineer if you want to spend the night. There's a poorly marked trail to go up, and some say rappelling's the easiest way down.
But when you arrive at this “living ecological alpine pod”, you can walk right in -- the door's open. Just don't forget to slip on a pair of the (provided) house shoes and drop a check in the mail when you get home. The folks at the Club Alpino Italiano run the pod, and payment ($14 a night, $7 if you’re a member) works on the honor system.
Now settle in and make yourself comfortable. It's like an Ikea cafeteria with a view.
Perhaps familiarize yourself with the floor plan? The bivouac sleeps 12 in two sleeping quarters, and boasts living and dining areas, a kitchen, Wi-Fi, a computer for sending "Guess where I am!" emails, and a hot plate for warming your cocoa.
The aforementioned sleeping quarters. Those bags look hi-tech and toasty.
Named after the famous Italian mountain climber Giusto Gervasutti, the bivouac is entirely solar powered, and it's built to withstand both avalanches and everyday high-altitude wear and tear.