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Erlanger Hütte offers climate protection to enjoy

"Sustainability" is a fancy catchphrase. Imbued with life, it can have far-reaching influences on the way we think and live. But what does it mean to manage a refuge hut at two and a half thousand meters above sea level in a sustainable manner, in a way that climate and nature-friendly? Erlanger Hütte in the northern Geigenkamm provides exemplary answers.

Erlanger Hütte

"It's really quite tough!"

First of all, managing a hut in Tirol's high mountains is one thing: very tedious. Christian Rimml, who has been tenant of the hut for many years, puts it succinctly: "It's really quite tough!" Undoubtedly not quite as tough as in the 1930s, when the Erlangen section of the German Alpine Club built the refuge hut of the same name.

Erlanger Hüttenwirt Christian

The working day has 17 hours

Christian Rimml, born in St. Leonhard in Pitztal in 1979, is a trained kitchen chef. In 2008 he voluntarily exchanged the demanding and strenuous work as sous-chef and later head chef in 4-star restaurants for the challenge of 17-hour days at Erlanger Hütte. Sustainable, resource-friendly and therefore climate-friendly management was a matter of course for Christian and his family even before these buzzwords were far from being the order of the day for the general public.

Electricity and drinking water from our own lake

Lake Wettersee directly next to the hut supplies electricity and drinking water — "I don't want a diesel generator," says Christian. "And everything we buy, from potatoes to meat, we produce on our own farm in Pitztal or buy it from local farmers." Supplies and fresh groceries are delivered by air. This concession to contemporary technical possibilities is logistically necessary, the strict Tirolean laws for helicopter flights allow so much comfort. At the start of the season in June alone, the helicopter flies to northern Geigenkamm up to 15 times, heavily laden. Mountaineers who have made the effort of a five-hour climb from Umhausen or Tumpen finally arrive at Erlanger Hütte with great hunger and thirst.

This is the taste of the mountains

The demanding cooking philosophy of the hut tenant has earned the hut a membership in the "This is the taste of the mountains" circle, to which around 120 Alpine Club huts belong. On the one hand, this seal of quality focuses on the high quality of regionally produced food. On the other hand, and above all, it is about emphasizing the fundamental value of alpine agriculture, which tends to be endangered.

Class instead of mass

Farming in the mountains is only possible on a very small scale and is therefore not particularly profitable. But without this type of agriculture, the natural and cultural space that locals and guests alike appreciate could not be preserved. Additionally, small farmers - usually family businesses - stand for high quality instead of mass production, short distances to consumers in chic Tirolean, toque-awarded restaurants as well as in rustic refuge huts in the high mountains - this is climate protection for true enjoyment.

Sölden Kulinarik

Working in and with nature

Already since 1996, Erlanger Hütte has had the Tirolean environmental seal "Working in close touch with nature", which has to be renewed every few years: the seal aims, among other things, at waste water treatment and the correct functioning of the fully biological sewage treatment system. This includes constant, quite cost-intensive structural adaptations of the sewage treatment system to the applicable sewage standards. The "Environmental Seal of Quality of the Alpine Clubs" that Erlanger Hütte has also carried for more than 20 years, places a focus on waste avoidance. For the Rimml family it means not offering butter and jam in portions at the breakfast buffet. "We make all the jams ourselves anyway and fill them in jars," explains Rimml. By the way, the bread is also homemade by Christian's wife Anita.

Erlanger hut
Erlanger Hütte

(Must) Not being online

Hiking and mountaineering is booming. The experienced hut tenant observes two trends: "Guests are becoming more and more demanding and want more luxury on the mountain. No WiFi or not being able to shower every day is a minor catastrophe for many." On the other hand: "More and more young people are drawn to the mountains. And interestingly, it's the young who don't need the luxury. One often thinks that they can no longer do without a mobile phone because they grew up with it. But in fact, they even love it and say: 'Sh... cell phone!' and are immediately happy when they don't have to be online for once."


Dream job: hut tenant

Even after almost a quarter of a century on the mountain, being a hut tenant is "still my dream job," Christian Rimml emphatically states. What is particularly annoying about hut life? Christian has to think for a moment and then says: "Self-catering people who simply leave their rubbish behind." Addendum: "But these are actually a few exceptions, most of our guests already know quite well how to behave on the mountain."



Scenic Erlanger Hütte at around 2550 m is a Category I Alpine Club hut in the northern Geigenkamm ridge amidst the Ötztal Alps. It has 48 sleeping places in the mattress dormitory and six in the unlocked winter room. The summer season lasts from around late June to mid-September.

Hut tenant Christian Rimml and his wife Anita take inquiries via phone 0043 664 3920268, bookings only by email: rimmlchristian@gmx.at

"This is how the mountains taste"

Around 120 Alpine Club huts bear the seal of approval.

Hiking route Erlanger Hütte
The hike, classified as difficult, leads from Umhausen over approx. 10 km and more than 1.500 meters in altitude to Erlanger Hütte. You can find a detailed route description HERE.

Environmental seal of approval from Alpine Clubs

If a hut is awarded the environmental seal of approval, the section - as the owner - is responsible for setting up an environmentally friendly supply and disposal infrastructure. The hut tenant is responsible for the best possible use and maintenance of all environmental facilities. The environmental quality seal is intended to make guests aware of the special commitment of Alpine Clubs and their partners to environmental protection.(more details)

Irene Heisz

Author: Irene Heisz

The journalist, author and presenter from Innsbruck loves the good life in the valley and the happy feeling of freedom high up in the mountains.