The air gets thinner, the places more remote; the distances seem greater and the route becomes more technically demanding. When you’re hiking above the 9,500-foot (3000-meter) mark, you experience amazing freedom. Up at those heights, though, it’s a thrill that doesn’t come without its fair share of risks. Do you have enough endurance? Are your skills appropriately fine-tuned? Will the weather hold up its end of the bargain? Do you have the right equipment? If the answer to any of these questions suddenly becomes a negative one while you are on the mountain, you’ll be glad to find an emergency shelter in which you can surrender for a while.
That’s what bivouacs are for. They’re built for protection and recovery, and to help bridge those moments when conditions become particularly harsh — and the nights particularly long. And in the case you’re forced to bivouac, it is always advisable to think of a little extra equipment: Even though most shelters offer the everything that’s necessary, extra food rations, and some additional supplies will prove to be a huge plus when times get tough. Today, bivouacs are often also planned for use during fixed stops along the way, especially when Tours are too long to stick to a fixed itinerary, or for climbers to get an early start on the walls. And admittedly, with the fantastic views and the wild-romantic solitude at these heights, staying in one overnight is certainly not without its charm.
Small bivouac just before the Cima Ombretta Orientale. From here you go for about an hour to the summit. Ideal for taking off the backpacks, watching the sunset on the summit and then sleeping at 2730m. Theoretically there is room for 9 people, but it is already very crowded with 6 people. Although there are a few blankets available, it is still advisable to bring your own thick sleeping bags. When there is no more snow, the last source of water is far below the bivouac.
This cool tin box is on the Wiener Höhenweg (highly recommended because it is not as overcrowded as other Höhenweg), only 30 minutes below the Böse Weibl. At 2,926 meters above sea level, it can happen that you don't sleep so well, especially if you are not used to the altitude. But the small mattress dorm has space for eight people and no matter whether you sleep or rest, the fabulous view up here will wake you up again the next morning.
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This is a downright luxury bivouac box, especially because of its size. With up to 20 beds it is definitely one of the exceptions, the high alpine boxes. The box at 3,132 m above sea level is also one of the lesser ones that wants to be paid but the 3 euros, you have easy in the bag, considering what a fantastic view you get for it. Watch sunrise or sunset on the Aosta Valley. The sunrise and sunset over the Aosatal are simply breathtaking. The bivouac even includes a small kitchenette and a table with two benches. But as so often at these heights, there is no water here.
This typical half tin with tin cladding is located in the Monte Rosa area at 2,630 m above sea level. The associated summit is the 3320 meter high Corno Bianco, which is committed from the bivouac to the north-east. The view is - as with almost all bivouacs - an absolute dream, as well as the surrounding peaks.
The view of the great peaks of the Dent du Géant, the Grandes Jorasses and the Signal Hill is unbeatable. For this reason alone, an overnight stay at 3,198 m above sea level is recommended. The bivouac is mainly used as a base for the ascent of the Gravola. And here you can really enjoy it. Practically, as mountaineers are, slate tables and bench were built here. The evening sun warms your heart once more before the cold night approaches.
If you like it very spartan, you can quench your thirst for adventure in the emergency bivouac. It is located on the high alpine Mainzer Höhenweg, directly on the Wassertalkogel at 3,247 meters. The view of the Wildspitze and the Ötztal Alps is incomparable.
The bivouac is unlocked, there are nine camp sites with sufficient blankets. Gas cookers are available, gas cartridges (C206 type no 06F93) must be brought with you.
The bivouac box at 2667m is located on the right above the glacier. From inside this cool bivouac looks like a caravan - a close caravan but really comfortable. There are 12 beds. When the middle beds are opened they form a perfect bench with backrest. Typical cooking equipment and a table in the middle is also available. The view of the Grand Combin is incomparable.
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The Ai Mascabroni bivouac is located at 2932 m on Elferkofel in the Sextener Dolomites. An absolutely beautiful place for a bivouac. The view of the Three Peaks is just one highlight of many, but certainly the best known. The bivouac is always well equipped. Cookers, canned food, water, blankets, etc. The ascent to this bivouac is certainly not the easiest and thus this dream of a tin box is withheld from the very experienced alpinists.
The YELLOW bivouac is located on the eastern eastern shoulder Cime Bianche and is securely anchored with steel cables in the stony ground. Unfortunately, I was there a long time ago, but I know that the box was probably painted yellow in 2008. There are 9 people in the bivouac. In the middle is as usually a table and bench placed. Even the most important emergency care such as pots, plate bowls, camping stoves and even certain medications can be found here. The wonderful view over the valley and the Cime Bianche, the Tournalin, the Roisettaz and the valley d'Ayas is great. The bivouac is located at 2,800 meters above sea level, near the south face of Gobba di Rollin. Chamois and ibex are also frequent guests here. The presence of people does not really bother them.
Gran Paradiso - as beautiful as it sounds. The Bivacco Ivrea lies in the middle of this region on a magnificent plateau at 2770 m above sea level. Since the tin house is yellow, you can discover it quite well in the distance. One is rather used to the red or silver bivouac boxes. With sleeping places for 9 people it is sometimes tight, but warm on cold nights. The next two peaks are the Col del Gran Paradiso (3345m) and the Colle dei Becchi (2990m).
The Gruberscharten bivouac is located at 3100 m and can be reached from the valley via a more than 6-hour ascent from Ferleiten. From the Oberwalderhütte and Schwarzenberghütte in about 2 hours.
The Glocknergruppe offers many fantastic tours in breathtaking heights and there are these high-alpine focal point for emergencies, as everywhere, very important. If the bivouac is also often fixed in a tour, one should not forget that it was built to save lives.
The closest peaks are the Großer Bärenkopf, the Hohe Dock and the Klockerin, which can each be reached in about one hour from the bivouac.