As Covid-19 restrictions in many parts of the world are relaxed, and travel between different countries becomes easier, an increasing number of mountain-based facilities and services are fully operational. These includes mountain huts, many of which were closed for most of the past two years or running a reduced services.
LOCATION OF THE HUTS
Members of UIAA member associations (see directory here) are entitled to use approximately 1,200 mountain huts offering accommodation for up to 70,000 people in the entire alpine region – from Slovenia to Spain.
EUMA, the European Union of Mountaineering Associations, offers an excellent resource detailing a huge number of mountain huts across Europe. To date huts in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland have been plotted.
Please note not that only the huts of DAV (Germany), OeAV (Austria), FFCAM (France), CAI (Italy), FEDME (Spain), SAC (Switzerland), AVS (Italy), PZS (Slovenia), LAV (Liechtenstein), Academic Alpine Clubs in Switzerland (Basel, Bern, Zurich, Geneva) and FAT (Switzerland) are covered by the agreement.
Those eligible to benefit from reciprocity are offered the same overnight rates as members of the hut-owning associations. In some huts, these special conditions are up to 50 per cent of the regular rate.
Use of the huts is government by the International Reciprocity Agreement on Mountain Huts (also available in French, German, Italian and Spanish).
The agreement is based on all members of the associations applying the same discounted rates for use of the huts, according to each national rule.
HOW TO ACCESS HUTS WITH YOUR RECIPROCITY STAMPS
Common questions for individuals wanting to receive member benefit discounts:
Who can benefit from these discounts?
Individual mountaineers of a federation belonging to the UIAA benefit from this agreement and should contact their national federation in order to purchase Reciprocity Stamps. These stamps are valid during one calendar year and offer discounts when staying in huts around Europe and Canada. Click here for more information about International Reciprocity Agreement on Mountain Huts
Where can I buy Reciprocity Stamps?
Your local member federations. UIAA member federations can buy stamps from the Reciprocal Agreement Secretariat, currently managed by the Swiss Alpine Club. The stamps are delivered to the associations upon receipt of payment.
My federation has no stamps, how do they purchase them?
Member federations of the UIAA may purchase Reciprocity Stamps from the SAC. The stamps cost 50 euros each and are valid for one year.
My federation still has stamps from the past year, are these still valid?
No, however, unused stamps may be exchanged for stamps valid the following year. Your federation needs to contact the SAC to validate the exchange.
What are the proceeds of stamp sales spent on?
Stamp sales are refunded to the founding and hut-owning clubs for maintaining or renovating the huts. This ensures that they continue to meet the needs of the guests and the requirements authorities. In essence, your contribution goes directly back into the huts and improving the experience of all future hut visitors.
May I also get discounts when visiting Canadian huts?
Yes, discount benefits also apply to the largest network of back country huts in North America thanks to the support of the Alpine Club of Canada. UIAA members are able to use the huts at ACC member rates without a supplemental annual upgrade hut fee. Please click here for more information on how to book a backcountry hut managed by the Alpine Club of Canada. A full catalogue of the mountain huts operated by The Alpine Club of Canada can be found here.
The founding associations, other hut-owning associations and non-hut-owning associations participate in the International Reciprocal Agreement on Mountain Huts.
The founding associations: DAV (Germany), OeAV (Austria), FFCAM (France), CAI (Italy), FEDME (Spain) and SAC (Switzerland)
Hut-owning associations: AVS (Italy), PZS (Slovenia), LAV (Liechtenstein), Academic Alpine Clubs in Switzerland (Basel, Bern, Zurich, Geneva), FAT (Switzerland)
Non hut-owning associations: CAB (Belgium) GAL (Luxemburg), NKBV (Netherlands).
North America: ACC (Canada)
For further details please visit the Mountain Hut Exchange area of the UIAA website.
Main photo credit: SAC/Franziska Gwerder