Anchored to the side of a mountain ridge way up at 10,000 feet, the Luca Pasqualetti shelter is one heck of a room with a view. It’s perched on the Morion Ridge, a nook of the Italian Alps near the Valpelline Valley in northwest Italy. The bivouac is named after Luca Pasqualetti, a mountaineer who perished near where the structure was built. His parents worked with local designers to establish this shelter in its eye-popping location as a memorial to their lost son.
The area is incredibly remote and building something permanent on the site would have been impossible. So the Pasqualetti shelter was designed as a prefab structure. It’s a relatively simple construction: big pitched roof made of lightweight, composite materials over four sturdy wall sections stood up with wood and steel. Everything can be broken down quickly into four parts, easing transport.
Oh, yeah, the transport. Because of the pitched angle the bivouac lies on, and the difficult route to access the spot, transporting the shelter on foot was clearly out of the question. So it was lowered into place by helicopter.
The shelter is designed for minimal impact on the mountainside. It’s constructed with recyclable, eco-friendly materials. It’s anchored into the rock so there’s no foundation below the structure or much else that will leave a permanent scar on the mountain when the shelter is finally taken down at the end of its life. It can be quickly pulled part, and flown back down to the valley below as if it was never there.
Eight climbers can sleep comfortably in the hut. There’s a stately dining room table, eight chairs, two large shared sleeping platforms, plenty of storage, a small space for preparing food, and one massive east-facing window that lets sunlight in for heat, but mostly it’s there to gawk at the truly stunning views of Becca di Luseney, Monte Rosa, and the Matterhorn looming in the distance. Just imagine that sharp roofline coming into view as you pick your way over the exposed rock. Home sweet home.
The hut was built in the summer of 2017, and just recently assembled at altitude for use in September of 2018. It’s unclear how long the shelter will remain there. But, well, what are you waiting for?