The Solvay Hut is a mountain refuge located on the northeastern ridge of the Matterhorn, near Zermatt in Switzerland. At an elevation of 4,003 meters (13,133 feet), it is the highest mountain hut owned by the Swiss Alpine Club, the largest mountaineering organization in Switzerland. The primary purpose of mountain huts is to provide food and shelter for mountaineers, climbers, and hikers, but the Solvay Hut can only be used in emergency situations. The small shelter is located about two-thirds of the way up the mountain, 743 meters above the Hörnli Hut and 475 meters below the summit. Many climbers of the Matterhorn have taken a break here, resting on the small ledge outside the hut and admiring the spectacular view of the Monte Rosa summits.
The Solvay Hut was built in August 1915. All the building materials were brought up to the Hörnli Hut at an elevation of 3260 meters by means of animals. From there, a small temporary cable car was used to transport the materials to the building site at 4000 meters. The hut was erected in just five days. In 1966, the hut was rebuilt, and in 1976, an emergency telephone was installed.
The hut is named after Belgian Ernest Solvay (1838-1922), who donated the well-known Hörnli Ridge Hut on the Matterhorn as a token of gratitude for the unforgettable hours he spent in the mountains. He also recognized that sudden thunderstorms could lead to tragedies. Before beginning his alpine career after retirement, Ernest Solvay was an inventor and businessman who invented the industrial process for sodium carbonate production, which became a worldwide undertaking.
Visitors to the Matterhorn who plan to trek up the mountain should be aware that the Solvay Hut is not intended for overnight stays and should only be used in case of emergency. The hut serves as a reminder of the harsh conditions and potential dangers of climbing the Matterhorn and the importance of being prepared for the unexpected.
It is important to note that the Matterhorn is a challenging mountain to climb and should only be attempted by experienced climbers with proper equipment and training. The hut serves as a reminder of the harsh conditions and potential dangers of climbing the Matterhorn, and the importance of being prepared for the unexpected.