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The Becherhaus,
the highest refuge in South Tyrol

Find out everything you need to know about the Becherhaus –
popular hiking destination with Ridnaun as starting point – in this article

The Becherhaus: from Ridnaun, a really rewarding hiking destination and at the same time an institution in South Tyrol. The refuge is located on the south side of the Stubai Alps at 3,195 m above sea level - where the air gets thinner and the sky is almost within reach. It is not for nothing that the Becherhaus, which seems to stand on the roof of the world, is also called "Cloud Castle” because it grants a truly breathtaking and unique panorama.
The History

History of the Becherhaus

The Becherhaus mountain hut was built in 1894 by the DÖAV, the German and Austrian Alpine Club, on the peak of the same name, "the Becher", a pre-peak of the Wilder Freiger (3,418m). For this, 25 tons of material were brought from Ridnaun/Maiern to the summit. Among the key figures during the construction phase were the Ridnaun innkeeper Stefan Haller, who organised the material transports, and the Pflerscher master carpenter Johann Kelderer, who planned the mountain hut. After a construction period from March to August, the hut was finally opened under the name "Kaiserin-Elisabeth-Schutzhaus". In the same year, the listed chapel "Maria im Schnee" was also built and can still be visited today. South Tyrol's highest refuge "perches" in the Stubai Alps, near the state border with Austria, at 3,195 m above sea level and is nestled in a dreamlike world of glaciers. Only a few animals still live up here and plants also have a hard time finding their habitat there. Nevertheless, the Becherhaus refuge, which can only be reached on foot or by helicopter, offers running water, hot meals (depending on the weather from around the end of June to September) and cosy sleeping accommodation for up to 100 people.
The naming

The mountain hut in the Ridnauntal Valley

Originally, the Becherhaus near Ridnaun had a different name, which had already been decided by the Hanover Section before construction began in January 1893. In order to thank the Prussian-Bohemian sections for their support, today's Becherhaus was named "Kaiserin-Elisabeth-Schutzhaus". The opening finally took place as planned on 18 August, on the birthday of Emperor Franz Joseph. A few years later, after the hut was expropriated by the Italian state, it was given the name Becherhaus because it was built up piece by piece and after arduous work on the summit of the Becher, on the edge of the Übertalferner.
Tour description

Climbing up to the Becherhaus

How do you get to the Becherhaus today? You can start the ascent from many directions. On the Austrian side, the Becherhaus mountain hut can be reached from the Ötztal and Stubaital valleys. On the South Tyrolean side from the Passeier Valley or from Ridnaun. The starting point of the summit tour is from the head of the Ridnauntal valley.

From there, you first take hiking trail no. 9 to the Aglsalm and the Grohmann refuge. The trail then leads to the Teplitzer refuge and on over boulders and rocky outcrops to a small glacier tongue that has to be crossed. At the foot of the Becher rock there is a secure path that leads up serpentines to the Becherhaus refuge.
After about 7 hours of walking and 1,725 metres of altitude difference later, you have reached your destination. Mountaineering experience, surefootedness and appropriate equipment are essential! The way back is via the ascent path.
Facts and figures
about the Becherhaus hike
Tour category: Mountain hut trekking
Mountain group: Stubai Alps
Region: Ridnaun, Ridnauntal Valley, Ratschings
Walking time: 6-7 hours
Height difference: 1,725
Total trail length: 23.2 km
Starting point: Car park in the Ridnauntal Valley, below the Mining Museum, at 1440 m
Difficulty: Difficult mountain paths with repeated short passages secured by wire ropes
Equipment: In early summer, crampons and perhaps even an ice axe are recommended
Directions: A13/A22 Brenner motorway - exit Sterzing. There, at the first roundabout, turn left into the Ridnauntal valley, until the end of the valley shortly after the last village of Maiern to the parking spaces at the former mine.
Mountain hut: Modern washrooms with hot water, no shower. Separate toilet facilities, as well as clean and well-maintained rooms and camps for up to 100 people. Hot meals in the parlour (from late June to September). Partly good mobile phone reception, cash and card payments available. Hut sleeping bags required. Reservation and telephone enquiry necessary in advance.

If you want to climb the highest refuge in South Tyrol from the southern side of the Stubai Alps, the 4*S Wellnesshotel Plunhof in Ridnaun/Ratschings is the ideal starting point. The Becherhaus trekking tour starts not far from the hotel, at the head of the Ridnauntal Valley - so you save yourself a long journey to the starting point and can set off almost from the front door with good equipment and enough snacks in your backpack!

Our recommendation

The refuge, which was reopened on 16 August 2021 after about a year of renovation work, is not only a popular postcard motif, but also an amazing building. Particularly beautiful, however, are the visit to the "Maria im Schnee" chapel, which is attached directly to the refuge, and the sight of the 80-kilo marble relief with Empress Sissi's head, which the Empress never got to see, however, as she was assassinated a few days before her planned visit to Geneva.
The Becherhaus is also the ideal starting point for other mountain tours: for example, to the Wilder Freiger, the Sonklarspitze, the Botzer, the Wilder Pfaff, the Zuckerhütl and the Schwarzwandspitze.
The principle of all things is water.
Water is the principle of things. All things are from water and all things are resolved into water. (Thales of Miletus)
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