The very normal and yet different everyday life
Hut wardens Stefan and Rebecca talk about life at the Konkordiahütte
Since Swiss television's "Hüttengeschichten" regularly flickers across the screens, the everyday life of hut wardens has become familiar to a wider audience. Yet life in a mountain hut remains somewhat unique. What it's like to run a hut with over 150 sleeping places is what hut wardens Rebecca and Stefan tell us. For two years now, they have been running the Konkordiahütte, which is perched high on a rock above the Aletsch Glacier. Before that, they were already working as hut assistants at the same hut. "When our predecessors left and we were asked to take over the hut, we knew we wanted to seize the opportunity - who knows when we would get another chance like this."
However, the start then turned out to be difficult. "We had been operating the hut for just five days in the spring of 2020 when the lockdown was announced and we had to close from one day to the next." The following period was marked by a great deal of uncertainty. "We didn't know how and whether things would continue. When we were able to open in the summer, we had absolutely no expectations." What followed was something neither of them could have imagined. "The last two summers were absolutely record years. Because of the limited travel possibilities, many Swiss people were drawn to the mountains. It was absolutely unbelievable how many guests came to visit us.
When asked if there is a clearly defined division of labour at the hut, they both smile: "On paper there is no such thing. But we are a well-coordinated team and our division of tasks has simply come about over time." Stefan is the technical expert, while Rebecca keeps the kitchen team on their toes. Both emphasise, however, that the cooperation of all staff members is crucial. "Without a well-coordinated team, you can't run a hut like this. We've really grown into a family here." This also helps get over the fact that sometimes you don't see your loved ones for weeks at a time. "It's a bit like class camp. There's so much going on that we don't even have time to get homesick." This community is also cultivated every day at the communal breakfast. "As soon as the guests have left the cabins - at 7.30 a.m. at the latest - we sit down together, plan the day and exchange one or two funny stories."
The Konkordiahütte is a modernly equipped SAC hut where there is even Wi-Fi. But of course, the standard cannot be compared with a hotel in the valley. The water has to be used very sparingly. "Particularly in summer, with the glacier hiking guests, people come to us who in some cases have never been to a hut like this before. Sometimes they ask where the shower is or why the toilet doesn't flush," Stefan says with a smile. "But most guests are positively surprised and it is an absolute highlight for them to be here. It is nice and enriching to share this - for many unique - experience with the guests," adds Rebecca. "Of course, it is the mountain guides who come to us the most." In the summer of 2021, the record for a mountain guide was 18 overnight stays.
There are hardly any days off at the Konkordiahütte: "We never actually have any time off. But this is also due to the fact that we are always tackling new projects. There is always something for us to optimise and so we also have work to do when, for once, there are no guests."
This shows how passionate Stefan and Rebecca are about their work as hut wardens. A visit to the Konkordia Hut is absolutely worthwhile, not only because of the beautiful view or the unique natural landscape but especially because of the hospitality and the delicious food.