Today’s outdoor enthusiasts have it so damn easy. Lost? Set the homing beacon on your watch. Want a fireside beer but can’t add the weight to your pack? No matter, it comes in a powder now. Cold? Zip up that Blizzard-Proof Jacket (alright, that one was patented in the ’30’s, but is enjoying a presumably higher-tech revival today).
Back in the day, though, those looking for a hike had a lot less on their side when they went to face Ma Nature. They could be in for days of laborious hiking for what might take us just a few hours. It could get cold, dark and dangerous quickly.
The outdoorsman of yore, faced with rudimentary gear and a lack of access roads, needed to be innovative. It wasn’t all tennis-racket shoes though. Some of those early inventions have proved indispensable (Swiss army knives), or in the case of this little Alpine shelter in Triglav National Park in Slovenia, even visionary.
Built in 1936 by Skala club members, the original version of this cabin gave climbers basic shelter and comfort and allowed them more freedom to explore. Since it was set in a national park with extreme weather, the building criteria were doubly restrictive, but that didn’t phase engineer Karlo Korenini, who designed the original version.
The catch? To build the bell-shaped cabin, the original climbers and their friends transported more than a ton of wood on their backs and built the cabins on the spot. Hold on, I gotta pop a couple Advil. The cabin serviced the area for 80 years before falling into disrepair, and eventually inspiring the modern-day replica (pictured).
The new design, which can accomodate six adults, was updated with wind- and weather-proof materials and details that required over 600 hours of volunteer work to bring to fruition. The original was airlifted off-site to avoid further deterioration, and was donated to the Slovenian Mountaineering Museum.
Photos: Anze Cokl