Christoph
on
changing
access
at
Konkordia
Hut

Outside, incessant winds howl across the glacier. The conditions at the Konkordiaplatz can be unforgiving, but inside the Konkordia Hut, the guests laugh and play cards in the warmth. Friendly faces ring around Christoph Sager; a well respected, humble man. Intrigued by the long history of the hut, we chat about him managing the hut over a beer—a welcome reward after a long day's climb.

House on the Aletsch Glacier for Together for glaciers.
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Together for Glaciers: Changes at the Konkordia Hut

With the glacier melting, access to the hut has become more difficult over time. How do you manage the infrastructure of the hut to ensure people will continue to enjoy it?


Profile of Christoph Sager.
Christoph SagerHut Keeper

The first Konkordia Hut was built 50 meters above the glacier in 1877, but now towers around 200 meters above Konkordiaplatz. The SAC Section Grindelwald work tirelessly to keep the hut accessible - transitioning from ladders to steel staircases in the 1970’s - with many difficulties. This summer, they had to move the entire staircase due to rockfalls and vertical rock faces. However, if the glacier’s thickness continues to shrink by an average of one meter per year, it’s likely the location will have to be abandoned.

"In
1877,
you
left
the
ice
and
were
at
the
hut.
Now
it
takes
467
steps."

You lived in the hut for a few years with your family, can you tell us about your daily life there and what looking after a hut entails?


Profile of Christoph Sager.
Christoph SagerHut Keeper

We lived at the Konkordia Hut for a total of nine years. From school age onwards, there was one teacher for each of our three children in the team and two to three hut helpers. With 155 beds, there was a big balancing act between empty and full because of changes in access during different seasons. Therefore, improvisation and flexibility were a must, and exactly what we really liked about the challenge. The range of tasks as a hut warden is almost limitless. These range from managing a large household, to technical challenges in all kinds of areas, including medical action.

How does it feel to witness the changes to the glacier personally?


Profile of Christoph Sager.
Christoph SagerHut Keeper

As the Konkordia hut warden, I have seen the changes very clearly. The retreat of the glacier and securing the ascent to the hut are challenges that spice up my everyday life. Glaciers are beautiful and fascinating to watch, it’s like time unfolding in front of you. I have already found fossilized shells in steep cliffs that are thousands or millions of years old—a genuine piece of the Earth’s historical timeline. All of this continues to fill me with admiration and awe at the glacier. 

Christoph Sager looks out of the window at the mountains.