Hardy micro-cabin provides shelter high in the Slovenian mountains

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Bivak II na Jezerih can provide temporary shelter for up to six climbers(Credit: Anže Čokl)

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Some 2,118 m (6,948 ft) high up in the Triglav National Park in Slovenia's Julian Alps, an aging wooden mountain shelter built in 1936 was recently decommissioned. Its replacement replicates its predecessor's bell-shaped design, but also adds some much-needed modern upgrades, including a tough aluminum shell and solar power.

The alpine shelter is called Bivak II na Jezerih (or Bivouac II on the Lakes), and comprises a total floorspace of 9.15 sq m (98 sq ft). Weight comes in at roughly 1,300 kg (2,866 lb), which was a concern as it was air-lifted into location via helicopter, piloted by the Slovenian Armed Forces.

The shelter is required to withstand extreme temperatures, heavy snow loads, and wind speeds of 200 km/h (124 mph). In addition, owing to its remote location, it was necessary to ensure it was as maintenance-free as possible.

Its frame is made from welded steel and anchored in place with concrete. Timber and Rockwool insulation provide protection from the cold, and it's clad in aluminum sheeting.

The interior of the shelter is simple, though looks very welcoming. There's space for up to six climbers to use it comfortably, while available furniture includes a folding table, a bench, and a sleeping area. There's no toilet or running water though, so if nature calls, occupants simply make use of the mountainside.

A few basic emergency supplies are installed in the shelter, including a first aid kit, a lighter, matches, and some other equipment like basic tools to repair crampons, etc.

A small 20 W solar panel is also affixed to the exterior, which in turn is hooked-up to a regulator and two usb ports to provide power for mobile devices. A shovel is stored underneath the shelter outside, in case the entrance gets covered in snow when climbers first arrive.

The shelter was designed by architect Darko Bernik, who very closely followed the original wooden shelter's design by Karel Korenini. He also had help from Anže Čokl, members of the local alpine club AO Jesenice, and others to install it. Some 600 hours of volunteer labor went into the project, and the old shelter was donated to a local mountaineering museum.

Source: Anže Čokl (in Slovenian)

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