The Alberico Borgna mountain hut crashed this week from an altitude of 12,057 ft (3,675m) down the south-west side of the Italian side of the Mont-Blanc massif. The hut was located right on the French-Italian border between Tour Ronde and Mont Maudit. The hut could be reached in about 2.5 hours from Punta Helbronner at 3,466m, which is serviced by a rotating scenic cable car from Courmayeur in the Italian Aosta Valley.
The hut, known as ‘Bivouac de la Fourche’ in French was built in 1985 and replaced the original hut that was built in 1935. The Italian name of the hut derives from the two alpinists Corrado Alberico and Luigi Borgna from Turin, Italy, who had been hit by an avalanche under the Col de la Brenva in August 1932. The hut used to sleep up to 15 hikers and provided blankets, mattresses, a radio, and a webcam.
The area is popular with expert hikers. The territory is very advanced and has been dangerous to climb in the last few decades as it is prone to rockfall and rock slides due to melting glacial ice.
French glaciologist and mountain guide Ludovic Ravanel points the finger at the current heatwave and melting of permafrost as the cause of the rockslide.
Luckily no one was in the hut or climbing at the time, so no one was injured. The hut however has been reduced to rubble.
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