Overview

The Riedji (pronounced 'read-ee') is a private mountain retreat in the Valais region of southern Switzer­land. It consists of six ancient huts scattered across a saddle at an altitude of 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) above sea level. A traditional summer farm (alp) where villagers from the valley below have harvested grain, grazed cattle and collected wood for centuries, the Riedji is typical for the mountainous regions of Switzer­­land and Austria. However, this particular alp is unusually well preserved - thanks to the fact that it is dramatic­ally situated above a 200 meter vertical cliff and can only be reached by foot, after a hike of almost two hours. The way the six huts are scattered across a meadow on top of the cliff, surrounded by some of the highest peaks of the Alps makes for an inspiring ensemble between historic man-made structures and spectacular mountain scenery.
The Riedji is situated 600 meters above the village of St. Niklaus in the Swiss Valais (Wallis) region. It lies at the center of the Matter valley - with approxi­mately 30 km (20 miles) to Zermatt and the Matter­horn in the southern direction and 20 km to the Rhône valley further north. With more than two dozen 4,000 m tall mountains in the vicinity, this is the highest section of the Alps. Given the imposing peaks on both sides, the Matter valley forms the deepest valley in Europe. Not surprisingly, St. Niklaus was home to important pioneers of mountaineering - and now houses the Swiss mountain guide museum (Bergführer Museum). Many well known skiing resorts are nearby, such as Zermatt, Saas Fee, Riederalp and Crans Montana. The Aletsch glacier - Europe's largest and listed as a UNESCO world biosphere - is visible in the distance.

Satellite view of the Riedji

The objective of the Riedji project is to preserve the integrity of this unique place and to use it for three complementary activities: as a private mountain retreat, as a site for management seminars (e.g. teambuilding, coaching) and for selected non-profit activities. Currently, only two of the huts are inhabitable and a third is partly usable. This permits to house 5-7 guests. Current plans call for a careful renovation of some of the other buildings in order to extend the capacity to 10-15 people. Besides living quarters and sanitary facilities, a small library is to be added. The infrastructure reflects the specific nature of the place (e.g. solar electricity, fixed wireless telephone) and modern elements are to be carefully inserted into the historic fabric to preserve the authenticity of the Riedji.