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A mountain hut (also known as alpine hut, mountain shelter, and mountain hostel) is a building located in the mountains intended to provide food and shelter to mountaineers, climbers and hikers. Mountain huts are usually operated by an Alpine Club or some organisation dedicated to hiking or mountain recreation.
Mountain huts can provide a range of services, starting with shelter and simple sleeping berths. Some, particularly in remote areas, are not staffed, but others have staff which prepare meals and drinks and can provide other services, including provide lectures or sell clothing and small items. Mountain huts usually allow anybody to access their facilities, although some require reservations.
The long history of mountaineering in the Alps has led to a large number of Alpine club huts as well as private huts along the mountaineering paths. These huts are categorised according to their location and facilities. They may have beds or a mattress room (Matratzenlager) for overnight stays. They may also offer discounts for members of the various Alpine clubs.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland the tradition is of unwardened "climbing huts" providing fairly rudimentary accommodation (but superior to that of a bothy) close to a climbing ground; the huts are usually conversions (e.g. of former quarrymen's cottages, or of disused mine buildings), and are not open to passers-by except in emergency. Many climbing clubs in the UK have such huts in Snowdonia or in the Lake District. A well-known example is the 'Charles Inglis Clark Memorial Hut' (the 'CIC Hut') under the northern crags of Ben Nevis in Scotland - this is a purpose-built hut, high up the mountain.
In the Czech Republic and Slovakia there is a dense net of mountain huts ("chata") in most mountain and forest regions. Unlike the situation in past when they were administrated by an official union of tourists now they do not have one owner and they are mostly in private hands. Official mountain huts are in reality pension-style institutions run by their own full-time administrator. In former Czechoslovakia during the communist regime mountain huts played also a role of centers of alternative social and cultural life. Hiking and Czech tramping in that time represented communities of autonomous life-style which was not under a control of the State.
The Norwegian Trekking Association operates about 460 cabins mostly in the mountains and in forested areas, of which about 400 have lodgins., Many cabins are unstaffed and open all year, while the staffed cabins often are just open during summer.
In Poland mountains shelters and huts are run by PTTK - Polish Tourist Society. Most of them offer only common sleeping rooms and refreshments; no organised catering is available. Polish mountain huts are obliged by their own regulations to overnight each person who is not able to find any other place before sunset, though the conditions may be tough (e.g. a mattress in hall or warm basement). The hut shall provide each tourist or hiker with free boiling water for hot drinks.
There are also many huts in the United States, spread on both the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. Huts such as the High Huts of the White Mountains are "full service" (cooks serve food) throughout June to mid-September, and are open for the rest of the year as a "self service" (self serve food) hut. There are also many mountain huts throughout mountainous areas in Maine.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation "manages a network of over 950 huts of all shapes and sizes." 
Morskie Oko shelter in Poland
Refuge de la Selle in the French Alps
Samotnia, mountain hut in Karkonosze, Poland
Refuge de la Charpoua in the French Alps
Greenleaf Hut in the White Mountains of the U.S.
Wallace's Hut, Bogong High Plains
Federation Hut, Mount Feathertop
Fitzgerald Hut, Bogong High Plains, Victoria, Australia