By Ben Bowers
on 11.30.11
Photo by LEAP

The living ecological alpine pod, or LEAP, wears its heart right on its name tag and provides all of the benefits of traditional mountain shelters — think trekking basecamps, not lavish homes — but with a significantly smaller environmental footprint. Much of the LEAP’s “green” gains are derived from construction technologies for building planes and ships. Each LEAP is comprised of up to five modular living units, plus a biological toilet. The entrance unit’s thermally isolated inner door, storage/drying rack, and rescue equipment hangar is optimized for the risks of high-alpine conditions. In terms of creature comforts, the refined living interior is fully customizable and includes a pantry, interior lighting, an electric induction cooker, adjustable bunks and optional panoramic windows. On the technology side, each LEAP can be outfitted with a variety of self-sufficient core systems to automatically diagnose structural issues, monitor weather conditions, maintain emergency communication channels and collect power via photovoltaic films on the exterior.

Once the appropriate prefabricated modules are selected, the entire shelter is assembled off-site and then flown to its desired mountain location via helicopter. In the event changes must be made to the basecamp, modules can be added with minimal crew support later on. At the end of the LEAP’s useful lifespan, removing the structure is just as easy and leaves no lasting marks on the surrounding environment. While total cost hasn’t been disclosed, the company has stated that these shelters will be “highly competitive with the traditional solutions.” We take that to mean expensive, but on par with what a horde of sherpas with engineering degrees and hammers might go for.

Check out more photos of the LEAP’s interior for your browsing pleasure after the break.

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