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Alpine Cosmology Workshop 2021


Welcome to the Alpine Cosmology Workshop website. Tervetuloa, grüß Gott!

This is an annual workshop organized since 2009. The conference is supported by the University of Helsinki, and Planetarium Südtirol/Alto Adige.

The concept of the workshop is to combine a scientific part, in which each participant delivers a review on their topic with a group well-being activity in which every participant is engaged. To this end we have selected to conduct the workshop at several huts located in the Alps, connected by hiking trails. Each day has approximately 6 hours of the workshop and 6 hours of hiking, during which the participants usually continue the discussion of the scientific topics and establish new collaborations. These unique attributes of the conference allow participants to concentrate entirely on the subject of the conference, which includes:

  • Theoretical and observational cosmology
  • Physics of galaxy clusters
  • Coevolution of galaxies and black holes
  • Environmental effects in galaxy formation
  • Gravitational waves
SOC:    A. Finoguenov, V. Faraoni, J. Comparat, J. Richard, W. Hellwing, N. Kaiser, J.-P. Kneib, J. Niemeyer, I. Mandel, C. Romero, T. Sawala, K. Enqvist,  E. Komatsu
LOC:    A. Finoguenov, M. Bianconi, D. Steinhauser, J. Chitham, V. Faraoni

Instructions regarding preparation are summarized on this page, as well as insurance coverage and risks associated with any such outdoor activity. For logistical reasons,  the participation at the conference is limited to 20 people.

The registration deadline has been pushed to June 20 2021. 

We advise a timely pre-registration to ensure your spot at the workshop. Email alexis dot finoguenov at helsinki dot fi

The dates of the 2021 workshop are to be determined. ACW20 was cancelled due to travel restrictions which affected most participants. 

The 2020 route is located in  Austria and features 

  • a moderately difficult main route with a weather-secure access to each hut and escape possibility on each day 
  • optional hikes on certain days with return to the same hut
  • The route is similar to the one on this picture:

The meeting starts on August 31 (2020) in  Baerenbad, Austria. 

We recommend coming by  public transportation, as we will leave from a different valley. You can plan your trip using this tool. Suggested airports are Munich, Viena, Innsbruck and use either rail (here is additional rail site) or flixbus

Participants arriving earlier should arrange for their own accommodation.  During Aug 31-Sep 5 (2020) the accommodation is reserved by the LOC. 






  • 7am breakfast. 
  • 4.5h hike (can be made shorter by using a taxi in the valley) to Warnsdorfer
  • lunch at the hut
  • talks
  • dinner at the hut


We will provide a proper map on site.

Last minute changes dictated by the weather are often required. Typically, all the talks will be given, but not all the hikes can be done. We hike both as a group or by a few mini-groups (with 3 people or more), with control over the participants. Please note that the level of difficulty of travel is dictated by the abilities of the group. The organizers may have to restrain overenthusiastic participants if group safety becomes an issue.  

Alternatives include

  • Adjustment of hiking route based on the LOC evaluation of individual's experience. 
  • Cancel any part of the hike due to inclement weather. 
  • Use of the multiple access and escape points. 
  • Alpine rescue is covered by the provided insurance. Currently, there is an obligatory personal liability cost, which is introduced to preclude people from abusing the system (no free helicopter rides anymore - 700 Euro personal cost).

Practical details:

  • Huts provide both accommodation (only own sleeping sheet is required by the huts), showers (bring your own light-weight towel, soap and shampoo) and full meals including vegetarian option. We will order both the sleeping sheets and light-weight towels for interested participants as a part of the registration fee. Sleeping sheet weights 100g and has 7cmx15cm in size:
  • Backpack shall be 10% of your body weight. 50l backpack (with rain-proof cover) shall be enough. We can store your extra travel stuff in the cars. Here is an image of a 35l trekking backpack.
  • Water will be refilled at each hut (watch the signs - not every tap serves drinkable water). Bring a light water container like this:
  • You can line-dry (and eventually wash) your clothes.
  • Bring your talk on the USB key. LOC will carry a laptop and a projector. If you prefer to use chalk, we will find a rock for you.
  • Hiking shoes, breathable clothes. Nylon T-shirt and a rainproof softshell is a minimal functional combination.
    Here is how hiking shoes should approximately look like:
    Shoe, Hiking Shoes, Hiking
    You need to have them in order to participate. This is strictly enforced for your own safety and comfort as well as the image of the group. The latter is important to get access to certain hikes from the rescue men (hut owners), who will first examine our boots before letting us go. The shoes should cover your ankle. We can provide advice on how to select them. 
  • Hiking poles (these help saving your knees)
  • flip-flops to walk inside the hut
  • sunglasses, sun protection, hat
  • hiking pants - long or at least covering the knees - some rain-proof protection is a great bonus.
  • personal medicine. If you like to hike alone - bring your own first aid kit. 
  • earplugs (for the night)
  • prepare for zero temperatures (Celsius or 30s F)  and snow on the route - in addition to the softshell take fleece, warm hat, gloves
  • plastic bandage for you feet, some people put it prior to hiking. And on the hike: if it hurts - stop and put it on.
  • light snacks for long hikes
  • hiking/skiing socks (and a change)
  • knee/ankle protection if you use it
  • Personal medical insurance valid in France is advised (we only cover the transport to the hospital).
  • Personal costs are ~400 Euro, covering meals and accommodation (receipts are given). Huts often do not accept cards. 
  • Participants are expected to bear the costs of travel to the first and from the last access points of the route.

The conference fee is 200 Euro and includes: obligatory Alpine insurance and Alpine membership, map of the area, reserved funds for fees related to unexpected changes of the route, coffee breaks. The fee is the same for every participant, no reduction is possible. The payment of the fee will be done in cash during the first day of the conference. Cancellation is subject to the already incurred costs. 

Deadline for registration: July 10 2020, but is subject to the available space.  


Hiking is a potentially dangerous activity. The hike descriptions provided by the conference organizers are intended to help plan outings, but conference participants are wholly responsible for anticipating potential hazards and evaluating their physical ability to follow a particular hike. Hiking is a personal choice and requires personal responsibility. Hiking exposes you to risks. Risks are mitigated, but not eliminated by training and skill. Conference organizers, UoH, and MPE  assume absolutely no responsibility, including but not limited to injury and loss due to use of information, or participating in activities related to the Alpine Cosmology Workshop. 

Some readers of this disclaimer might consider participating at the conference as risky, while they go on similar routes in private. This disclaimer applies to any hiking activity! The worst risk is underestimating the danger! By participating in the conference you will improve your knowledge of the mountaineering and the relevant safety rules. 

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