Sunday, April 8, 2012

Colorado Hut Trip

For Spring break Cary and I flew out to Colorado to meet up with Katie to do some BC/AT skiing.  We rented a portion of Vance's cabin.  It's part of the 10th mountain division hut system.  We skied in 2.5 miles to Vance's cabin where we stayed for 3 nights.  The cabin had lights and a stove, an outhouse in the back but we had to melt snow for water.  We shared the cabin with about 9 other people that seemed to be pretty cool.

On Tuesday we skied in and unpacked. The cabin had a beautiful view of the snow capped mountains and at night stars were all around us.  Just beautiful.  The winter has been very warm and dry this year.  It hadn't snowed in weeks and unfortunately the snow was pretty crusty.  Occasionally we had to take our skis off and walk over bare spots on the trail.  On Wednesday we took our time getting out of bed and made some breakfast.  Cary, Katie, and I were each responsible for making one dinner and one breakfast for the 3 days we were there.  Around mid day we headed out on our skis for a day trip.  We skied about 1.5 miles.  We then got our beacons out to practice our searching.  Katie and Cary had formal beacon training before and they did a great job filling me in.  One person would go burry the beacon while the 2 others used the other beacon to find it.  This is essentially what you would do if someone got buried in an avalanche. As an extra incentive for me to find the beacon Katie and Cary buried Jelly Bellies with the beacon.  When we returned back to the cabin Katie introduced us to the board game "Settlers of Catan".  We instantly were hooked and played with our other cabin mates.

On Thursday we took a day trip and skied up "Taylor's Hill"  this was about 1 mile with about 800 feet of elevation gain.  Taylor's Hill was at the top of a ridge where we had 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains.  Amazing!  It was also nice to be out of the dense trees as well.  After exploring the long ridge for awhile we took off our skins and skied down.  But before we got all the way back to the cabin we stopped and dug a pit and did some snow pack testing.  Cary pulled out a snow saw we used to cut out blocks and analyze the different layers.  It's just another precaution to use in the backcountry to avoid dangerous avy conditions.  After the snow pack test we skied back down to the cabin.  It's nice, right near the cabin is about 3 hundred feet of open mountain to ski down without too many trees.  That night we set up a tripod and camera and set the exposure to "bulb" to get a 20 minute exposure while we climbed up and skied down with our head lights on.

Of Friday we packed up, said goodbye to our cabin mates and skied back to the trailhead.  Up to this point I didn't have any significant spills but unfortunately on our way back I ate it trying to avoid a log while keeping my skis on a narrow patch of snow.  I fell forward and landed on my knee and forearm.  Luckily I just got a few scrapes and a bruised ego.  Katie commented shortly after,  "I think you have a twig in your nose". After avoiding many bare spots we made it back to the car.  It was a great trip with poor snow.  I'm looking forward to next hut trip and hopefully getting fresh snow while we are out there!
Katie "dropping knees not bombs"

Beacon training
Lovely.....the scenery, not me!
Ski Yoga?
Don't get in the way of Katie and her snow block
Cary climbing up to Taylor's Hill

Bunk and drying skins

Vance's Cabin

Total Mileage: 10.0 miles
My Pics

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Holly Teetzel said...

Great video and photos, Toddman. Looks like a really fun trip - albeit with very little snow. I loved the time exposure with you guys skiing in headlamps - cool idea! Did you find that beacon and jelly beans?? :-)

CalBadger said...

Awesome post, Toddman, especially the video. What a fun trip you guys had...I an jealous! Great work Son!