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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010

Best Winter Trips: 10th Mountain Division Huts, Colorado

Get backcountry spoils--snorkel-deep pow on remote Rockies peaks--with frontcountry comforts (warm fire and hot toddies, anyone?) in this famed hut system. More than 350 miles of trails wind through prime winter terrain, connecting the 31 full-service cabins.

by: Jason D.B. Kauffman


» Snowshoe/XC Ski Tour the forested base of ice-sheathed mountains from the side-by-side Benedict Huts (10,970 feet), outside Aspen. Tool around a day-long loop, or head eight miles north to McNamara Hut. For beginners: Snowshoe up wide and level FR 505 to the Betty Bear Hut. Ascend a 4.4-mile route over Hagerman Pass to the Skinner Hut on night two, watching for the elusive lynx’s four-toed, five-inch tracks.

» Ski Outside Vail, the Gore Range’s snowy faces and straight-shot couloirs attract powder bums better than free Red Bull. From Eiseman Hut (sleeps 16) at 11,170 feet, drop into Middle Creek, then ascend 12,316-foot Bald Mountain, and shoot down 1,700 feet of pure champagne bliss on this five-miler.

» Mountaineer Nestled next to Slide Lake at the foot of a 13,209-foot Homestake Peak, 10th Mountain Hut serves up back-deck views of the Sawatch Range. Pack an ice axe and crampons, and ascend 1,800 vertical feet in 1.5 miles on the Homestake’s trailless (but moderate) eastern ridge to earn summit views of 14,005-foot Mount of the Holy Cross.

» Resources Reserve beginning April 1 (members), or June 1 (nonmembers); annual membership costs $25. huts.org; (970) 925-5775 Gear up Ute Mountaineer in Aspen, CO; utemountaineer.com


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