Potomac Appalachian Trail Club - Ski Tour
|Fly to Denver, CO, pick up rental cars, drive to motel
|Open day, pick up any rental gear, avalanche course?
|Ski from Tennessee Pass into Vance's Cabin
|Layover day, ski around the hut
|Ski from Vance's Cabin to Jackal Hut
|Layover day, ski around the hut
|Ski out to a Camp Hale trailhead
|Open day, go downhill skiing
|Downhill skiing in the morning?, fly home
These trails are poorly marked by design. They all go through wilderness areas which are not easily accessible. Trails are marked by blue plastic diamonds that are approximately 4"x6" or blazes on trees through the official wilderness areas. Even the guide books say that you cannot depend solely on the trail markers.
This trip requires good map and compass navigation skills. I will be doing extensive pretrip navigation to work out: compass bearings, distances, altitude, latitude, and longitude. These will be supplied to everyone in case we become separated. We will be skiing as a group for the entire trip, with the possible exception of the layover days. I will also have key trip points programmed into my GPS receiver as a backup or for bad weather. If anyone else has a GPS receiver, altimeter, or a ham radio transceiver this is a good trip to bring them on. I always carry my ham radio transceiver on backpacking and backcountry ski trips.
Anticipated weather includes anything from somewhat warm and sunny conditions to very cold, wet, windy blizzard conditions. The weather can be severe, pack clothing accordingly. Because we are skiing hut to hut, we must press on each day.
Equipment you will need
(* Indicates Required Equipment)
As we will be traveling in remote Colorado backcountry in winter; stringent equipment requirements are necessary. Everyone must carry enough gear to do an emergency bivouac. You will need:
*Ski goggles or sunglasses
*Backcountry, telemark, or alpine touring skis, boots, bindings, poles, and climbing skins
Snowshoes with crampons are an option for people who do not have enough backcountry ski experience.
Lightweight XC touring gear is not appropriate and is not allowed.
Warm, sunny weather
*Sun glasses, sun block, hat or bandanna
*Heavy wool or fleece hat or balaclava
*Ski mask or scarf for your face
*Medium to heavy, wool or fleece, gloves or mittens (2 pair)
Light liner gloves
*High Gaiters or just use shell pants
*Wool or fleece sweater or jacket (2)
*Long synthetic thermal underwear tops and bottoms(1 or 2 sets)
*Rain suit or some type of shell top and bottom
No cotton clothing in this category, everything must be wool, fleece, or synthetic.
*3/4 or full sized internal frame pack, with a hip belt, should fit you comfortably. Approximately 3500 to 5000 cubic inches. External frame packs will not allow you to swing your arms when we are touring, also the frame will get hung up in the trees. The pack must flex with your body, but not move around on its own, while you are skiing. Load lifter, sternum straps, and hipbelt pulls help stabilize the pack considerably.
Map & Compass
*Everyone must carry topographic maps and a compass readable to 1-2 degrees.
*Sleeping bag, rated to 15° to 20º F, will be used in the hut
*Flashlight , extra bulb, extra batteries (headlamps strongly recommended)
personal toilet gear
toilet paper & trowel (only necessary for the trail, supplied at huts)
*first aid kit
*moleskin or molefoam for blisters
*any necessary prescription medication
*glasses if you need them to read maps
*2 quart water bottles
You may want to carry water in an insulated water bottle cover or inside your pack. Bladders with drinking tubes should have insulation on the tubes.
Emergency & Bivouac Gear
*bivouac sack or 3 large, plastic garbage bags
*sleeping bag pad
avalanche shovel (useful for making snow caves)
avalanche probe poles
camera, extra film and batteries, tripod
cards or light weight games
ham radio transceiver
light weight shoes or slippers to wear in the hut
Equipment you DO NOT need
tent, stove, cooking utensils, eating utensils (except for lunch on the trail), water filter
Bring food for Monday lunch to Friday lunch. We will prepare and eat breakfast and dinner at the huts, and eat a cold lunch on the trail. We will not be carrying stoves but you might want to bring a small stainless steel thermos to carry a hot drink for lunch. Because the first day will probably be fairly short (if we use a shuttle) and the second day is a layover day, you might want to bring fresher, heavier, better quality food for the first two days with lighter food for the remaining three days
Packing Your Pack
Put things that you might need quickly or frequently in outside pockets: maps, compass, water, snacks, rain gear, gloves, sunglasses, sunblock, ski wax, skins, etc. Although if it's very cold put your water inside your pack to keep it from freezing. Keep the weight and volume as low as possible. Try to make items do double duty. Only bring items you are sure that you will use. A heavier pack makes it harder to ski and slows you down. Keeping the weight and volume down is even more important for backcountry skiing than it is for backpacking. Your pack must fit properly and not move around too much or it will throw you off balance while skiing. Pack the heaviest items in the bottom of your pack, and close to your back, to lower your center of gravity.
These huts range from rustic to beautiful, remote mountain huts. The only way to get there is on foot or skis. They include single or double bunks and pillow for each person. You only need to bring a sleeping bag. Two wood burning stoves are normally provided, one for cooking and one for melting snow for water. All cooking and eating utensils are provided at the hut. An outdoor (or indoor) privy with toilet paper is also provided. Unlike the AMC huts in the White Mountains, you cannot buy anything at the huts, you must bring it with you. These huts are not "manned" or "womaned", we have to do everything. All cooking and drinking water comes from melted snow, keeping the snowpot cooking will be one of our hut jobs. Always use clean, white snow for drinking water, avoid the top and bottom of the snow pack. Never use yellow, red, or dirty snow.
After arrival at the hut, and before departure, we will have some hut chores that we must do. Everyone is expected to participate.
Post our reservation on the bulletin board
Start the wood burning stove for heating & melting water
Fill the snow pot for drinking water
Start the other stove when necessary for cooking
Cook meals, wash dishes, clean hut
Turn on/off the solar powered electricity
Bring in firewood and snow for the next group
We may use a shuttle van depending on our route. If we ski further the first day we can do a loop and avoid the shuttle completely - I'm evaluating this option now.
10th Mountain Division Hut Association
1280 Ute Avenue, Suite 21
Aspen, CO 81611
Buy maps and guidebooks from them.
10th Mtn Map: Chicago Ridge, you must buy the WINTER map.
1. Colorado 10th Mountain Huts & Trails, 3rd Edition,
Louis W. Dawson, Who Press, Aspen, CO, $19.95.
This book covers the 10th Mountain system exclusively and is the recommended reference for this trip. It has the best trail head access descriptions and more detail about all of the trails.
2. Colorado Hut to Hut, 2nd Edition, Brian Litz,
Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO, $24.95.
This book covers all 12 hut systems in Colorado, a total of 56 different huts. Beautiful color photography, and good descriptions of each hut and all trailheads. An excellent alternate to the book by Dawson. Includes more avalanche information. A new edition is available which is now split into two separate books.
3. The Hut Handbook, Leigh Yule & Scott Toepfer,
Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO, $12.95.
Also a good book but one mostly covering the "generic hut experience". The two previous guide books each cover this somewhat.
1. Backcountry Skier, Jean Vives, Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, $18.95.
This is an excellent book which covers all
aspects of backcountry skiing.
The estimated cost is currently $1000.00. The actual trip cost could be higher or lower and may not be known exactly until the trip is over. I will make every attempt to keep the cost at or below this price if possible. It will include: round trip airfare from BWI to Denver, four nights hut reservations, four nights motel reservations, car rental, and a shuttle if one is used. It does not include anything else such as: meals during the entire trip, any ski or other gear rental, avalanche course, any lift tickets, books & maps, and any necessary gear that you dont currently have.
Make checks payable to Ted Fryberger, not PATC-STS.
PATC-STS runs their trips differently than the other two clubs that I lead for.
You pay the leader and the leader reimburses the club.
6259 Deep River Canyon
Columbia, MD 21045
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