10th Mtn 1998

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Backcountry Ski Trip: Colorado 10th Mountain Hut System

This was a four day trip into some of the most remote parts of Colorado. This area covers four designated wilderness areas, and four national forests. We skied to the Harry Gates hut and stayed one night. The next day we skied to the Peter Estin hut, staying two nights.

Very warm for the ski in to the Harry Gates hut. Skied uphill for about 4 of the 7+ miles to the hut. Very pretty area and a nice hut. The next day we skied down almost as much as we had climbed the previous day and then skied up to the Peter Estin hut at 11,200 ft. The two huts are very similar in architecture but the Estin hut has a fantastic view of an entire mountain range on its south face. You can see the Maroon Bells on a clear day. This was a somewhat harder day as the downhill was icy early in the morning and it was a good climb up to the hut. That night it started to snow.

The next day was a scheduled lay over day to ski around the Estin hut. What great planning! It snowed about 16" through the night. We went out and did some telemark skiing on some of the local slopes. This is the first time I have been able to successfully do telemark turns. Even connected a couple of them. Perfect conditions sure helped. There were still lots of crashes, but with all the new powder - even they were kinda fun.

The ski out on the last day was all downhill and fantastic. It was a trip through a magical winter wonderland of snow covered conifers, glades, and trackless meadows. It was indescribable. Took lots of pictures, even though they don't completely do justice to the scenery.

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