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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    565

    TR: Colorado Hut to Hut

    We successfully completed a hut-to-hut traverse last week in Colorado. We connected Vance's Cabin to Jackal Hut to Fowler-Hilliard Hut, staying 2 nights in each hut, effectively alternating ski days and travel days. We ended up on this connection largely because we were picking dates a year out and wanted to be sure we had snow, so we targeted the first week of April for what is usually peak or near-peak snowpack, even though that meant we didn't really know whether we'd have midwinter conditions or spring conditions. Given the uncertainty, we wanted a route that was avalanche-safe, even if it meant fewer "big" terrain options as opposed to, say, the Braun huts. We ended up with green-light spring conditions, and we were still able to find some good lines off Chicago Ridge once we avoided the (sometimes massive) cornices.

    We also ended up spending some sweat to cache food in bear barrels near Fowler. Since the skin into Vance's is easy, we were able to pack heavy for Vance's, go backpacker light for Jackal (dehydrated food and whiskey instead of steaks and beer), and then we were resupplied for Fowler through the cache and through some friends that joined us for the last couple nights.

    Vance's might be my least-favorite physical hut I've visited, though the access to Chicago Ridge was nice. Jackal and Fowler are both beautiful; I preferred the views from Jackal and the skiing from Fowler.

    Though we were in and around sled-access zones, they didn't bother us too much.

    The traverse from Vance's to Jackal is kind of a slog; the "downhill" sections aren't so downhill. Travel from Jackal to Fowler went a lot smoother, with a "down" section that was actually down and a fairly direct approach to Fowler. The first travel day was 5-5.5 hours; second was more like 3 hours and change.

    Overall, a great trip with a great crew, and it was nice to be able to cover some miles. We're looking at doing something similar again, though we may tweak things to go in spring conditions (late April?) and to a pair of huts instead of three, maybe with more high-alpine objectives nearby. Here are some photos:
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    565

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