Monday, December 19, 2011

Hut Hut

This past weekend I went up to the Peter Estin 10th Mountain hut.  Our group had 14 or so people, most of whom met Friday morning for the trek up to 11,200 ft.  The weather for hike was warm and sunny, which is quite a contrast to the previous three hut trips I have done.  I think the other three were very cold, and at least one was quite snowy.  A base layer and pullover were all that were needed to keep me warm this time.  We even found the hut before lunch, which is a first.  This allowed for plenty of lounging around.

Home for the past weekend, no electricity or water, but pretty sweet

View from the outside of the hut

Saturday I got off to a slow start, but rallied after breakfast.  Most of the group took off for Charles Peak, which sits at 12,050 ft.  Five of us motivated sorts chose to go on.  Eric and I set the pace and our destination was the highest peak in the center of the picture below.  We encountered some extended ups and downs and had to break trail in fairly deep snow.  The pitches we experienced proved to be the most difficult though.  Even with my MSR snowshoes, which have amazing crampons, I was sliding down quite a bit and I had to use my hands to balance and crawl up.  Once we reached the hump in the middle of the picture, the terrain after it and before the long ridge were a little to dicey to carry on.  A quick snack and the others decided to return back.  Eric and I had no desire to head to the hut early.  As long as the sun was up and the temperature was tolerable, we sat on some rocks to enjoy the view.

Taken from the top of Charles, which is higher than our turn around point
Our tracks to the top can be seen if you zoom in
 Evidence of hard work and unseasonably warm temperatures
 The trail back down

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