Braun Hut Trip 
Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 08:33 PM - Trips
I left ABQ on Thursday morning at 5am with Lance, Rusty, and Angela for a 5-day, 4-night hut-to-hut backcountry ski trip. Feeling honored to join a group of extremely strong, fun people for the weekend, our team consisted of the following:

Justin - Mountain Guide, AMRC rescue leader, summited Denali last summer
Leigh - President of AMRC, Quad champion, Denali attempt last summer
Lance - Mountaineer with summits of Rainier, Denali, and South American peaks, ultra-marathoner with 5+ Hard Rock 100s under his belt.
Rusty - AMRC winter technician, Denali medic last summer and maybe this coming summer too
Angela - Climbed Denali last summer and about to depart as the head medic on a climbing trip to Nepal
Bill - Rescue leader on AMRC, psuedo-epic'ed on Mt. Sanford in Alaska
Karen - Bill's wife, very strong teleskiers
Jay - General Goof-off

Day 1 - After a great pizza at Leadville's High Mountain Pies, we met Leigh and Justin in the parking lot. We did the easy 3 mi, 1000 ft ski into the spacious Lindley hut just as night descended. I could tell already I was in for some serious heal blistering at this point, but that didn't prevent slow the night's merriment. Leigh and Justin cooked up some veggielicious dinner and a 3 L batch of Gl├╝hwein as we circled up around the wood-burning stove and talked strategy for the next 4 days. I called off my plans for a run at Castle and Conundrum Peaks in order to keep the group together and get a full night's sleep.



Day 2 - The group departed at 9am and headed toward Pearl Pass to circle around into Taggart Hut. I thought I was going to get the award for biggest junk show as I wollowed in the thigh-deep snow, making sloppy kick turns, getting knocked over by trees, dropping water bottles, and losing my sunglasses, but Rusty proved he was the master junker. He bought light "racing" skins, but they didn't climb on the 6" of facets at the ground and he barely to climb the most modest of grades. In the end he had to take his skis off and climb some of the time. I was completely beat cutting trail in the fresh snow, but I can only imagine how bonked Rusty must have been. And it was clear when he finally made the pass. Lance I took off his skins while Justin adjusted his bindings (don't ask) for the decent. A quick few turns and we had arrived at Taggart Hut!







Taggart Timelapse

Day 3 - We awoke to a raging storm, so our original plans for skinning over to Friends Hut were delayed. The 1"/hour snowfall was a red flag for avalanche danger. We went out for some quick laps on the hill by Taggart and got some great tree runs in. Lance managed to break his toe piece, Leigh was struggling with blisters, and Rusty had to make a flight out of Grand Junction on Sunday; so a long debate later, we decided to head back to Aspen for some beers. We got dinner, and with a clutch call managed to bum couches and floor space at the Mountain Rescue Aspen Cache. It was luxurious and, after stocking the fridge, refreshing as well.





Day 4 - We had breakfast in Aspen and then skiied up to Markley Hut. We had a great Eurostyle lunch with bread, cheese, sausage, and wine in the sunny cabin. I was fairly mellowed, but we decided to go for a ski. After an extended, bushwhacky slog to the top of one of the more gradual peaks we got to ski (or sink like a rock in my case) down the mountain. We trekked over to the road and then zipped down to the lodge for dinner just as dusk closed in. Really tough day for about 5 turns, but it was fun to be in the mountains with my friends. We had a great scrimp stir-fry with Quinoa and then finished off the beer and whiskey while talking about who was going to be the next AMRC president.






All photos are here

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