Exploring Colorado's Famous 10th Mountain Division Hut System

By: Kelly Graff


COLORADO OFFERS SOME OF THE MOST PRISTINE BACKCOUNTRY SKIING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE COUNTRY. THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO IMMERSE YOURSELF IN NATURE WHILE STILL MAINTAINING BASIC COMFORTS THAN STAYING AT A BACKCOUNTRY HUT


Click here to learn about the history of Colorado 10th Mountain Division Huts. 


When venturing into a backcountry hut participants have the choice to ski hut-to-hut or stay at one hut and access the nearby terrain. The hut systems are a backcountry enthusiast’s paradise. What a better way to start your day then with a fresh cup of coffee surrounded by endless choices of big ski lines. Just strap on your skis or split-board and find your perfect line. 

Most huts are located 6 to 9 miles from the trailhead and have between 1500’ and 2500’ of elevation gain. You should plan on touring in with your food, sleeping bag, clothing, and safety gear. See our suggested packing list below. 

Most huts are outfitted with propane burners, photovoltaic lights, mattresses, pillows, cooking utensils, flat wear, and silverware. Guests melt snow for potable water. Make sure you learn backcountry hut etiquette and be aware of where you dump grey water. You will also want to practice leave not trace ethics. And leave the hut ready for the next group. Leaving spare food in the huts can result in visits from extra “furry friends”. 

Some huts are rented entirely while some rent out beds. Be sure to reserve your hut as early as possible as they book quickly. Most begin the reservation process in November. 

All in all a backcountry hut trip is a great way to get out and enjoy the backcountry with your close friends and backcountry enthusiasts alike. 

10th Mountain Division: Braun Huts 

• Friends Hut: Sleeps 8ppl. Elevation 11,370’. 10.5mi from Crested 
  Butte TH, 10mi from Aspen TH.
• Opa’s Hut: Sleeps 8ppl. Elevation 11,850’. 5mi from Aspen TH, 
  4.5mi from Friends Hut & 8.5 from Crested Butte TH. 
• Tagert Hut: Sleeps 7ppl. Elevation 11,280’. 5.3mi from Aspen TH. 
• Barnard Hut: Sleeps 8ppl. Elevation 11,480’. 9mi from Aspen TH. 
• Green-Wilson: Sleeps 8ppl. Elevation 11,280’. 5.3mi from Aspen TH. 
• Markley Hut: Sleeps 8ppl. Elevation 10,400’. 2.3mi from Aspen TH. 
• Lindley Hut: Sleeps 14ppl. Elevation 10,480’. 4mi from Aspen TH. 
• Goodwin-Green: Sleeps 10ppl. Elevation 11,680’. 6.6 from Aspen TH. 


Our Suggested Tour Itinerary: 

*** The Braun Huts are located in areas of known avalanche cycles. Routes are not marked or maintained. These tours require strong skiers with a well-versed snow safety background. If you have not taken and AIARE Safety course click here to learn more or we suggest hiring one of our professional mountain guides. 

Suggested trip itinerary of 4 days/3 nights: 

Day 1: Tour 5.3 miles from Ashcroft TH (9,498') near Aspen into the 
Taggert Hut (11,280'). Optional afternoon ski laps from the hut upon arrival 
Night 1: Stay at the Tagert Hut 
Day 2: Tour 4.5 miles from Tagert Hut to the Friends Hut (11,370'). 
Optional afternoon ski laps from the hut upon arrival 
Night 2: Stay at the Friends Hut 
Day 3: Spend the day backcountry skiing from the Friends Hut 
Night 3: Spend another night at the Friends Hut 
Day 4: Tour 10.5 miles from the Friends Hut to the Brush Creek 
TH (8,960') near Crested Butte 
 

Our Suggested Backcountry Hut Trip Packing List 

• Touring set up (AT/tele skis & skins or a splitboard & skins, poles, and boots) 
• Basic avalanche safety gear (beacon, shovel, probe) 
• Backpack big enough to carry all of your gear, and group food (34 -45 liters) 
• Backcountry ski-appropriate clothing: o Synthetic or wool under layers (no cotton!) 
o Synthetic or wool mid layers (fleece jacket, vest, soft shell jacket – no cotton!) 
o Down or synthetic puffy jacket 
o Weather proof jacket and pants 
o Gloves x 2 pairs (we suggest 1 pair for skinning/taking notes and one pair skiing/riding) 
o Beanie x 2 (nice to have an extra) 
o Buff, neck gaiter or balaclava o Ball cap or visor (especially for sunny days) 
o Goggles 
• Sunglasses 
• Sunscreen & lip protection 
• Full water bottles or water bladder system (at least 1 liter) 
• Thermos for carrying hot beverages • Meals • Plenty of snacks for each day (pack good, high calorie food that will keep you well fueled during long hours outside in the cold) 
• Pen or pencil to take notes 
• Headlamp 
• Extra batteries for headlamp and beacon 
• Whatever toiletries your require, including medications 
• Lightweight sleeping bag (there are mattress pad at the hut)

Filed under: Adventure Bucket List

Click Here to Learn About Backcountry Hut Trips with Irwin Guides

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