Fowler Hilliard Burns – Photos and Thoughts

Post by blogger | September 29, 2009      

Update, this in from 10th Mountain Huts:
10th Mountain plans to rebuild the Fowler Hilliard Hut beginning as soon as conditions allow next summer. The hut was insured to recently submitted replacement values and we hope the insurance disbursements will prove sufficient. If not, then we go to our fundraising sources.

Of more immediate concern is our plan to construct a temporary replacement to accommodate the people who have advance reservations at the Fowler/Hilliard Hut. We just received permits today to install a 30′ diameter yurt that will work for this winter. It might be a bit of a push to get it built before the onset of winter but at this time we are optimistic. After all, this is what we do – mess around in the high country well after good reason warrants.

Installation of this yurt is a great idea from a continuity of experience, providing a great place for people to stay, and furthers our mission of providing warm, comfortable shelter. It is, quite frankly, a lousy idea from strictly a numbers point of view and our accountants are having a really difficult time with the whole idea. Their job is to worry about these things. 10th Mountain’s job is to provide a good experience, and putting a yurt there is the right thing to do.

We already have a crew of volunteers, staff, and paid contractors to get the project done completely and quickly. We’ve already purchased most of the supplies, including the yurt, platform/deck materials, stoves, and consumables.

Scott Messina of 10th Mountain Huts caught these photos a few days ago of what remains of the Fowler Hilliard, which burnt down last week without any witnesses. Fowler Hilliard Hut was one of the popular 10th Mountain Division Hut System located in central Colorado. We’re of course sad to see this happen just before ski season, but knowing how good 10th Mountain is at constructing huts, we have no doubt a better facility will rise from the ashes. I’d imagine the new hut will be more efficient than the old one, perhaps with a bit more space and even better view windows. The guys at 10th Mountain told me they’d been working on fire defensible space around their huts. While that doesn’t prevent a lightning cause fire as this one probably was, it does prevent the burning building from igniting a wildfire in the surrounding timber, so kudos to 10th Mountain for setting a good example in their stewardship. We wish them well with the rebuild project! Oh, and let this be a lesson to increase fire awareness when you’re using the huts this winter. Use the cook stoves with care, dispose of ashes properly, no smoking, and so forth. News article here.

Fowler Hilliard after the burn, it's rare to see a building burn completely to the ground like this, without the intervention of fire fighters. Amazing how nearly everything is completely image to enlarge.
Fowler Hilliard after the burn. Click image to enlarge.
Fowler Hilliard burnt down.

All that remains is some roofing tin and the foundation.

Fowler Hilliard after the burn.

Another view, looking northerly towards the outhouse.



7 Responses to “Fowler Hilliard Burns – Photos and Thoughts”

  1. dave downing September 29th, 2009 9:55 am

    wow! talk about “leave no trace.”

    Sad to see. My first true hut trip was to F-H. Powder and pain in one glorious weekend. Excited to see what replaces it though.

  2. shoveler September 29th, 2009 12:25 pm

    Really sorry to see that right before winter, but I’ll bet the rebuild will turn out great! Appreciate Scott sharing those photos.

  3. OMR September 29th, 2009 3:15 pm

    At least the privy is still standing – luckily the methane was well vented . . .

  4. Mark September 30th, 2009 9:13 am

    Such huts will likely play a role in my wife and son getting backcountry skiing worked into their lives down the road. Good luck with a speedy rebuild.

  5. Njord October 7th, 2009 12:10 pm

    Glad to see that the area is marked with yellow caution tape. I would hate for the deer/bear/elk to get confused about where to go/not to go…. it’s almost like a Far Side cartoon!

  6. Jon F October 7th, 2009 2:27 pm

    This was my first hut as well. I can remember slogging up there in my heavy Lange boots and Silvretta 404’s in the early ’90’s. I think we may have even brought some steaks in for dinner, much to the dismay of our vegetarian hut-mates. That trip was blessed by awakening to 16″ of fresh powder our first morning.

  7. Brian October 14th, 2009 11:59 pm

    Because the huts are high, exposed, and many have metal roofs which contribute to attracting lightning strikes, hopefully grounded lightning rods are being added to the new Fowler Hilliard and older huts as well.

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