Braun Huts and Friends Hut — Loop


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 13, 2006      

Day trips and dawn patrols are a blast, but sometimes you need an extended dose of mountain air. I was feeling that exact craving when Penn Newhard emailed an invitation for 3 nights at the Braun Huts and Friends Hut south of Aspen, in the incredibly aesthetic Elk Mountains. The plan: five strong skiers make a four day circle through the Elks, starting and ending in Ashcroft, staying in three classic huts along the way. It worked.

Starting the backcountry skiing in Castle Creek.
Starting in the Castle Creek valley is always beautiful, but I dread the flat road slog up from Ashcroft. True to form it was hot and painful, but we made it. The worst part is when the horse drawn sleigh full of over dressed Aspen folks slides past you. "Mommy, why are those guys walking?"

Tagert Hut, Braun Huts, Colorado.
Tagert hut, Slate Mountain and Montezuma basin in background. New snow had recently fallen, and most slopes were covered with breakable crust. Over the next few days we’d get a few corn turns and even bust a few powder piles, but it was obvious this was a tour for distance and scenics.

Dinner at Tagert hut.
Penn tosses salad at Tagert Hut. That’s a bit of elk steak next to the greens. I prefer simple meals at huts, as I’d rather be relaxing or skiing than cooking and doing dishes. After all, even basic meals taste like a king’s feast after a day of ski touring. The meals Penn planned were a perfect mix of quality and simplicity.

Backcountry skiing in Pearl Basin, Colorado.
In Pearl Basin above Tagert, Castle Peak in background. The visible summit ski descent route is the East Face, which I did the first descent of back in my agro years.

The crew.
The crew at Mace Pass in Pearl Basin. From left,
Slinger, Penn, me, Mike, Scott.

Field modification of backcountry ski boots
Slinger’s boot liners were molded too short and his toes blew up the first day. We did major surgery at Friends Hut, sacrificing his liners for the good of the trip. My take: "The only thing more fun than spending other people’s money is hacking on other people’s gear."

The trip was not without other amusing gear moments. As one can surmise, we were on somewhat of a “media” trip. Mike Lanza is the northwest editor for Backpacker Magazine and Penn’s company Backbone Media does PR for Black Diamond and many other companies. I got a laugh one morning when Mike started packing Penn’s pack (they were both carrying nearly identical ones), but the biggest laugh was on myself. I was testing a Granite Gear Alpine Vapor (it worked great), but forgot that I’d stuffed my hard shell in a somewhat hidden compartment. After I couldn’t find my shell on the stormy morning of day 3 (I figured I’d left it in the car or at Tagert Hut), I gutted it out in my Cloudveil Serendipity soft shell. Forced to really test a soft shell — who would have thought! (It worked).

Backcountry skiing from Friends Hut to Goodwin/Green hut.
Starting the long slog from Friends Hut to Goodwin Green via Star Pass and Taylor Pass. We skied through a whiteout for a while, then high pressure moved in for the rest of this big (8 hour) day. Lanza said that when he made our hut reservations 10th Mountain had tried to dissuade him from this long, desperate and dangerous route, but we sought adventure instead of blue diamonds, so chose the road less traveled.

Taylor Pass.
Heading northerly near Taylor Pass. We’ll gain the ridge and follow it north to Goodwin Green hut.

Goodwin Green hut
Goodwin Green is one of the best Braun Huts. It’s been recently renovated. What was once a dark (but still special) hovel is now roomy, warm and flooded with light — super nice. And yes, Virginia, we did find the hot springs.

Black Diamond Verdict backcountry ski
Penn skiing out from Goodwin Green hut. We exited
down Express Creek and snagged a bunch of firm corn turns on the way down.

Black Diamond Verdict backcountry ski
Crew celebrating life at Goodwin Green.

Comments

One Response to “Braun Huts and Friends Hut — Loop”

  1. Sean April 13th, 2006 8:23 pm

    What was your boot/binding/ski setup for this heavy touring trip and how did you like it?

  Your Comments

  • Lou Dawson 2: Way better than yurts, so easy to place and move, rodent proof, very warm, ...
  • Kevin S: Interesting article and I see a "cottage industry" that with a few mining c...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Larry, they're both terms of art, add "mobile home" into the mix as well. ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Sorry Ross, I usually use JB-Kwik 2 part epoxy for these sorts of things a...
  • Ross: Hi Lou, I assume that you used the JB-Weld 2 part epoxy & not the JB...
  • See: But it could present everyone else there at that time in a bad light, maybe...
  • JCoates: North of the Mason-Dixon="Tiny house" South of the Mason-Dixon="Double-w...
  • Larry: So, I have to ask the question with the proliferation of "tiny houses". Wh...
  • See: I don’t think the author thought that was the only way to write up KB’s fea...
  • Dillon: Lou. Fine by me if you want to delete my last post (and this post). I didn'...
  • Tom Gos: Is "camping shelter" a term that helps navigate some code issues? Cabin see...
  • Dillon: Bruno. I just thought of it, but a straw cowboy hat with an American flag h...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Ditto on Roux, am huge fan, have watched her jogging up the mountain, leadi...
  • Dillon: Buck. You said what I was trying to get at so I'm adopting your post as my ...
  • denalijay: This report might not sound like a review but my experience with F1’s after...
  • denalijay: This report might not sound like a review but my experience with F1's after...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Someone a while ago here asked why the heck we have that big truck. Hopeful...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Jack, for privacy reasons I don't want to get into details, but the appr...
  • Jack: wow. what is the access like in winter season? long approach? water st...
  • Bruno Schull: I love it Dillion, especially the part about the long armed knuckle draggin...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Really, I think using JB Weld or JB-Kwik 2 part epoxy is the way to go for ...
  • Buck: safest BC group? it's the solo skier the sexism discussion is funny. ...
  • See: Did you try Vibra-tite or similar? I think “reuseable” type thread locker m...
  • atfred: Lou, I've always found that finding odd; the thinking being that in a mixe...
  • Lou Dawson 2: I did some experiments regarding this issue, interesting. https://www.wi...
  • Lou Dawson 2: See, quite the opposite, it's apparently been found that mixed gender group...
  • See: I’m not a fan of pro sports in general, so (in my opinion, at least) elimin...
  • Lou Dawson 2: I'll jump in. Firstly, I've always wondered, is it not sexist to even ...
  • See: I think I learned something interesting from the video— clean all grease fr...
  • Dillon: HI Bruno. Great post(s). I should clarify that I'm not actually a woman-hat...

  Recent Posts


Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

Switch To Mobile Version